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Things We Saw Today: The New MoviePass Is the Stuff of Nightmares

AMC movie theater concessions menu sign.

Nearly three years after it shut down, MoviePass is coming back. The service that allowed users to see a movie day for just $9.95 a month ended in 2019 because it turned out the business model that seemed too good to be true was, in fact, just that.

Naturally, then, the new MoviePass is returning with some adjustments. Unfortunately, at least one of the new features is totally horrifying.

Rather than being an unlimited subscription, the new MoviePass will operate on a tiered system, with customers buying or otherwise earning points that they can redeem for movies. One way to earn points is through the “pre-show” feature, which plays ads in exchange for points. This is no casual ad-viewing experience though, as the app will track users’ eye movements to make sure they’re really watching.

People loved MoviePass because it let them see tons of movies for a low price. I don’t know how much of that customer base is going to jump on board for this pivot to invasive ads and creepy tech.

To sell the idea, CEO Stacy Spikes said at a press event Thursday, “What it does is it basically creates a transaction between you and the brand.”

Again, I don’t think that’s what most people are looking for in their movie-going experience. Clearly, though, Spikes and I simply have fundamentally different ideas of what we’re after in that experience to begin with.

According to New York Post reporter Theo Wayt, Spike says the “pre-show” feature is basically an extension of product placement.

“I love product placement in movies,” Spikes said during the event. “I’m the person that has a notepad and I’m writing down, is that Hugo Boss? … I’m that guy.”

I did not know that was a type of guy but I love to learn!

What do you think? Will you let the new MoviePass track your eyeballs for movie credits?

(image: bkmcneal on

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.