After a long and bumpy road, MoviePass has shut down. The movie ticket subscription app has had many drastic changes to its pricing plan to try and find sustainable footing, but now it is finally throwing in the towel. The last service shut down for good on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The abrupt closure of MoviePass was not announced until Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. MoviePass' parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., gave customers just one day to say goodbye to their app. The firm said that its "efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date. The Company is unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue."
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe conceded defeat in a letter to subscribers as well. However, he praised the company's revolutionary moments, saying that the company "remained committed to leading and competing in an industry that is resistant to outside competition and change."
MoviePass set out to revitalize the movie theater industry, which has been steadily waning for years now. In the beginning, it offered subscribers unlimited movie tickets for a flat fee of $9.95 per month, reasoning that most subscribers were not paying for 12 movies per year anyway, so it would ultimately make a profit.
The service exploded, with rapidly growing subscribers in its early days. The app had millions of subscribers at its peak, but growing use pitched the theater industry into chaos. Soon, MoviePass was changing its pricing structures and offerings to retain some profits while still delivering on the service it had promised.
The effect was disappointing to early adopters. Suddenly new releases, big box office hits and prime time slots were not included in their monthly plan. This left users to purchase separate tickets to the biggest movies of the year, leaving them frustrated and unclear what they were getting from MoviePass.
the golden age of movie pass was the best few months of my life https://t.co/XtFtCH8O4H— e-boy the letter (@dylmdav) September 13, 2019
The company already had an unexpected outage over the summer. On July 4, the app was unexpected closed for unspecified "improvements," which suspicious social media commentators took for a cover story, saying that theaters simply could not afford to give up the holiday weekend profits. Bearing that in mind, many were not surprised by this weekend's abrupt closure.
While MoviePass itself may be finished, its business model may live on in the industry. Theaters are building out subscription models themselves, ensuring not only increased attendance but brand loyalty. AMC's Stubs A-List membership costs around $20 per month, and reportedly has nearly a million subscribers after just over a year of operation. Cinemark has seen similar growth, sustained since 2017.