Following a year of terrible headlines, embattled theater subscription service MoviePass is officially going out of business, seemingly for good. MoviePass had been around for years by the summer of 2017, but didn't really get on most people's radars until then, thanks to a marketing blitz announcing its new $9.95 monthly price point. Such a low price for the ability to see a different 2D movie a day, every day naturally drew interest, earning the service millions of new subscribers. Of course, that price was far too good to be true.
Under the leadership of CEO Mitch Lowe, MoviePass embarked on a mission to become such a big player in the moviegoing market that theater chains and studios would end up with no choice but to do business with the company. Instead, the strategy of paying full price for movie tickets while earning much less from subscription fees led to MoviePass hemorrhaging money and eventually being unable to find anyone willing to further finance it. Also, instead of working with MoviePass, theater chains like AMC, Regal, and soon Alamo Drafthouse decided to cut out the middle man and create their own monthly subscription programs.
The "golden age" (for customers anyway) of MoviePass lasted for about a year, until summer 2018, when the service first abruptly ran out of money. Since then, MoviePass has tried multiple new pricing schemes and plan restrictions, but poor performance, combined with accusations of morally dubious business practices, has seen the company's reputation put through the shredder. Now, THR reports that MoviePass is shutting down, effective Saturday, September 14.
The ultimate demise of MoviePass comes only a few months after rival service Sinemia went under, after dealing with multiple complaints from customers about hidden fees and the app not working as it should. MoviePass has itself been offline since July 4, with the company saying at the time that the service was being upgraded. Sure enough, that turned out to be yet another untrustworthy statement by MoviePass.
In the end, while MoviePass may have gone down not in a blaze of glory but a raging inferno of regret, it actually deserves a big thank you from anyone currently enjoying the stable, reliable subscription services now offered by AMC and Regal. While customers may be limited to certain theaters, it's still changed the way American moviegoing operates, in an era where individual ticket prices are higher than ever. Without MoviePass, the introduction of movie subscriptions to America may have never come to pass. MoviePass is dead, long live subscription moviegoing.