MoviePass has a problem with math. No, not its previous problem with math (i.e., the “pay $10 a month to watch a movie a day” business model is not sustainable), but a much more dire one. A report at Business Insider found that the company has hemorrhaged subscribers in the last year. In June 2018, there were more than 3 million MoviePass users. Recently obtained internal data revealed that the current MoviePass subscriber base is just 225,000 poor saps who probably all watched Gotti.
MoviePass attempted to win back subscribers in January by reintroducing a new version of its unlimited movie plan (with a major caveat). Business Insider found that this move only attracted 13,000 new subscribers. A representative from Helios and Matheson (MoviePass’ parent company) contacted Business Insider to note that their numbers were incorrect but provided no concrete refutation.
You can blame the extreme drop in subscribers on the company’s unreliable service since the summer. While doing The 300 last year, I encountered sudden blackouts in MoviePass service, issues with manual ticket verification, films getting blocked last minute, and eventually extreme limitations on the number of movies supported each month. Once a boon to moviegoers who couldn’t afford going to the theater regularly, MoviePass became an inconvenience; a disruptor turned albatross, or perhaps now an albatross turned dead parrot.
While 225,000 people is a far cry from the subscriber base in the summer last year, I feel like the number could be a little lower than that. Canceling MoviePass is more difficult than it should be, and there have been numerous complaints about this online. You can’t just cancel on the app or the website by clicking a button. Some people who think they’ve canceled MoviePass might still be a member without realizing it. The only way you’d know is when you check your bank and credit card statements.
I mention this because I had to cancel MoviePass twice to avoid them from charging me again.
I canceled MoviePass in December 2018. I had a nice long run (roughly half of the 317 movies I saw in theaters last were were thanks to MoviePass), but there was no way I could justify using the service since it supported so few films. I used the in-app support chat to cancel because I wasn’t able to nuke my account otherwise. It took a while, but I received a cancelation confirmation email on December 30th.
I thought that was it.
As I looked through my bank statement in February this year, I notice that I was charged by MoviePass for January even though I had canceled service the month before.
I sent the MoviePass Twitter account a direct message about this, but received no reply after an hour. I then re-download the MoviePass app and used their in-app support chat to cancel my account and have a refund issued. After canceling my account in-app again, the MoviePass Twitter account finally got back to me. I basically received double confirmation that my account was indeed canceled and I would be getting a refund shortly.
Oddly, I never received a confirmation email the second time I canceled MoviePass.
What I’m saying is this: if you canceled MoviePass in the last few months, look over your bank or credit card statements for the months following your cancelation. You might still be getting charged, and you could be one of those 225,000 jabronis who didn’t get while the getting was good.