MoviePass just announced a new venture to co-acquire films for distribution. Gaining popularity since changing its business model last August, the movie theater subscription service purchases tickets from theaters and charges just $9.95 per month for users to see one release per day for free at participating locations. It's especially grown since becoming a subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. and is currently accepted at 91 percent of all theaters across the United States.
The app currently lets users see movies from all kinds of distributors, as long as it's accepted at a particular theater. But until now, the service never distributed its own films for theatergoers to see. Its new subsidiary MoviePass Ventures aims to change that, as the company looks to get itself in the distribution game.
As reported in a new press release via BusinessWire, MoviePass announced MoviePass Ventures to a group of "filmmakers, producers, directors, investors, distributors, and other industry executives" at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The announcement came during its own presentation called Off-Script: The Future of Film. With Ventures, MoviePass will acquire films with fellow distributors to release itself. Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., said that MoviePass Ventures doesn't intend to compete with distributors but to "put skin in the game alongside them."
According to the release, MoviePass currently purchases about 3 percent of the total domestic box office. But it notes that the number jumps to over 10 percent when users utilize the MoviePass app to select new films based on recommendations. The release credits MoviePass with purchasing over 10 percent of the box office for acclaimed recent releases like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Despite doubts and criticism over its business model, it's a good sign for the long-term health of MoviePass that it's creating this new venture and working in accordance with other distributors. It's a clear opportunity for the app to reap the benefits of its own distributions to be part of the purchasing process and bring in more theatergoers to see its own films rather than those distributed only by other companies.
Considering its success with smaller productions like the aforementioned titles, and the fact that it introduced Ventures at the Sundance festival, it's likely that MoviePass starts small with its acquisitions. That may not be likely to make much of a dent in its box office influence at first. But as the release noted, the app also purchased a larger percentage with Steven Spielberg's The Post. And if it picks the right films to distribute, MoviePass Ventures could help send the popular app to new levels of growth.