Subscription service MoviePass—which played a key role in introducing a subscription-based model to U.S. theaters before flaming out, later to be relaunched by its original founder—has announced the completion of a round of seed funding led by digital entertainment company Animoca Brands, with participation from Claritas Capital, Emerald Plus, Gaingels, Harlem Capital, PKO VC, and Sandhill Angels.
The involvement of Animoca Brands, which invests in the gamification and blockchain space, fits in with the relaunched MoviePass’ Web3 strategy, which is planned to integrate virtual reality cinema experiences and, per a company press release, “using technology to drive traffic to theaters.” Says Yat Siu, executive chairman and co-founder of Animoca Brands—also to be a member of the MoviePass board—the cinema subscription service “has a strong vision for technology in the field of entertainment and our investment demonstrates our commitment to maximizing the value that MoviePass can deliver across the film industry. With its initiatives to increase traffic to theaters, engage audiences with enhanced cinematic experiences, connect studios and their franchise characters to movie fans, and make financing more accessible to aspiring filmmakers, we believe that MoviePass will help to define the future of cinema.”
MoviePass will use funding from Animoca to accelerate its beta relaunch, which kicked off last September in Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City. Since then, MoviePass has gone live in six other markets—Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Tampa Bay—with beta users being pulled from their waitlist, which amassed nearly 800,000 sign-ups in five days upon being opened last year.
MoviePass beta users are able to buy tickets and (at partner theaters) receive promotional offers via the MoviePass app. While the service works at “all major theaters that accept major credit cards in the US,” MoviePass has made a point of developing strategic partnerships with more than 25 theater chains (totaling more than 30% of exhibitors) across the U.S., including B&B Theatres, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, and Landmark Theatres. Of those three chains specifically mentioned by MoviePass, none have their own in-house subscription programs, a popular investment for chains across the U.S. (including AMC and Regal, the country’s two largest circuits) in the years since the first version of MoviePass launched. MoviePass’ collaboration with exhibitors is set to include variable ticket pricing; the subscription service is also in talks with studios to share data-based insights on driving customer attendance and engagement.
“We are expecting 2023 to be one of the most powerful film slates set to be released in years, including more estimated $100M cinematic releases since 2018,” said MoviePass CEO and co-founder Stacy Spikes. “As more fans return to the movies, we will continue to build on our vision to develop innovative technologies that enhance the moviegoing experience for movie fans, exhibitors and studios alike. And soon, we will be introducing new ways for moviegoers to experience their favorite films and engage with their favorite characters, while also developing our platform into a marketplace where our members, studios and theaters can discover the future of cinema together.”
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