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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

RIP MoviePass

Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 3.21.13 PMGone on Saturday.

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10 Responses to “RIP MoviePass”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    Here’s hoping Chloe the Director of Barketing manages to find gainful employment.

  2. Hcat says:

    This is certainly a case where you thought the person had already been dead for awhile

  3. Pete B says:

    MoviePass was one of those things that was never going to work, but was great while it lasted. I didn’t even mind when it went from unlimited down to 3. It was when they started messing with the viewing times they lost me.

    As MP helped kickstart AMC & Regal to offer their own packages, I’ll be forever grateful.

  4. movieman says:

    I signed up for Regal’s “Unlimited Movies” plan last month.
    Saw 9 movies in my first 30 days…w/ a savings of $50.15!
    Maybe because it’s my nature to expect the worst, I fully expect the plan to implode before my one-year “subscription” is up.
    But for the time being, it’s a godsend.

  5. Triple Option says:

    I have AMC A-List. I think what pushed it over the edge for me was being able to see films on IMAX. I basically stopped seeing films in 3D but I will now if that option is available. For many people I knew who had MoviePass, they’d talk about seeing films “they had never heard of, but, hey, it’s free! So I checked it out.” They said they liked it but over a year ago they started listing the problems they had with site being down, or not being able to use certain theaters, or having some issue. They weren’t really that pissed because of what they were paying so there was some expectations of too good to be true/might be a little sketch. I thought w/signing up for AMC I won’t have to worry about Marvel blackouts or restricted theaters.

    What I wasn’t expecting was for AMC to completely sh#t the bed when it came to selection. You’d think one of the largest chains in an industry town to have a menu like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Maybe not like at the Luxor or MGM Grand but certainly at least Hometown Buffet or Golden Corral. Nope, this is like getting a pass to the mall food court. Sure you can find something out of a slice of pizza, Panda or fresh lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick but it’s a little disappointing. I am surprised that I haven’t seen more movies that I wouldn’t have seen but did just cuz. I didn’t want to get in my car and see Aladdin remake or Godzilla remake or MiB VIII. I know there are more movies out there. They brag about their Artisan films but really lots of those are still fairly wide releases, not limited.

    They have had a few small releases, like that water movie and WWI doc but way below what I expected, much less hoped. I’m sure price will go up next year but I’ll drop it if next year is all Disney, all the time.

  6. spassky says:

    I worked there. It was a nightmare inside and out. But… in the end, it was a tech company, and NOT in the film business–upper managements failure to realize this is ultimately why the service couldn’t sustain itself for longer… We’ll always have AMERICAN ANIMALS!

  7. Hcat says:

    spassky, I would love for you to expand on that. Are you saying they put out the service without knowing how the customer base would behave? That they thought this would be like a gym membership where 3/4 of the people fail to utilize it in a routine way? The model itself seemed insane to me, that they lost more money the more people utilized the service. I’ve never read a description of the how it could legit make money. Did people on the inside think that it would?

  8. spassky says:

    They were going to use the base as data leverage, but then they began to expand into distribution.

    Honestly, what I had said when I got there and still maintain, is that the only way it could’ve survived is through a complicated distribution and brick and mortar synergy, which likely would’ve brought up antitrust issues. Quite frankly, the way things were handled with certain titles was protectionist and incorrect ethically and in a perfect world subject to antitrust laws anyway.

    Yes, they spoke of the gym model, but the break even was lower. I forget but something like 1.8 movies a month on average in order to break even.

    [edited for NDA concerns]

    The people that should’ve been kept happy– theaters– were notoriously kept in the dark. Add to the that a culture of mysogyny and anti-merit (think of boarding school buddies getting [redacted] positions), and you’ve got a disaster. The [redacted] approach was rich-boy drivel and I would be ashamed to present their slides in an intro-level college course. The marketing team didn’t know how to proofread, let alone write. Sound tech and programmers were severely undervalued. Everything was a mess.

    If they had focused on flyover states and avoided cities, it would’ve worked. But in addition to tech being a stupidity bubble, the SEC hasn’t properly enforced antitrust and the last 20 years this country has become a wasteland of corporate bigbox headspace. There is no landscape outside of cities without regal and amc. Moviepass would’ve only worked with independent cinemas on board.

    My suggestion was that we would publicly not kill chloe from barketing if we got a mil more subscribers. Then set her off at sea at 2 mil. Etc.

  9. Triple Option says:

    spassky wrote: They were going to use the base as data leverage, but then they began to expand into distribution.”

    Do you know when approx was the decision to go into distribution? Was that a long range goal that they tried to push up to stay relevant to investors? Completely looking at it through an outsider’s view, I thought in the wake of Cambridge Analytics that would’ve had to have taken an ax to the root MoviePass’ overall strat plan. Was the culling & selling of consumer info much of a slice of their prospective pie?

  10. spassky says:

    Yes, that was the goal for next round of investments: enough users to justify data insights and subsequent sale. 5 million was the goal. This is the goal of literally every company that has an online or mobile presence. Drive downloads, gather user data, leverage data, sell. Too bad their user data was not sound or usable.

    The distribution had to do with a longterm goal of becoming a stand-alone streaming service/production company. VERY stupid decision. Again, none of these people worked in film before. The only people that really knew that side were exhibitor relations. And they didn’t get enough resources. [executive from H&M] was just some jerk investor. [MoviePass executive], by all means, never has had a hand in the success of brands he’s worked for. He’s run everything into the ground. [younger executive] was an absolute joke (that’s the guy who overpaid for IHeartRadio right before they went bankrupt, and paid for Dennis Rodman at Coachella for a few million). modern-day con artists. Plain and simple.

    I should say that this is all information that is available if you search for it. There’s other stuff that’s a lot worse. I haven’t even mentioned the treatment of women and minorities.

    BORDER was great though!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

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My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon