By CultureBanx Team
- Walmart to sell MoviePass subscriptions in its stores across the country
- The U.S. movie theater sector includes about 4,600 establishments with combined annual revenue of about $18B
Walmart (WMT -0.53%), the country’s leading retailer, has partnered up with the Stacy Spikes’ resurrected MoviePass platform to sell subscriptions in its stores across the country. The retail behemoth seems very interested in promoting in-theater attendance through the partnership. With subscription movie-going here to stay, in a sector in a sector that includes about 4,600 establishments with combined annual revenue of about $18 billion, a co-sign by Walmart may be just what the movie-subscription company needs to reach even more customers.
Why This Matters: Sources with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider, the retail giant will promote the subscription service with in-store displays and other advertising materials. Also, Walmart currently uses similar displays to promote streaming giant Netflix (NFLX +0.93%).
MoviePass has partnerships with 25% of theaters in the U.S., according to the company, each user subscription option will give the user a number of credits to use each month to see movies. As theatergoing rebounds in a post-pandemic world, companies like Regal, AMC (AMC -0.77%), Alamo and other theaters that have since created similar services to MoviePass.
As industry analysts dissect the sector it seems like experience will be key to getting people to return movie theater seats. Big theater chains have to either lean into premium effects and formats that work best on large-format screens. If that doesn’t work they will have to experiment with MoviePass-style subscription models that leave theatergoers feeling like they’re getting their money’s worth, according to TheStreet.
Walmart definitely has enough money in its coffers to support this deal as the company reported full-year revenue of $611.3 billion for fiscal 2023. On a regional basis, the retail giant in the U.S. recorded net sales of $420.6 billion, while its comparable sales and e-commerce sales grew by 6.6% and 12% respectively in the year.
Let’s preview how MoviePass got to this place: Once heralded as a darling of innovation in the stagnated movie theater industry, MoviePass’s rise, fall and resurrection is worthy of a big screen viewing (queue Mark Wahlberg’s production group for a documentary). In January 2018, Spikes was ousted from the organization. The company initially filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after struggling to become profitable with its model of allowing users to pay $9.99 per month and watch an unlimited number of movies.
A fall from the subscription movie mountain top quickly ensued, when MoviePass’ parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics saw the platforms user base plummet from more than 3 million members to about 225,000 as of April 2019 and ultimately shut down, according to Variety. Spikes was then granted ownership of MoviePass assets by a New York City court back in November 2021 for $14,000, after Helios and Matheson Analytics completely filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
What’s Next: MoviePass and Walmart did not officially confirm the partnership to Business Insider. However, the movie subscription platform MoviePass relaunched its beta version in 2022 and plans to be available to all customers in summer 2023.
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