It’s the end of an era for MoviePass — and for one of the biggest consumer clusterfucks of the decade.
MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) rolled the credits today on the notorious monthly movie-ticket subscription service which, at its apex (or nadir, depending on how you look at it), offered unlimited movie tickets for $9.99 a month. Today, MoviePass notified its dwindling subscriber base — which, as of April 2019, suffered attrition of 90% over the course of a year, bringing the pool of users from 3 million to 225,000. Oy.
Effective September 14, subscribers will no longer have access to the app, which was already buggy anyway, locking users out of buying tickets to certain titles, surge-charging for “peak” titles, and canceling subscriptions altogether and unannounced. Then there were the service outages. Oh, and then there was that time the disgraced company reportedly leaked users’ credit-card information, along with other sensitive personal data.
Per a MoviePass press release — perhaps the most Mitch Lowe-y swan song ever in all the history of the MoviePass CEO’s entertainingly bizarre statements: “The Company is unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue. The Company is continuing its efforts to seek financing to fund its operations. There can be no assurance that any such financing will be obtained or available on terms acceptable to the Committee.”
MoviePass was always too much of a good thing, a utopian notion that brought people to the movies again but was never built to last. Then there was the disastrous competitor Sinemia, which crashed and burned after sending consumers through a veritable rabbit warren of steps to purchase a single ticket — and to the brink of insanity, and hands-in-the-air, I-give-up, throw-the-phone-across-the-room frustration, as in the case of this writer’s own experience.
While MoviePass at first appeared as a potential savior for the business of moviegoing, under siege by world-eating streamers such as Netflix and the upcoming Disney+, the service may now serve as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration for future companies trying to bridge the gap between audiences and the big screen. (IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt wrote about MoviePass’ successes here.)
For now, moviegoers can still enjoy the AMC A-List which, for $19.99 a month, allows subscribers to enjoy up to three movies a week in any format, at any AMC location.