Who the Hell Is Behind the Zombie MoviePass Website?

Who the Hell Is Behind the Zombie MoviePass Website?
Photo: Darron Cummings, AP
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A mysterious new MoviePass website has resurrected the memory of one of the most chaotic services in paid subscription history.

A site at the domain “moviepass.ventures” bears the MoviePass name and styling, a countdown to March 22, and the words “the movie is about to start.” The only other thing on the page is an email contact to which Gizmodo’s request for comment went unanswered. The website appears to have been created Feb. 7, 2021, but it’s unclear who registered the domain.

Last month it was announced that Mark Wahlberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas had partnered with Assemble Media and Insider on a limited docuseries about MoviePass. But the company said it had no affiliation with the website. In an email inquiring about the site and whether it was linked to Unrealistic Ideas, the company responded, “Nothing to do with us!”

The U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners did not have comment on the website’s appearance. A request for comment to former MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe went unanswered, though Lowe told Variety in a statement that the website “has nothing to do with me.” Neither of the company’s co-founders, Hamet Watt and Stacy Spikes, immediately returned a request for comment.

MoviePass social media accounts, meanwhile, offered no clues about the MoviePass Ventures website. The company’s verified Twitter and Facebook pages both posted last in June of 2019. So who the hell is behind this zombie MoviePass website?

It’s worth noting that the domain is separate from previously registered domains associated with MoviePass including moviepass.com, which is still live with a note from Lowe announcing a “service interruption” effective Sept. 14, 2019. Both websites do, however, share the same domain icon and stylisation of the MoviePass name.

The most obvious answer might be pranksters, though why on Earth anyone would land on MoviePass for doing joke mode is a mystery. A more insidious possibility might be a marketing agency attempting to drum up some slow-burn media hype a la the Instagram egg, which wound up being an ad for Hulu. But what would the site be trying to sell us besides, you know, the very thing that was proven repeatedly to be economically unviable?

In any event, it appears we’ll find out soon.