MoviePass is shutting down, for now.
MoviePass will shut down on Saturday with no clear return date in store.
Helios and Matheson (HMNY), the parent company that owns MoviePass, announced that the subscription service, which once offered customers unlimited movie tickets for $10 per month, will no longer be in service, according to CNN.
HMNY said it has “not been successful to date” in bringing MoviePass back to the heights of its viral fame.
“The Company is unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue,” Helios and Matheson said in a statement on Friday. “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 had quite a run, skyrocketing to viral fame in the summer of 2017, when it dropped to $9.99 per month for unlimited movies.
“That day we sold 50,000 subscriptions,” MoviePass founder and CEO Mitch Lowe told The Ringer. “It was 150,000 in three or four days. By the end of the (first) week, it was like, ‘Holy cow, what have we got here?’ And all of that, in my mind, was incredibly positive.”
But the shift was too good to be true. Technical issues limited which movies people could see. Complaints flooded social media. People unsubscribed from the platform.
In fact, in July 2018, customers complained that they couldn’t see certain movies. Rumors of a buyout sprung up. MoviePass tried to rebrand several times by “raising its prices, lowering its prices, raising prices again, creating new plans. You get it,” according to the Deseret News.
MoviePass planned a rebuild that would have allowed subscribers to see movies earlier and actually act in those films, too.
“We cast (subscribers) — cast members to be in our movies, have a talking part or speaking part or whatever it is,” Ted Farnsworth, the CEO of HMNY, told the Deseret News. “So I think it’s more inclusive … where it’s just not only subscription.”
Glenn Williamson, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, told the Deseret News that MoviePass needed to find a sweet spot if it was going to succeed.
“I don’t have a crystal ball. It seems like the product just got less good and that people (said) ‘this just isn’t worth it,’” Williamson said. “If they could find a sweet spot of price and accessibility to movies that you want (to see), it could work. I think people are inclined to spend less for movies and go more.”