As technology becomes more and more advanced, bastions of moviegoing’s past are finding themselves dying slow deaths. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the change in video rental services, with Blockbuster going under (minus one store) and VOD/streaming taking over home entertainment. Now, it appears that Moviefone is perhaps next in line on the march towards inevitability.
According to Variety, Moviefone, which began in 1989 as a way for film fans to call up a 1-800 phone number and receive movie listings for their local theaters, is now a victim of the recent Helios & Matheson bankruptcy (which also finally sank MoviePass). The report claims that Moviefone has an estimated net worth of $4,379,504 and has let go of its entire staff, minus one person, the general manager. And it’s that last person that will stick around to keep the lights on while the Intellectual Property goes up for sale.
For many fans, the idea that Moviefone even exists still is likely a pretty big shock. After the turn of the century, the internet made the 1-800 number technology obsolete, with ticket sellers using websites to push their wares. Yet, MovieFone persisted, trying to compete with the Fandangos of the world. The Moviefone peak was probably 1999 when the company was purchased by AOL (remember them?) in a stock deal worth $388 million. Now, the company is barely worth 1% of that total.
As for the future of the company, that is still uncertain. Clearly, Moviefone, as a brand, is on the way out. And what’s likely going to happen is that the company will be lost and generations to come will never know the joy of what Moviefone offered a certain generation of film fans.
For those hoping to remember the glory days, here’s a video the company shared a while ago showing just how iconic the “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” slogan was: