Remember MoviePass? That movie ticket subscription service that seemed too good to be true because it absolutely was? Well, enter the last nail in its coffin: Both MoviePass and its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, per THR, sealing the service’s fate and rendering the MoviePass dream officially, finally, irrevocably dead.
Per the companies’ SEC filing, dated Jan. 28, the starry-eyed dreamers behind MoviePass “consider[ed] strategic alternatives” before arriving at their decision to declare bankruptcy, liquidate the company and dissolve its Board of Directors. “As a result of filing the Petition, a Chapter 7 trustee will be appointed by the bankruptcy court to administer the estate of the company and to perform the duties set forth in Section 704 of the Code,” the filing reads.
The beginning of the end was also when MoviePass first burst onto the scene in a big way, offering unlimited movie viewings for the insane rate of just $9.95 a month back in late 2017. It wasn’t long before that much-buzzed-about price point proved unsustainable, forcing MoviePass to raise its rates and introduce screening restrictions. In the summer of 2018, they reduced screenings to just three per month, which would appear to have been the final straw: MoviePass reportedly lost 90% of its users in the year to follow, spelling the end for the flash-in-the-pan service. MoviePass shut down their app on Sept. 14, 2019, making their declaration of bankruptcy all but a formality. Worse still, the company may actually owe money to thousands of subscribers, to the tune of $1.2 million.
If there’s one thing that will define MoviePass’ legacy, other than its comical degree of mismanagement and hubris (“I’m not worried at all. You’re going to see,” Helios & Matheson head Ted Farnsworth said back in May 2018), it’s the disruptive effect the service had on the movie ticket subscription service industry. Theater chains including AMC, Regal and Cinemark have since introduced similar subscription plans, and though they may not be able to compete with unlimited movies for just 10 bucks a month, they at least appear to make some iota of business sense.
Pour one out for MoviePass, too good and pure for this world.