Mitch Lowe: Where is the Ex-MoviePass CEO Now?

While it’s true that online subscription services have helped the entertainment industry reach new heights over the past two decades, nothing can beat the magic of cinematic experiences. That’s why Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt actually established MoviePass in 2011, hoping to lure people back into movie theaters to make watching them a joyous community event once again. Though, as explored in HBO’s ‘MoviePass, MovieCrash,’ neither of them could’ve ever imagined their company would burn to the ground shortly after Mitch Lowe assumed the position of CEO.

Mitch Lowe is a Businessman Through and Through

Although not much information regarding Mitch Lowe’s early years or experiences is publicly available as of writing, we do know he developed a passion for movies at a relatively young age. “My first movie-going experience was ‘Psycho’ (1960),” he recalled in the aforementioned original production. “My aunt had an old El Camino, and she would take us all to the drive-in. We would hide under a blanket in the back so she didn’t have to also pay the 25 cents for us kids. In that shower scene, we all jumped and hit our heads on the ceiling of the car.” But alas, the thrill of it was such that he ended up pursuing a career related to this industry. He actually dropped out of high school.

It was actually in 1984 that Mitch, in his early 30s, was appointed President of Video Droid (now-defunct), just for him to completely devote himself to the work for nearly the ensuing 14 years. That is, until he got an opportunity to work for Netflix as the Vice President of Business Development & Strategic Alliances, meaning he helped the firm rise in its initial mail-based rental phase. Then came his brief stint at McDonald’s Corporation as Senior Director plus Vice President of Operations, followed by his significant work at Redbox as Chief Operating Officer turned President.

Mitch had hence already garnered a lot of experience in the video, rental, and subscription industry by the time 2012 rolled around, only for him to later also serve as the CEO of Quarterly Co. He reportedly held this title until July 2014, after which he spent two years primarily as a mere Board Member for various companies: Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation (2011-2016), Our Alchemy (2015-2016), as well as Cantaloupe Systems (2015-2017). We specified two years because investor Chris Kelly brought him into MoviePass to serve as Chief Executive Officer in June 2016 — co-founder Stacy Spikes was moved down to Chief Operating Officer.

Little did anyone know that Mitch’s subsequent decision to sell a majority stake to analytics firm Helios and Matheson to gain further investment would be the beginning of the end for MoviePass. That’s because while he did manage to grow the company’s user base from a mere 20,000 to more than 3 million within a year, their core model struggled to match the increasing demand. In the end, per official records, when funds ran out owing to the exorbitant promotional practices scheduled by Helios and Matheson’s CEO Ted Farnsworth, he allegedly went as far as to instruct employees to change user passwords/restrict access to save money.

However, nothing panned out in the way Mitch had expected, leaving him no choice but to announce MoviePass’ closure in September 2019 as all “efforts to recapitalize the company have not been successful” — he himself left in January 2020 after the organization filed for bankruptcy. It’s imperative to note that since the actual co-founders had been booted out from the daily operations and as board members by this point, the firm was left at the hands of banks, so Stacy Spikes later re-bought it. Though what’s even more significant is that the former CEO has since been federally charged for his criminal/improper handling of this business.

Mitch Lowe is an Advisor and Investor Currently Awaiting Trial

After the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had filed a complaint against MoviePass, Mitch Lowe, as well as Ted Farnsworth for their deceptive practices, it came to light they were well aware of what they were doing — internal e-mails showed executives discussing consumer backlash, plus their fear of an investigation. Therefore, even though they settled this particular case on June 7, 2021, the matter was far from over as they were ultimately criminally charged with one count of securities fraud and three counts of wire fraud on November 4, 2022. Mitch, along with Ted, have both since pleaded not guilty, so they’re currently awaiting trial — if convicted, they face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count.

Coming to Mitch’s standing, it seems like he’s out on bond at the moment, enabling him to continue working on the ventures he’d undertaken following his unsuccessful stint at MoviePass. In other words, today, this author of ‘Watch and Learn: How I Turned Hollywood Upside Down With Netflix, Redbox, and MoviePass,’ serves as an advisor for Regah Venture, an advisor for the Abrahamic Business Circle in UAE, a public speaker on innovation, as well as a proud start-up investor. As for his personal life, from what we can tell, it appears as if after his divorce from his partner of over four decades in the early 2020s, he prefers to keep such experiences well away from the limelight.

Read More: Where is Ted Farnsworth Now?