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Dear Remaining MoviePass Subscribers: Bad News

Service is shut down as of Saturday, with company 'unable to predict if or when' it will return
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2019 7:40 AM CDT
In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, a customer holds her MoviePass card outside an AMC theater in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

(Newser) – It looks like MoviePass has officially moved from "the brink of death" to the movie morgue. Variety reports the beleaguered subscription service will shutter, effective as of 8am ET on Saturday, according to an announcement to straggler subscribers from parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics. Why? The firm's attempts "to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date." Both Variety and the New York Times detail the issues that have long plagued the service, including huge net losses it brought to Helios and Matheson that spurred it to modify its business model and restrict the number and type of movies that customers could see. It had previously offered moviegoers the chance to see a film a day for just $9.95 per month; a change in 2018 kept the price the same but limited customers to three movies a month, and not all movies were included.

Then this year, the company hiked the price to $14.95 for the one-movie-a-day plan again, with restrictions, but that switch didn't seem to help the company's bottom line, either. Reported technical issues and a security problem that may have left customer data exposed also hit the company over the summer. All of this has led to lawsuits accusing the company of a "bait-and-switch" scheme, devalued stock, and a probe by New York's attorney general. It sounds like there may be a slim chance the service will be resurrected, though it's iffy. "We are unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue," the company statement notes. Helios and Matheson is said to be mulling a business reorg or a partial or full sale of MoviePass. The company says remaining subscribers will get back any funds they paid in advance. (Read more MoviePass stories.)

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