moviepass dying

MoviePass had a near-death experience when they ran out of money last week. But after getting a quick $5 million loan to stay up and running, things somehow seem to have gotten far worse. Are we watching the death of the company play out before us in real time? Find out about the company’s latest problems below, including the fact that major upcoming releases won’t be appearing on its app.

Before we go any further, I want to give MoviePass credit for changing the game and providing an affordable way for people to start going to the movies again. Their contributions toward the greater good (read: allowing more people to go to the movies) should not be ignored. But at the same time, it seems as if the company is being run by a donkey in a three-piece suit, wandering through an office building and breaking more things every day. Here’s the latest batch of issues that have led us to wonder if we’re watching MoviePass dying before our very eyes.

The Fallout is Real

Some MoviePass subscribers are having trouble finding the newest Mission: Impossible movie listed at major theaters in their area.

MoviePass’s excuse is laughable. If you have time, give the whole thing a read – it actually goes as far as to ask its customers to do work on their behalf:

“Can’t find the movie you want to see on the app? Go to Twitter and let the studio behind it know. Want more e-ticketing theater options in your area, so that the movies you want to see peak less? Let your theater know you want them to partner with MoviePass.”

When did it become the customers’ job to try to convince studios and theaters to partner with MoviePass? Isn’t that, you know, something the company should be doing for themselves? (Yes. I’m going to answer my own question. Yes, it is.)

One of MoviePass’s most recent tweets apologizes to users for problems with the app’s check-in system:

On the app, the only screenings that are currently showing up are at MoviePass’s e-ticketing partners. We reached out to MoviePass to ask why their card-based check-in system isn’t functioning, considering that their recent SEC filing stated, “If the Company is unable to make required payments to its merchant and fulfillment processors, the merchant and fulfillment processors may cease processing payments for MoviePass, Inc. (“MoviePass”), which would cause a MoviePass service interruption.” Since there’s clearly a service interruption happening here, does this mean they’ve already run out of the $5 million they borrowed at the end of last week? The company has not responded to our request for comment.

The Meg Reviews

More Major Films Won’t Appear on the App

According to BusinessInsider, CEO Mitch Lowe told employees at an all-hands meeting today that “the app would not make upcoming releases Christopher Robin and The Meg — the next two major releases hitting theaters in the next two weeks — available to its subscribers, and he implied the practice of not offering tickets to major movies would continue for the foreseeable future.”

On the company’s official site, Lowe wrote a letter to customers which included the following message: “As we continue to evolve the service, certain movies may not always be available in every theater on our platform.” That’s not exactly the vote of confidence you want to hear if you’re a subscriber.

Twitter user @StitchKingdom points out that MoviePass’s current e-ticket partners are far fewer than the wider number they were initially serving:

I called the National Association of Theater Owners myself and confirmed that there are 5,803 theaters in the United States, but I couldn’t get confirmation about the number of e-ticket capable theaters or how many are supported by MoviePass.

And as FilmSchoolRejects points out, attendance was down for Fallout over the weekend; while the film performed well financially, the number of people who saw it during opening weekend is actually among the smallest turnouts of the entire franchise. While we can’t say for certain, it seems as if MoviePass’s ongoing issues may have contributed to that.

Another Stock Drop

This morning, veteran entertainment industry journalist David Poland tweeted that MoviePass’ stock has taken another precipitous drop:

Deadline had more specifics, explaining that the stock of Helios & Matheson Analytics, MoviePass’s parent company, dropped a staggering 60% today, closing at 80 cents per share. “In just five trading sessions,” Deadline says, “it has lost more than 95% of its value.” Ouch.

This has left some people wondering if Helios & Matheson is going to be delisted from the Nasdaq, but that appears to be unlikely – at least in the short term:

Meanwhile, MoviePass is blaming their problems on “technical issues” and they’ve refused to reimburse at least one customer due to their own outages:

All of this adds up to even more headaches for the movie ticket subscription service. My guess about how all of this plays out is that MoviePass won’t simply disappear, but instead will revamp its services dramatically and lose a huge percentage of its subscriber base in the process. They’ve been harvesting data from its three million subscribers, and as far as I can tell, they haven’t sold that information off to anyone yet; that’s where the real money is for them. As always, we’ll keep you apprised of any major updates as the company staggers forward.

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