The struggles continue for MoviePass as the movie ticket subscription service has been forced to shut down indefinitely. The shutdown occurred last week during the Fourth of July holiday. The company, in an email to subscribers, stated that the interruption in service was due to improvements being made to the app. Be that as it may, the service interruption has caused serious doubts about the company's ability to stay viable moving forward.
MoviePass will not be taking on any additional subscribers during the allegedly temporary shutdown. Those who are still subscribed to the service will be credited for the number of days they were affected once they are back up and running. In an email to subscribers, Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass, had this to say.
"There's never a good time to have to do this. But to complete the improved version of our app, one that we believe will provide a much better experience for our subscribers, it has to be done. We have listened and we understand the frustrations of our subscribers. To provide the level of service you deserve and we can be proud of, we need to improve our mobile app. We plan to make this improvement by utilizing an enhanced technology platform, which is in the final stages of completion."
Helios and Matheson, the company who purchased MoviePass, has been bleeding cash over the past couple of years. They made the rather splashy announcement in 2017 that they were reducing the cost of the groundbreaking service to $9.95 a month, which would allow moviegoers to see one movie per day at most theaters around the country. At its peak, they had three million subscribers. As we reported back in April, due to app complications, unexpected service interruptions, restrictions and price fluctuations, amongst other issues, approximately 90 percent of those subscribers have since bailed.
The company has struggled to secure funding in order to stay in operation. This is largely due to the fact that MoviePass pays full price for each movie ticket, meaning that they lose money very quickly from each subscriber. Helios and Matheson never found a way to make up the difference and their stock has plummeted as a result. The MoviePass website currently has this message on its homepage.
"For the past several months, MoviePass has been working hard to improve our groundbreaking subscription service to ensure it meets the vision that we have for it. We are temporarily not accepting new subscribers as we work on these improvements. Please enter your email below and you will be notified when we are accepting new subscribers to our improved service."
While MoviePass may be on life support, a good idea is a good idea and it appears their business model is here to stay. AMC launched its own similar service, Stubs A-List, which now has more than 800,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, Regal Cinemas is set to launch their own subscription-based movie service, as is the Alamo Drafthouse. Unfortunately, MoviePass just wasn't able to make that good idea work, from a business perspective, for themselves. Those who are still interested in being notified when service resumes can head on over to MoviePass.com.