MoviePass CEO Says AMC’s Adam Aron Never Called Back

MoviePass owner Stacy Spikes feels as overwhelmed with demand as his servers were yesterday. Now if only Adam Aron would call back.

Stacy Spikes, owner of MoviePass 2.0 (and original co-founder), feels as overwhelmed as her servers on Thursday morning.

The new MoviePass waitlist opened yesterday at 9 a.m. At 9:05 a.m., 30,000 people signed up, crashing the website for nearly three hours. As of 9 a.m. this morning, the reconnected waiting list had 463,000 registrations. “Damn Moly!” that’s how Spikes told IndieWire.

Spikes estimated maybe 50,000 or 100,000 signups on Day 1, so he’s not sweating the server crash. “That’s a good problem to have,” he said of the wild ride. “We drink from the fire hose.”

The waiting list is open until Monday. A week later, an unknown number of those who signed up will be converted into actual MoviePass 2.0 users (as Spikes calls the resurrection of his vision). Spikes said he has “no idea” how many people will be — not while his head is still spinning with demand — but he’s committed to slowing down MoviePass this time around. The 2.0 plan, as he put it, is “to open up some markets, test the new system, make sure we have happy people – and then keep opening it up more and more.”

Speed ​​streamed MoviePass 1.0. Founded in 2011, Spikes sold a majority stake in MoviePass to Helios and Matheson (HMNY) in 2017, which then laid off Spikes in 2018. The following year, MoviePass closed; it filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Spikes, who bought the company last November, vows not to repeat the sins of the past. (He is also quick to point out that they were not his Sins.)

MoviePass 1.0’s biggest problem was its clearly unsustainable price. When HMNY installed a $9.95 per month unlimited plan, it sounded too good to be true – or at least to make money. It turned out that it was – and it could not. “There’s no way a $10 prize would work on any planet,” Spikes said. “That’s part of why they fired me and forced me out of the company because I kept saying, ‘This can’t work’.”

According to Spikes’ estimate, for the unlimited plan to scale, the loss of cash from MoviePass subscriptions would climb into the billions. That wasn’t the only mistake; there were also the blackout dates which suppressed certain theaters and films.

“Why would you make enemies of your theater partners and clients? It makes no sense,” Spikes said. “I had been fired and I was sitting at home saying, ‘This is so bad. “”

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MoviePass 2.0 will be different. This MoviePass, with tiers of $10, $20, and $30, will grant consumers a number of monthly credits per month that can be applied to peak and off-peak screenings. Theaters can switch between peak and off-peak designations. It’s variable pricing, but not based on seat selection or per movie. The number of credits required to see a movie at the same time on the same day may vary depending on the room.

“It’s much more of a market,” Spikes said during our Friday phone call. “Before, you never saw the math behind the scenes.”

All theaters will be in the new MoviePass interface — yes, even AMC, whether CEO Adam Aron likes it or not. In August 2017, AMC Entertainment pulled out of the game from MoviePass. In a press release explaining the move, AMC noted “it is not yet known how to turn lead into gold…In AMC’s view, this price level is unsustainable and only exposes consumers to ultimate disappointment”.

Spikes is still trying to fix that fence. “When I redeemed MoviePass, in November, I contacted all three (of the major cinema chains),” he told IndieWire. “I’ve had conversations with Cinemark, I’ve had conversations with Regal, and Adam hasn’t called me back.”

So Spikes left a voicemail for Aron. And then an email (which, via a read receipt, Spikes says he saw was opened). And then another voicemail. At the time of our interview, he had received no response. A spokesperson for AMC Entertainment declined to comment for this story.

Spikes, who rated talks with “very open-minded” executives at Cinemark and Regal as “awesome,” doesn’t understand AMC’s problem. Yes, AMC didn’t like the unlimited option of the previous version. Yes, AMC has its own A-list subscription program — but Spikes doesn’t see MoviePass as different from ticket aggregators like Fandango.

“If I was an exhibitor, why would I care?” Spikes said. “If it helps me fill my seats – especially when I’m looking at bankruptcy, looking to close theaters, looking to close my doors – it seems like madness to think, ‘I don’t want to play with anybody.’ another.

Regal owner Cineworld plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; AMC chief Aron insists his company is not in the same boat.

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