When MoviePass first came out, users questioned if they would ever want to quit. The $10 per month cost in exchange for all the movies you wanted to attend seemed an unsustainable bargain — and it was.
MoviePass promised theaters the full ticket price for each movie ticket, so theaters were more than happy to accept. MoviePass users saved money, and got to see a ton of films. This golden exchange couldn’t be kept up indefinitely — and the bubble burst after a few months. MoviePass couldn’t sustain itself financially, the app stopped working entirely, and users everywhere were complaining about the poor service. It was also hard to cancel.
Gizmodo reports that now it might be even harder to get out of the subscription. After the initial dust settled, MoviePass decided on its new long-term plan — 3 movies a month for $10, with a number of restrictions and regulations attached. Many customers canceled, and went on their way. The business is now facing a shareholder lawsuit, and has posted massive quarterly losses.
Given these dire circumstances, the company is apparently resorting to unethical tactics in a desperate attempt to salvage what remains. Former subscribers received an email this weekend stating that they were part of a select test group. As a member of this group, they would receive the honor of having their MoviePass subscription reactivated. The users would be placed back on the MoviePass subscription plan of unlimited movies, one per day, at $9.95 a month — unless they clicked on a specific opt-out link.
The email seems too good to be true, and it is. It’s offering what sounds like the old MoviePass plan — one movie of the user’s choice per day. But now the service has changed, and cycles movie availability based on an unknown algorithm. For example, users who want to see Hell Fest using MoviePass must go Monday, October 1. There don’t seem to be any dates listed in the app beyond that, even though a horror movie is surely playing many dates throughout the month of Halloween.
Users took to Twitter and Reddit to voice their discontent, saying that the email — and its double-edged promises — felt like fraud, especially to those who had explicitly opted out and unlinked their form of payment. Those users still received the email, and it is as yet unclear whether their old methods of payment will be charged should they fail to manually opt-out a second time.
MoviePass claims that this reactivation is allowable under their terms of service, which they say gives them the right to alter the level of service at any time. But it seems more likely that this latest — and perhaps last — attempt at a revival will instead result in a total decimation of any remaining goodwill for MoviePass from an increasingly skeptical and agitated consumer base.