MoviePass, a thing that no one could have foreseen would turn out badly, is now being investigated by New York attorney general Barbara Underwood, according to sources speaking to CNBC. The struggling brand with a business model that defied basic arithmetic (let people pay ten dollars a month to see unlimited movies in theaters) belongs to parent company Helios and Matheson, the real target of the legal probe, which lost $100 million in the second quarter of the year.
The investigation is focused on whether the company misled investors about its financial situation. However, MoviePass has been no prize for its enthusiastic customer base either.
After a brief honeymoon period where the service worked exactly as advertised, it began to try all manner of shenanigans, from increasing prices; to restricting theaters and showings where the service could be used; to flirting with selling customers’ data, location included, as a moneymaking vector; to just straight-up pretending as if entire exchanges where customers requested that their service be canceled never happened, and continuing to charge their credit cards anyway.
Personally I’m very torn between seeing MoviePass, which very obviously could not be trusted from the jump, go down, and seeing investors who surveyed the business plan of “let people pay virtually nothing for as much of something as they want” and said “yep, that checks out” be hung out to dry, but I guess either way this will be entertaining. Almost as entertaining as a basically free movie.