The new MoviePass is testing a revival of the all-you-can-watch plan that made the service famous, but it's certainly not going to cost $10 per month. The test is part of the next expansion of the movie-watching service's beta, which is now nationwide after opening on Tuesday to anyone that signed up for the beta's waitlist.
MoviePass CEO Stacy Spikes told Insider that those joining the beta may experience some glitches that engineers are working on, and a wider relaunch to the public is expected this summer. MoviePass has confirmed the launch details with CNET, and Spikes announced the expansion via a YouTube video sent to the waitlist.
"We previously opened in 10 markets, but now we're letting everyone [on the waitlist] in nationwide," Spikes said.
This new version of MoviePass uses a credit-based system instead of flat-rate pricing, with plans varying based on geographic region. The New York City-based plans that I'm able to see start at a $20 Basic level for 68 credits, which MoviePass says should translate to one to three films per month. The most expensive plan offered is the $60 Pro level, which MoviePass says should allow for one movie per day, with the equivalent of 1,240 credits. Unused credits will roll over, up to a maximum of two months' worth based on the selected plan. Outside of New York, MoviePass says its cheapest plan could be as low as $10.
For New York, these prices aren't bad. It's not unusual for one movie ticket to cost $17 or more in Manhattan, so even getting two films out of the service is still a discount. However since the service is in beta, it's worth keeping in mind that these prices could still shift as the service heads toward its eventual wide release.
For an occasional theatergoer, the $20 starting price undercuts rival services in New York, but someone looking to go three or more times a week to a specific theater could be better served looking into programs owned by movie theater chains like AMC A-List ($25 in New York), Regal Unlimited ($24) or Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass ($30). Still, it's worth noting that MoviePass allows access to a much wider variety of theaters, using either the app to get tickets for MoviePass-partnered theaters or the MoviePass credit card for theaters that aren't partnered. Spikes told Insider that pricing for its unlimited tier is being tested at a variety of levels during the beta.
The nationwide expansion is the latest step toward the rebirth of MoviePass after Spikes purchased the brand in November 2021. MoviePass famously flamed out in 2019 after burning through money when it offered a $10 unlimited plan. Spikes helped found MoviePass in 2011 with partner Hamel Witt, and the service went through iterations that included a $50 per month unlimited plan at one point. Spikes was fired from the company in 2018 when it was helmed by then-Helios CEO Ted Farnsworth and then-MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe. Now that Spikes is back in the MoviePass driver's seat, he said that plans for the service include integrating an optional advertising program to subsidize costs for customers. He's also eying the metaverse as a possible area for MoviePass to grow.