Everyone’s favorite “too good to be true” company MoviePass has hit yet another hurdle. Following a tumultuous (and near deadly) summer, the movie ticket service is now being investigated by New York’s Attorney General office, as per The Hollywood Reporter, who are exploring whether or not they misled investors about their financial well-being.
The investigation is in the early stages, and MoviePass parents Helios and Matheson Analytics said they were “fully cooperating,” even as they denied misleading investors.
On top of this, Helios and Matheson are also the targets of shareholder lawsuits, as many who joined them in business are nonplussed that their stock has plunged to mere pennies, twice.
This latest hairpin turn twist comes after a relatively lengthy smooth period in the rollercoaster story of MoviePass, save for a bit in early October where they were re-enrolling former subscribers. At its height, the service offered its millions of subscribers a crazy deal: For $9.99 a month, they could see any movie they wanted, one a day.
There had to be a catch, and the catch was this: It wasn’t sustainable, especially if too many people actually used it. And too many people did use it. (The inevitable future oral history of MoviePass will be amazing, especially the quotes from New Yorkers who helped destroy the company by seeing the city’s daily embarrassment of obscure repertory movies. We all suffer today because some of us used MoviePass to catch an ahead-of-its-time trans British horror oldie called Frankenstein Created Woman.)
Judgment Day arrived in mid-July, when — the weekend of the new Mission: Impossible’s debut — MoviePass suffered nationwide outages. That was later revealed to be due to the company’s inability to pay for millions of tickets on the dirt cheap.
MoviePass then had to rework their business model, then rework it again, and then again. As it stands now, a subscriber pays the same price, $9.99, to see only three movies a month. And the selections are extremely limited — usually to one or two blockbusters that are in their second week of release, plus some random high-end indies, all shifting daily. Theaters that do e-ticketing are fair game, and any tickets beyond the monthly three can be purchased at a discount. Coincidentally, subscribers to AMC Stubs has skyrocketed, because movie subscriptions are a great idea for the consumers of 2018.
For the time being you can still conceivably see the Ryan Gosling-Neil Armstrong docudrama First Man, which was available on Wednesday but may not be available on Thursday, and will definitely never be available during its IMAX screenings, which is what some say is the only way you should see First Man. But at least, for now, you have the option of maybe or maybe not seeing First Man using your MoviePass subscription, long as you didn’t cancel it out of annoyance.