MoviePass users hoping to see Mission: Impossible – Fallout or other movies ran into an unpleasant surprise at movie theaters on Thursday night: MoviePass temporarily suspended its service because it ran out of money. While MoviePass has now been restored, the shutdown could be a further indication of the service’s long term prospects. Via SlashFilm, MoviePass initially played off the outage as a technical issue that needed to be resolved. However, a filing with the SEC revealed that MoviePass parent companies Helios and Matheson Analytics had to take on an additional $5 million loan to restart the service. But what will happen when that money runs out?
MoviePass made waves last year when it unveiled its Netflix-like subscription plan that allowed users to see up to a film a day for under ten dollars a month. That proved to be wildly popular with moviegoers, and less so with major theater chains. Although MoviePass reimburses theaters with the full price of the ticket, the argument has been made that the service is built on an unsustainable business model. The fact that MoviePass is running out of cash would seem to reinforce that conclusion.
However, MoviePass has already led to a potential shift in the way fans experience films. AMC recently unveiled its own subscription service which appears to be a direct response to MoviePass. AMC’s deal may not be quite as enticing as MoviePass’ initial offer, but it could stay around longer. It’s anyone’s guess how or if MoviePass will be able to continue operating if its resources dry up.
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Images: Paramount Pictures/Helios and Matheson Analytics