MoviePass Halts Service Over July 4 Weekend


"There’s never a good time to have to do this," stated CEO Mitch Lowe.

Are the end credits near for MoviePass? The company says it's taking a temporary break. 

The once high-flying but now embattled theater subscription platform has halted its service just as the July 4 holiday box office weekend gets into swing.

MoviePass said its service was halted at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday and may take "several weeks" for it to resume service while it undergoes unspecified "improvements" to its mobile app. 

In March, the company had brought back its $9.95 a month plan as a promotional offering, but with many restrictions.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that same month, the company noted an "overstatement of subscription revenue" in the third quarter of 2018. It did not disclose the number of subscribers it had.

The company stated that the halting of its service was temporary, but moviegoers won't be able to subscribe during the platform's time on hiatus. 

"There’s never a good time to have to do this," MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a statement. "But to complete the improved version of our app, one that we believe will provide a much better experience for our subscribers, it has to be done."

The fortunes for MoviePass have declined as the company suffered a cash crunch and pivoted to multiple business strategies in the course of a single year. The service once made headlines for a model that seemed to promise, essentially, 30 movie tickets for the price of one. But it wasn't able to sustain that pricing plan. 

MoviePass' subscription app rival, Sinemia, shut down its U.S. service in late April, saying that its effort to "raise the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient."

However, the movie theater subscription service model has taken off even as MoviePass has faded. The companies that have been seeming to make it work have been the theater chains themselves. 

AMC Theatres' own subscription service, AMC Stubs A-List, now counts more than 860,000 subscribers as of the end of June. Theater giant Cinemark's Movie Club passed the 500,000-subscriber mark earlier this year.

And the smaller Alamo Drafthouse chain has unveiled plans to get into the subscription game, planning to charge $20 a month for a service to launch by the end of the year.