When the countdown clock on the recently-launched “moviepass.ventures” website finally reached zero, the result was less of a bombshell and more of fizzle. On Monday, an updated version of the webpage revealed a statement from the owner of the site along with an attempt at a callout video looking to take myriad movie news websites to task.
“This website was made with around $20, with no purpose other than to fool friends,” the site now reads. “It was tweeted out by a twitter user who we have no affiliation with, and the media picked it up from there. Some articles claimed this was an ‘official MoviePass website’ which was completely fabricated by those journalists.”
The accompany video states, “Countless journalists reached out to us. We responded to none of them,” and, “So journalists, can you cite your sources? To all MoviePass fans, we apologize on behalf of these reporters.” Alongside these statements are images of news article headlines and varying snippets of text that covered the sudden emergence of the mysterious site.
The video can be viewed at the following embedded tweet:
The problem with the statement along with the crux of the video, however, is that next to zero media outlets actually mis-reported the nature of the site. Variety is the most notable news publication to cover moviepass.ventures and is the central focus of the callout video. Yet Variety’s report explicitly noted that, “It appears the ‘MoviePass Ventures’ website, which is separate from the company’s original Moviepass.com, was registered anonymously on Feb. 7, 2021.” The outlet also performed its due diligence by reaching out to former MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, who responded via email saying, “I have no idea. It has nothing to do with me.”
Metaflix’s own reporting called the website “suspicious,” “independent from moviepass.com,” and potentially engaged in “doing an extended bit.”
A few media outlets including Complex, BroBible, and Film Daily mischaracterized the ownership of moviepass.ventures by erroneously referring to it as an “official” MoviePass website. None, however, did anything more than speculate as to the potential point and future of the domain.
As to the merits of the site itself, it appears there’s plenty more trickery afoot. A Twitter user with the handle StonkGodCapital shared screenshots of a purported Discord exchange between users of the MoviePass subreddit. The banter discusses the notion of launching a fake MoviePass 2.0 site to potentially boost community membership, unleash an April Fools’ Day joke, or even affect the price of the penny stock associated with MoviePass’s now-bankrupt parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics.