It was only a matter of time. Fyre Festival got two documentaries soon after it imploded. Multiple GameStop documentaries are in the works. There’s nothing that audiences like more than to watch a delusional business idea (or Wall Street) go up in flames. So it shouldn’t have taken this long, really, for Hollywood to point its camera at MoviePass, the doomed movie-ticket subscription service. But it’s happening, and we’re getting a MoviePass docuseries executive produced by none other than Mark Wahlberg.
Deadline reports that Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas, the production shingle behind HBO’s Emmy-nominated McMillions, is making a docuseries on the catastrophic rise and fall of MoviePass. Unrealistic Ideas is teaming up with Assemble Media and Insider (formerly Business Insider) to develop the limited docuseries, which will be based on Insider reporter Jason Guerrasio’s award-winning coverage of the company, which exploded on the scene in 2017 with its too-good-to-be-true offer of unlimited theatrical movies for just $9.95 a month. Which it turned out, was too good to be true.
We all know what happened to MoviePass in the two years since it dropped its price to that absurd $10 a month: bankruptcy, security breaches, fraud, Gotti. And most of all, angry subscribers who initially flocked to the great deal, only to be shut out by changing subscription prices or, towards the end of MoviePass’ lifespan, literally shut out of the app. It was a fascinating dumpster fire of a business venture that was breathlessly chronicled by news outlets and blogs (including yours truly), and one that we’ll get to relive all over again with this MoviePass documentary series.
The docuseries will explore the founding of the company by Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt, and its subsequent implosion when outside investors took over the company before leaving it bankrupt and under FBI investigation. After two years in the limelight, MoviePass ultimately shut down on September 14, 2019.
Here is the aim of the docuseries, per a statement from producers:
“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.”
“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,” said Unrealistic Partner and president Archie Gips. “They built it from nothing, and then were told their services were no longer needed.”
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Author: Hoai-Tran Bui
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February 19, 2021