Aw, the halcyon days of MoviePass. In the mid-to-late 2010s, the tech company aimed to disrupt everything we knew about paying a single movie ticket to see a single movie in a movie theater. Instead, they went for a streaming service-styled pricing package, offering in its heyday a scant $10 a month for one movie a day at just about any dang movie theater in your area. People — especially people who lived in cities where a single ticket cost way more than $10 — flocked to it in giant numbers, seeing tons and tons of movies at this low, low price. Studios and exhibitors alike began disliking the company, but they didn’t need to get much revenge. As their profitability kept shrinking, and their weird rules and shady business dealings kept increasing, they eventually folded in 2019. But their mark on the movie theater industry remains — without MoviePass, there’s no AMC A-List.
It’s a bonkers story of innovation, disruption, hubris, and financial instability. It’d make one heckuva documentary right? Speaking of which…
Deadline reports that a documentary series about the surprising rise and colossal fall of MoviePass is in the works. The docuseries will hail from a team used to depicting American plays at disrupting (or, uh, scamming) capitalism-happy consumers: Unrealistic Ideas, the production company headed by Mark Wahlberg, that brought us the HBO docuseries McMillions. This series will be based on Jason Guerrasio‘s reporting on the company for Insider, and will, surprisingly, feature first-hand accounts from MoviePass founders Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt. As producer Archie Gips put it, “There’s only one way to tell the unabridged story of MoviePass properly, and that’s through the eyes of Stacy and Hamet, the innovators who conceived it. They built it from nothing, and then were told their services were no longer needed.”
The producers, which beyond Wahlberg and Gips also include Stephen Levinson, Jack Heller, and Scott Veltri, went on to explain their creative vision for the series:
“Employing a sexy price to turbo-charge subscriber growth, the investors who took over the company sought the rapid success experienced by high-flying startups like WeWork and Uber. But through over-the-top parties, inexplicable mismanagement, and questionable behind-the-scenes deals, the new leadership of MoviePass slowly alienated its customers and shuttered its service just two years after its surge into the zeitgeist… Featuring exclusive first-hand accounts from the MoviePass founders who watched the company they built destroyed by Wall Street greed, along with company insiders and industry experts, the project will provide an inside look at how players in the investor class can rig the game to ensure their payday regardless of the carnage they leave behind. It will also include the perspective of ambitious young employees and passionate MoviePass users who helped fuel a movie-going revolution that was cut short.”
No title, network, or release dates have been announced yet, but once it’s out there, this will be squarely for documentary fans who need more Fyre Fraud-esque explorations of unique, contemporary failures.