In a turn of events that has been a long time coming, MoviePass announced that it is shutting down their subscription service effective from September 14.
The story of MoviePass has as many twists and turns of near farcical extremes that will one day make for an entertaining TV series. MoviePass has been around since 2011, but it was the $9.99 for unlimited movies that were its proverbial iceberg that struck the sinking blow. Back in August 2017 when the offer was launched (and quickly amassed more than 3 million users via its app), it seemed impossible for MoviePass to make any money. To cut a very long story short, MoviePass imposed several restrictions on the ever-changing unlimited plan. They tried going to one movie a day, increasing the price, 3 films a month. When none of that worked they started limiting which films you could see, then they just flat out locked users out of their accounts so they couldn't book tickets. By August this year, MoviePass had shed more than 90% of its subscribers and was still leaking money.
The loses might have been reduced had they not set up their own outfit to make original movies (MoviePass Ventures). It remains unclear what will happen to the films they had at various stages of production. Late last year Bruce Willis signed a three-picture deal with MoviePass, but as they're responsible for the panned John Travolta Gotti biopic, I doubt Willis will be too upset.
Here's the MoviePass statement in full.
"Over the past several months, MoviePass™ worked hard to relaunch its groundbreaking subscription service and recapitalize the company. While we were able to relaunch the service for some of our subscribers with an improved technology platform, our efforts to recapitalize the company have not been successful to date. As a result, it pains us to inform you that effective at 8 a.m. E.T. on September 14, 2019, we must interrupt service for all current MoviePass™ subscribers. MoviePass™ will be providing subscribers with appropriate refunds for their period of service already paid for. Subscribers will not need to request a refund or contact MoviePass™ customer service to receive a refund. Subscribers will not be charged during the service interruption. At this point, we are unable to predict if or when the MoviePass™ service will continue.
We still deeply believe in the need for the MoviePass™ service in the marketplace, to maintain affordable access to theaters and provide movie lovers with choices of where to go to the movies. In August 2017, MoviePass™ began a transformation of the moviegoing industry by introducing its low monthly price subscription service. Since then, others in the industry have followed our lead. Now, as a result of this transformation, movie lovers throughout the United States have the ability to see movies in theaters using subscription services at prices they can actually afford, albeit with limited choices of theaters using those services. In the course of this industry transformation, MoviePass™ has experienced setbacks and challenges that are well known. Nevertheless, MoviePass™ remained committed to leading and competing in an industry that is resistant to outside competition and change. We believe that fostering competition and change in the moviegoing industry is critical to the satisfaction of the moviegoing public and filmmakers alike.
We thank you for your loyalty to MoviePass™ and sharing our vision for the industry. Although we do not currently know what the future holds for the MoviePass™ service, we hope to find a path that will enable us to continue the service in the future."