MoviePass, the monthly subscription service that lets users see a movie a day in the theaters, announced Tuesday that Helios and Matheson Analytics has acquired a majority stake in the company.
In addition, MoviePass announced a new $9.95 per month subscription service that lets users go to see a movie a day in the theaters. This is a massive drop in price for the company, which started off with a $50 per month plan.
The hope is that the new plan will completely disrupt the movie industry “in the same way that Netflix and Redbox have done in years past.”
“MoviePass was founded to make it easier for passionate moviegoers and casual fans to see films the way they’re meant to be seen — in the theater,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, who previously co-founded Netflix and was the president of the rental service Redbox. “Our vision has always been to make the moviegoing experience more affordable and enjoyable for our subscribers… Today’s acquisition by Helios and Matheson is a huge step towards making our vision a reality.”
Helios and Matheson, meanwhile, hopes to bring its technology to MoviePass. Stacy Spikes, COO of MoviePass, had previously said he wanted to collect data on users who used the service to sell advertising and film-related products like DVDs and novelizations.
“I believe the technology platforms that Helios and Matheson have built over the years are a perfect fit for the MoviePass family,” said Helios and Matheston CEO Ted Farnsworth. “With our big data, as well as our artificial intelligence platforms and other technologies that we own, we will be able to bring an unparalleled technological advantage to MoviePass.
“Our data continues to reinforce the amazing benefits of subscription for customers, theaters and studios,” Spikes said of the Helios and Matheston deal.
The company hit a snag during initial testing back in 2011. The plan was to allow moviegoers in San Francisco to pay $50 a month for unlimited admission to 21 local theaters.
It was halted after AMC Theatres, which controlled six of the theaters on the list, announced that it had told its theaters not to accept passes from MoviePass. The concern at the time was that MoviePass would try to influence ticket prices.
In 2013, MoviePass attempted to try again with a debit card under a new plan that worked independent of exhibitors. Users paid $25 to $40 a month, based on geography, to see one 2D movie a day at 93 percent of theaters nationwide.
Currently, MoviePass is available in over 91 percent of all theaters in the country, including big chains like AMC, Regal and Cinemark and independent theaters.
MoviePass has always wanted to encourage its users to go to the theater instead of sitting at home. We’re in the middle of a box-office drought this summer movie season, with the total domestic box office from the start of May down 12 percent.