DEADLINE | By Denise Petski
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas, the company behind HBO’s Emmy-nominated McMillions, is taking another deep dive into the absurdities of greed with the story behind the rise and fall of MoviePass. Unrealistic Ideas has teamed with Assemble Media and Insider (formerly Business Insider) to develop a premium limited docuseries chronicling the demise of the famed movie-ticket subscription service.
The docuseries is based on Insider reporter Jason Guerrasio’s award-winning coverage of the rise and fall of the company. Guerrasio’s reports chronicled MoviePass’ explosive growth in 2017 after offering unlimited theatrical movies for just $9.95 a month, through its downfall.
“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,” producers say.
The docuseries will explore MoviePass’ founding by Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt and the implosion of the business by outside investors who took over the company before leaving it bankrupt and under investigation by the FBI. “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,” producers say.
MoviePass shuttered on September 14, 2019.
“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.”
Unrealistic Ideas’ Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Gips executive produce with Assemble Media’s Jack Heller and Scott Veltri, alongside Insider.