A Goodbye Letter to MoviePass

A Goodbye Letter to MoviePass

Dear MoviePass,

Ever since you’ve come into my life almost a year ago, you’ve been my closest friend. You’ve seen me through some hard times and brought me a lot of joy. You took me to Coco the weekend after my grandfather died (at the time I wasn’t aware that the whole movie is about that exact experience). You let me see every Academy Award Best Picture nominee before the ceremony, even the ones like Darkest Hour which I never would have spent my own money on. You’ve changed over the past year, but it never bothered me. But I think it’s gone too far and it’s time for me to move on.

I remember the day I first heard about you. “$10 a month and I can see a movie every day? It must be too good to be true,” I thought. But behold, I placed an order and a month or so later I got an envelope with a little red card inside with my name on it. Should I have been concerned by the fact that you showed up a month after I expected? Maybe, but you were from a small company that was still growing. Besides, now that you were here I was busy watching the cinema I had been putting off. In our first month together, we saw Blade Runner 2049, American Made, Happy Death Day, and Murder on the Orient Express and my pace only picked up from there.

Our weekly trips to my local megaplex became a tradition that exposed me to films I never would have even thought to see if I had to pay out of pocket. There were the fun surprises that continue to be overlooked, like the aforementioned Happy Death Day, the sci-fi teen romance Every Day, or Upgrade which will likely end up on my Best of the Year list. There were also films like Blockers, Padmaavat, and Sorry to Bother You, which I heard about from my friends who had red cards like mine.

 moviepass, lord of the rings, Ian mckellan,

I’m not going to act like everything I watched was great. I saw Insidious: The Last Key, SuperFly, and Hotel Artemis purely because I was hanging out with friends who wanted to see them and, hey, why not tag along? I’ll also never forget the time I misread the showtimes for The Shape of Water and ended up watching 12 Strong because I was already at the theater and why not? Slender Man, 15:17 to Paris, Action Point, the list of mistakes we made together goes on and on, but none of them are mistakes I regret. It’s never a bad time at the movie theater.

I remember the first time I started to worry about you. The weekend of Avengers: Infinity War, you decided that I could only use you to see a movie only once. You knew that I had already made plans to see that at least twice, and now I have to spend my hard-earned money to watch a movie? Thankfully I had a Fandango gift card (given to me by a parent who didn’t fully understand you). Then, a month later, you decided that if I wanted to see movies at busy times I would have to pay “surge prices”. That was avoidable, too. I’d just make sure I saw matinees. But those surge prices slowly spread to the other showtimes until one day you failed on me completely. Your company announced that they had run out of money. And when they came back they said I couldn’t watch the biggest releases. So, I was forced to pay for Mission: Impossible - Fallout out of pocket, the first time I had spent on a movie screening since IT ten months earlier.

Since then, I’ve left you behind for your theater-owned clones like AMC A-List, which your Twitter feed publicly mocked for offering fewer movies a week than you. But looking at what you’re doing to your subscribers now, that tweet seems ironic. Your new plan is to allow customers to see three movies a month, selected from a list of six films you deem acceptable. Looking at the options for today, only two of those them are playing in my town. This option might still be attractive to some out there somewhere, but not me. I need the freedom to see what I want, when I want and that’s not something you can offer me anymore.

So, with a heavy heart, I must say goodbye to MoviePass.

Thanks for the memories,

Mark Watlington

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