MoviePass shows off new giant billboards in Times Square after burning through hundreds of millions of dollars

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • On Thursday, MoviePass executive vice president Khalid Itum posted a video showing off the huge MoviePass billboards in New York’s Times Square.
  • Even after spending hundreds of millions trying to be a disrupter in the industry, a January study estimated 58% of MoviePass’ members had canceled their subscriptions last year, as it introduced unpopular restrictions.
  • These MoviePass ads are a stunt to try and mend fences with movie exhibitors, as two of the biggest (AMC and Regal) are just down the block from the ad.

On Thursday, MoviePass executive vice president Khalid Itum posted a video on his LinkedIn page showing off the huge MoviePass billboards currently in New York’s Times Square.

The ad wraps around the corner of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, just east of the Times Square movie theaters for AMC and Regal.

It’s made up of photos of people at the movies with text that reads, among other slogans: “A story of human triumph. You. At the movies.” There’s also a graphic just below the MoviePass logo that shows a map of midtown Manhattan with dots indicating where theaters are located.

Here’s a screenshot of the video:

MoviePass ad in Times Square.

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MoviePass ad in Times Square.
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LinkedIn/Khalid Itum

In the text to Itum’s LinkedIn post, he wrote:

“Proud to reveal our new ad campaign.

MoviePass should never have been controversial – but we all could come up with multiple reasons for why it was.

It’s time to put the past just there … and to pave the path forward.

MoviePass Let’s go to the movies.”

MoviePass has been trying to change its image as a disruptor in the industry and make nice with exhibitors like AMC and Regal, who it has clashed with in the past. In an interview with Variety in January, Itum said that the Times Square ads were a “tribute to our friends in exhibition.”

But the massive ads come after hundreds of millions in losses for MoviePass, primarily shouldered by its parent company’s shareholders. Late last year, MoviePass’ parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics, reported it lost $130 million in its third-quarter filing.

Those big losses haven’t stopped a flight of users from the app, which followed MoviePass introducing unpopular restrictions on what showtimes and movies subscribers could see. A study estimated in January that 58% of MoviePass users canceled their subscriptions in 2018.

Even if MoviePass can get exhibitors – some of which, including AMC and Cinemark, also have their own subscription competitors – on its side, is it too little too late?