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 Written by


Director: Muta'Ali Muhammad.

Runtime: 96 minutes.
Release Date: 05/29/24 [HBO / MAX] 

[Seen for SXSW 2024]

"Exploring the company founding and the implosion of the business by outside investors who took over the company, left it bankrupt and under investigation."


MoviePass, MovieCrash offers a riveting dive into the history of MoviePass, a company that once had the audacity to challenge the moviegoing status quo. The documentary meticulously charts the company’s creation, meteoric ascent, and significant impact on both the public and the film industry. The tale is more intriguing and controversial than anticipated, exposing the complicated saga behind its rapid climb and embarrassingly swift collapse.


Throughout its 90-minute runtime, the film maintains a gripping narrative pace, effectively illustrating how MoviePass captivated millions with its disruptive subscription model. Initially founded by visionary Black entrepreneurs, Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt, MoviePass aimed to democratize cinema access. Yet, as the company gained momentum, the spotlight shifted to two white executives, Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth, who eventually led it to its downfall. This shift not only highlights the issues of race and erasure but also underscores the problematic dynamics that often play out in the corporate world.


While the documentary is generally well-executed, it isn't without flaws. The inclusion of short animated clips for re-enactments felt out of place and detracted from the overall seriousness. Additionally, while the documentary surveys the ascent and influence of MoviePass, the segments that cover its fall, death, and attempted resurrection seem somewhat hurried. Nevertheless, the documentary effectively outlines how the greed and mismanagement by external investors led to MoviePass’s dramatic failure.


One of the most striking aspects of MoviePass, MovieCrash is its piercing commentary on corporate greed and the marginalization of the original founders. It serves as a stark reminder of how external investors and capitalistic pressures can derail a promising venture. This narrative resonates with Hollywood’s history, where studios frequently wrest control from the original creators, leading to compromised visions. These parallels highlight a broader industry pattern where corporate greed frequently hinders innovation, offering a thought-provoking perspective that extends beyond the specific case of MoviePass.

MoviePass, MovieCrash is especially impactful for those who experienced the glory and promise of that little red card for a brief, shining period. As MoviePass attempts to rise from its ashes under the guidance of its original founders, the film leaves viewers with a sense of cautious optimism about its potential resurgence. Despite its minor flaws, the documentary captures the trajectory of MoviePass with a clear-eyed view, providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this modern corporate saga.

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