By Mike Murphy
MoviePass Inc. is taking time off on one of the busiest box-office weekends of the year.
The subscription-movie service, which is owned by Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208158842/composite HMNY -3.03% , announced Wednesday evening that its service would be temporarily interrupted starting at 5 a.m. Eastern on July 4 in order to work on an “improved version” of its mobile app.
The company did not say how long it expects its app to be shut down, but a statement announcing the interruption suggested multiple days.
Fourth of July weekend is traditionally one of the more bankable periods for movie-ticket sales. This year’s offerings include the release of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” from Walt Disney Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS +1.64% Marvel Studios and the wide release of the critically acclaimed horror movie “Midsommer,” from Sony /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE -0.35% and A24.
MoviePass said customers would not be charged for the time the app is down, and “subscribers will be automatically credited for the number of affected days once the service continues.” No new users will be able to subscribe as long as it’s down.
“There’s never a good time to have to do this,” MoviePass Chief executive Mitch Lowe said in a statement. “But to complete the improved version of our app, one that we believe will provide a much better experience for our subscribers, it has to be done.”
The company said it will also use the time to recapitalize for once for service continues. In March, Helios & Matheson raised $6 million in financing to support MoviePass, including improving its technology.
Lowe said the outage comes in response to customer complaints, including limited movie options, surge pricing and service outages.
“We have listened and we understand the frustrations of our subscribers, “ he said in a statement. “To provide the level of service you deserve and we can be proud of, we need to improve our mobile app. We plan to make this improvement by utilizing an enhanced technology platform, which is in the final stages of completion.”
The once high-flying company has seen nearly all of its value vanish over the past year, with Helios & Matheson stock currently trading at a fraction of a cent. Shares are down 100% over the past year, compared to the S&P 500’s /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.36% 10% gain.