A Weirdly Emotional Farewell to MoviePass from Its Most Dedicated Users
"MoviePass has made me the number-one customer at my local Regal, and put me on a first-name basis with the staff, who I consider my second family."
Left: Photo of a phone screen by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty. Right: Stock photo of a funeral via Getty.
Friends, enemies, loved ones, and burn-outs: Today, we gather together in this ephemeral online existence we call the internet to commemorate the short life of our beloved MoviePass.
Despite the actual company known as “MoviePass” technically continuing to exist—an existence that will continue for some time either on VC-funded life support or in a May-like stitched-together monstrosity—the world’s best deal, and most clearly fucked business model, is over. (The stock has dropped to two cents a share, and its head of product just bailed.) The era when we could waltz into any movie theater once a day and watch whatever we felt like, essentially for free, is has come to a close.
What remains is a faint shadow of its former glory, which we remember and praise with eulogies from MoviePass super-users around the country:
Noah Kilpatrick from Upstate New York
Since joining in July of 2015, I have seen hundreds of films in theaters from a wide range of genres, from intellectual brain teasers like mother! and Annihilation to indie gems like Captain Fantastic and Phantom Thread. In addition to developing an eclectic taste in film, MoviePass has made me the number-one customer at my local Regal, and put me on a first-name basis with the staff, who I consider my second family.
And thanks to MoviePass, I am now even studying for a career in the exhibition industry! With MoviePass, whenever I go on vacation, I scope out the local mom and pop theater and and see how the experience differs from my normal one. It has fostered some ideas of how I would open my own theater, spurring my current college degree in business. Without MoviePass, I would have never taken the risk of going to arthouse theaters on a whim, and just stuck to my multiplex. I would have never even had the thought of trying to open my own cinema, let alone actively pursuing it.
Margo Snyder from San Francisco:
Watching your friends pay full price while you don’t? Getting a new credit card in the mail? The roller coaster of emotions as theaters were gradually added and then abruptly quit participation? The financial freedom to go to a movie “for free” anytime you wanted? Awkward mishaps like picking up tickets at independent theaters like the Roxie or New Parkway? These are all my best memories.
If I were to sum up the experience in a few words, it would be “cheap movies sometimes.” Or maybe “too good to be true.”
Roz from El Paso:
I saw movies that I would have waited for rental at Redbox for. I went to some twice, once by myself, then paid to take my nephews. I ate a lot of popcorn too, ha-ha.
To be honest, I have anxiety and I avoid crowds, so it's been good for me. I had an experience once in Phoenix with a guy fighting with a cop right by me, and didn't go back for many years. That, and a fear of theater shootings, like in Aurora. I've been shot at, too. Not in a theater, but in a home, and a parking lot. And I've worked in prison, and seen a stabbing on street, so I just generally like people a few at a time. Where I can see them. With MoviePass, at first I went to either matinees or late shows, but after some desensitization, now I'm more likely to go at peak times. Like, I sat in a full theater for Avengers and Jurassic Kingdom, and before that would have been a big nope.
Casey Donahue from Los Angeles:
At first it was so incredible, I would see anything, even if I had little interest in a movie I would go. There were stretches where I would go see a movie after work instead of sitting in traffic, and it was really wonderful.
Before MoviePass only let you see a movie once, I went to see Blade Runner 2049 three different times. The photography is just so beautiful in it that I wanted to see it on a big screen as much as I could before it was out of theaters. I really got to appreciate the beautiful production design, and Roger Deakins’s photography. Every frame in that movie is so gorgeous. Even after I bought it on Blu-ray, I saw it was still playing at the AMC. I was the only person in the theater. The very next day they switched the lineup, and it was gone. I like to believe I was the very last person to see Blade Runner 2049 theatrically, and I can thank MoviePass for that.
Mark Ahrens from Garden Grove:
My favorite MoviePass memory? That’s hard to pin down. Probably going to see I, Tonya. It was the first film I had used my MoviePass for that I definitely wouldn’t have paid to see in theaters. And it was laugh out loud hysterical and a very well-done film. Plus, it is the only movie I've seen in my whole life where I was the only person in the theater for the entire film.
Holly Deering from Minneapolis:
There were times when I rode along for emotional support for a friend who was visiting a sick relative. It was a long drive and he didn’t like to go alone, so I’d ride with him. I didn’t know his relative, so while he visited, he’d drop me at a movie for two hours, and then I’d ride home with him. It was a nice way to kill the time. He didn’t feel guilty or worry I was bored.
Today was my first day as a non-MoviePass member for nearly a year. It feels a little sad, but they didn’t have any real options to see anything anymore. I mean, sure, you could see Happytime Murders or The Nun, but any movies I wanted to see were blocked out, or only available during the day, while I’m at work. And my boss frowns on me leaving for a couple hours midday to see movies.
Michael Johnson from Orlando:
[My favorite memory was] getting my daughter into Star Wars. She had seen The Force Awakens and was sort of interested, but got totally hooked on The Last Jedi. She saw it ten times using MoviePass. It was neat to see her really appreciate the entirety of Star Wars. I had grown up watching the original movies, and she wound up going from barely interested to watching every movie.
My other daughter watched The Greatest Showman about ten times as well. That was much less exciting for me.
Sabrina Cognata from Los Angeles:
Here is why I liked MoviePass: I could chance a movie being shitty and didn't feel obligated to finish it because I paid 20 fucking dollars. MoviePass allowed me to be an excruciating critic with zero regrets to be like FUCK. THIS. Paying ten bucks a month was like subscribing to a stupid dating app knowing a bunch of morons would buy me at least one drink. It's a numbers game.
I actually left Call Me By Your Name because it was stressing the fuck out of me. Like, don't have as many shitty love affairs as I have. I knew I would have to sob by the end of the film, so I just went home. I don’t know if I want to admit that shit to all of fucking VICE, but it's the truth. If I had paid $20, I would have forced myself to finish it, and it would have been a real scene. I eventually watched it in the privacy of my own home and then threw out a bunch of married boyfriend memorabilia after.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Rick Paulas on Twitter.