Musk, a noted director and producer whose Holiday Engagement is one of the most-watched TV movies in Hallmark channel history, launched the service late last year alongside producer Jina Panebianco and writer Joany Kane. Passionflix squarely targets the romance novel crowd with a library of licensed features and in-house productions. Content is organized according to categories like ‘Tissues And Ice Cream’ for those in need of a good cry, or ‘Hutzpah And Hoohah’ for something a bit more action-packed. Furthermore, a ‘Barometer Of Naughtiness‘ (BON) indicates each title’s sex appeal on a scale from one to five.
PassionFlix, which notes in press materials that the romance novels represent a $1 billion business, closed a $4.75M seed round in November, which it will allocate toward original productions. Investors include Patrick Cheung, Jason Calacanis, and Musk’s other brother, Kimbal. The service is currently available on the web or via proprietary mobile and smart TV apps, priced at $5.99 per month.
Passionflix’s latest original, directed by Musk, is titled Matchmaker’s Playbook. Based on the Rachel Van Dyken novel, it’s about a former NFL recruit, played by Nick Bateman, who forms a word-of-mouth dating service for women — only to end up falling for one particularly hopeless client (Caitlin Carver). Kane wrote the script and Panebianco produced.
Musk (who online video aficionados may know as the producer of the web series classic Tiki Bar TV) as has directed several other features for PassionFlix, including the service’s inaugural title, Hollywood Dirt (see trailer above), and Afterburn/Aftershock. In addition to older classics like Kate & Leopold and The Thomas Crown Affair, PassionFlix has also optioned the rights to several popular book series, including Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man series and Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wicked trilogy.
“I think woman have a unique way of looking at the world,” Musk said in a statement, “and we have an opportunity with PassionFlix to focus on the female gaze as filmmakers. Most movies and series are made with the male gaze in mind (intentional or not). These stories and this platform seek to undo or change that.”