The well-documented woes of MoviePass users were supposed to end this week. On Wednesday, the new plan intended to introduce “long-term stability” into the movie ticket subscription service was supposed to go into effect. No longer would users have to deal with random showtime outages or “peak pricing.”
The trade-off was that instead of $9.95 per month getting subscribers up to one ticket per day, that same price would now get you three movies per month. Still, any way you slice it, that was a bargain — and it got rid of a lot of unpopular restrictions too. Finally, the long season of customer frustration would be over!
But this is MoviePass, which means the season of frustration seemingly never ends.
This week has been all over the place for the beleaguered company and its customers, with literally every day bringing a new source of strife. Here’s what happened:
- On Monday, shareholders filed a class action lawsuit in New York federal district court against MoviePass parent company, the data analytics firm Helios and Matheson, as well as its CEO and CFO. The lawsuit was filed “on behalf of hundreds, or potentially thousands, of investors who suffered losses because they were misled about the company’s business and its prospects,” according to Deadline.
- On Tuesday, the day before the new plan was to go into effect, scores of irritated former customers found notices in their inboxes that said that, actually, their canceled MoviePass accounts were going to be un-canceled.
- On Wednesday morning, Helios and Matheson posted a quarterly earnings report that revealed the company’s loss had grown from $3 million a year ago to $126.6 million by June 30. The report also showed that the company was spending about $73 million per month, and would run out of money in about two months.
- And on Thursday, subscribers received an email from MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe that announced that, contrary to what subscribers had expected, they wouldn’t be able to choose their three movies per month from any movie they wanted after all. Instead, the email said, the company would be “limiting the films and showtimes that are available to members each day,” with “up to six films” available daily, a “selection of major studio first-run films and independent releases” that would be posted at least a week ahead of time. Showtime availability also may be limited, the email said. Only e-ticketing (available at some theaters which have a business relationship with MoviePass) would still be available for all movies at all times.
That last restriction is yet another shift from a company that has changed the terms of customers’ subscriptions with a dizzying frequency in the past month. Lowe’s email says the change is only “for the time being” and “during this transition period,” but there is currently no end date set.
Whether that’s enough to keep users who have been hanging on from jumping ship isn’t clear right now — but neither, given Wednesday’s earnings report, is MoviePass’s future.