MoviePass, the subscription service that spent enormous amounts of venture capitalists’ money subsidizing movie tickets in a bid to upend the theater business model, is officially shutting down on September 14th. The news, announced today via emails to subscribers and reported today by CNBC, marks the end of a tumultuous two-year saga that saw an once-popular platform go to extreme lengths to keep its business running, despite the obvious and fraught financial cost.
Last we heard of MoviePass, the company was laying off huge swaths of its staff, including the team responsible for brokering partnerships with movie theaters, following a sudden, supposedly temporary shutdown of its services in July. The company didn’t say when it would begin operating again, but monthly and annual subscribers were left with a service that was no longer functioning and no timeline regarding its eventual return. Last month, MoviePass was also found to have exposed thousands of its customers’ credit card numbers in plain text online, rounding out a particularly rough few months of bad press.
According to parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., MoviePass was too far gone to save. “On September 13, 2019, MoviePass notified its subscribers that it would be interrupting the MoviePass service for all its subscribers effective September 14, 2019, because its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” reads a press release issued this afternoon.
The company says it will still seek funding to bring MoviePass back, but it is “unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue.” It also says “there can be no assurance that any such financing will be obtained or available on terms acceptable to the committee.” The committee in question is a new “strategic review committee” made up of Helios and Matheson board directors to “identify, review, and explore all strategic and financial alternative” for salvaging the firm. That includes selling it in its entirety, or a sale of nearly all of its assets including MoviePass, movie listing service Moviefone, and the company’s production arm, MoviePass Films.