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MoviePass re-enrolls customers, while Costco offers refunds

Some previous subscribers to monthly movie ticket service MoviePass are reportedly getting a rude awakening after receiving an email letting them know that they have been automatically opted back into the service as part of new plan changes, and then finding themselves unable to cancel again, according to Business Insider.

The company, which has lately been limiting subscribers to pick between just two different films at often-horrible showtimes, is expected to implement a new plan on Wednesday, August 15, that will allow subscribers to pay $10 per month to see up to three movies during that period — this time allowing them to see any film they want.

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But while those changes might be compelling to current subscribers, what wasn’t expected was that those who recently canceled the service would somehow automatically be opted into the new plan.

“If you had previously requested cancellation prior to opting-in, your opt-in to the new plan will take priority and your account will not be canceled,” reads a portion of an email sent to customers.

Numerous subscribers have tweeted their frustration at the company, many including screenshots that show an error screen when they attempt to re-cancel their MoviePass accounts. “Error: Failed to cancel account,” reads the message.

I finally canceled my @Moviepass subscription yesterday and today I got this email. Then I tried to quit AGAIN, and it wouldn’t let me. What kind of Twilight Zone shit is this pic.twitter.com/1lv1OG2we3

— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) August 13, 2018

It remains unclear whether this issue is simply an error or whether it’s a play by MoviePass to gain another months’ worth of subscription payments from unwitting past users.

One thing is for sure, the company could certainly use the money. Recent statements from CEO Mitch Lowe regarding various changes in policy indicate that they are for financial reasons.

“We had to right the ship as far as the amount of money we were burning,” he said with regard to recent plan changes.

Regardless of why past subscribers are being re-enrolled, there is certainly a healthy amount of outrage flowing across the internet regarding MoviePass lately — something that is unlikely to be building confidence among investors. Whether or not the company holds on long-term remains to be seen, but we expect that those who have been automatically re-enrolled will soon be able to cancel their subscriptions again.

There is also reportedly hope for those who purchased an annual plan through Costco, according to Extreamist. Writer Rob Toledo claims to have been offered a full refund from Costco for the annual subscription he purchased through the big-box outlet, saying that a Costco representative claimed his MoviePass subscription, “Fell withing their standard return policy.”

Those interested in another subscription-based movie ticket model may still want to check out AMC’s $20-per-month option.

Updated on August 14, 2018: Added information about the potential to cancel subscriptions purchased through Costco.

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MoviePass will officially shut down its movie subscription service
MoviePass

Discount movie ticket subscription service MoviePass will officially cease operations on September 14, finally laying to rest the service that has been slowly deteriorating over the past several years.
Today, Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns Moviepass, announced that its board of directors has decided to interrupt service for all subscribers while it determines what to do with the company.
In order to make that determination it has created a strategic review committee comprised of the company’s independent directors to “identify, review, and explore all strategic and financial alternatives for the Company, including a sale of the Company in its entirety, a sale of substantially all of the Company’s assets including MoviePass, Moviefone, and MoviePass Films, a business reorganization or one or more other extraordinary corporate transactions, together with the assumption or settlement of the Company’s liabilities in connection with any of these alternatives.”
MoviePass initially began operations in 2011 in San Francisco and has had a tumultuous life from its inception.
In 2011 the service allowed customers to see one movie per day for a set fee. When theaters started to refuse MoviePass customers, it pivoted to instead have users print a voucher at home for entrance to the movie. In 2012, it launched a national beta of the service, providing a debit card for customers to use to buy tickets, but that too was met with resistance from movie theaters.
The service has changed hands and shifted sales strategies a number of times over the years. In July of this year, it once again suspended service for subscribers, a move that it made in the middle of the July 4 holiday weekend. Last month, TechCrunch also reported that tens of thousands of MoviePass customer’s credit card numbers were exposed in a leak.
MoviePass may be dead, but that doesn't mean movie subscription services are gone. Regal Cinemas launched its own version of MoviePass in July, which it called Regal Unlimited. The plan offers different pricing tiers ranging from $18 to $24 for a monthly subscription to movies shown at Regal theaters.

We've reached out to MoviePass for a comment on the company's announcement and will update this story if and when we receive a response.

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Subscription services for movie tickets are all the rage, although not all services are created equal. On one hand, you have MoviePass, which made this kind of service popular, but dropped from 3 million customers to a paltry 225,000 due to shifting plans, unexpected price hikes, and other minor scandals. On the other, theater-specific upstart AMC Stubs A-List continues to grow, with more than 860,000 subscribers and counting.

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