MoviePass kills off its annual plan -- even if you already paid for it

This is getting sad. And a little shady.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
3 min read

The MoviePass unlimited plan that captured our hearts is now dead as a doornail, and the deal keeps getting worse all the time.

The latest move that might make your inner Lando decide to abandon Cloud City: Even if you paid for an annual subscription and got to keep your grandfathered unlimited plan, MoviePass is now forcing you onto its monthly three-movie-a-month plan -- effective immediately.

Though MoviePass previously said that it would honor the terms of its annual subscription plan until your next billing cycle, the company is emailing customers today to let them know that those "terms" actually allow them to change the deal early. Here's the important bit:

As of today, aligned with Section 2.4 of our Terms of Use, your annual subscription plan will now allow you to see 3 movies a month instead of the previous unlimited offering, and you'll receive up to a $5.00 discount on any additional movie tickets purchased. This is the current standard plan now in effect for all current and new subscribers. Unless you choose to cancel your subscription prematurely, your plan will continue within these guidelines through the end of your annnual contract.

To add insult to injury, MoviePass says you'll only have until Aug. 31 -- a week from today -- if you want to get some of your money back in the form of a prorated refund, which you can only get by canceling your plan. And just to make things more ridiculous, MoviePass is preying on your FOMO by saying that if you do take the refund, you won't be able to sign up for MoviePass again for nine months.

Otherwise, MoviePass says it'll put your annual subscription fee towards the monthly plan, so you won't need to pay until it expires. 

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A CNET reader noted the changes.

CNET reader

A CNET reader sent us before and after pictures of the billing page in their own MoviePass app, which seems to confirm that MoviePass has already started converting annual subscriptions to monthly.

MoviePass characterized the move to CNET as an "option" for its "loyal annual subscribers," though the only other option is to cancel. 

The company also provided the following statement: 

This new offering is part of the transition to our new subscription model.  We're excited to offer subscribers the option of going to three movies a month for $9.95 and providing up to a $5.00 discount for additional movie tickets. We are grateful to our MoviePass community and have offered a number of our annual subscribers the option for a refund if the new plan doesn't align with their viewing preferences. With this transition, we intend to offer more film options so subscribers can continue exploring a wide variety of movies.  We believe that our new plan is a positive change in the right direction and that it captures the needs and desires of most of our MoviePass community in our journey for an accessible and quality movie experience.  

Here, in a nutshell, is why MoviePass is having all these issues. And here are the other 11 times that MoviePass altered the deal.

Watch this: MoviePass manages to get more expensive and less useful

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