HBO Documentary Explores the Rise and Fall of Theatrical Movie Subscription

MoviePass, MovieCrash | Official Trailer | HBO
MoviePass, MovieCrash | Official Trailer | HBO / HBO

Award-winning filmmaker Muta' Ali is only known for HBO's Yusuf Hawkin's: Storm Over Brooklyn. The credited director will explore the rise to fall of the theatrical movie subscription in a new documentary, MoviePass, MovieCrash, expected to premiere and be released next week on HBO and the streaming platform.

The documentary will show eight years of the theatrical movie subscription rise as the fastest-growing service to bankruptcy, losing over $170 million alone since 2017. The company's early days as the industry movie ticketing model explored the visionary mission of its entrepreneur co-founders, the impressive successes, and the downfall caused by mismanagement and corporate greed.

Sounds familiar to a streaming service that increased their subscription price, but before the unfortunate happened, MoviePass was an exciting new model for cinephiles offering access to movie theater tickets at a discounted monthly subscription rate.

In 2017, with a “too good to be true” promotional deal of $9.95 a month, subscriptions exploded, the company’s stock soared, and investors rushed to get in on the venture. However, the co-founders were cast aside and forced to watch from the sidelines as new executives seized control. In a combination of extravagant and fraudulent spending with lavish parties at the Sundance Film Festival, Coachella, and the Cannes Film Festival, and a fundamentally unsustainable business model, led the company to shutter abruptly in 2019.

The documentary will feature interviews with the company's co-founders, former CEO Mitch Lowe, former employees, investors, subscribers, industry analysts, and the journalists who reported on the rise and fall of the company. The documentary uncovers the outrageous story behind the innovators who tried to disrupt the cinema-going experience to the key players who, in peddling a false narrative and seeking to fly too high, created a wild ride that ended with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost value and the early demise of the infamous company.

Mark the calendar for Wednesday, May 29 of MoviePass, MovieCrash to release on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT and stream on Max.

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