Elon Musk May Think He Can Terraform Mars, but Even He Can't Save MoviePass

Could this be the end of cheap movies?

Bang Shift

Elon Musk has a reputation for never shying down in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge. And sometimes he even pulls them off, for example his increasingly cost-effective rocket launches or his ability to produce ever more impressive electric cars.

But on Monday, Musk was finally presented with a challenge on Twitter that was so far-fetched — so out there — that even the billionaire inventor had to admit he was outgunned: Saving MoviePass.

As you might have heard, the all-you-can-watch movie subscription service tapped into the last of its funds over the weekend and was forced to halt operations for the night of July 26. It has also weathered a number of technical difficulties during recent months that have kept moviegoers from claiming their tickets.

Now, the future of the beloved platform hangs in the balance as its parent company — Helios and Matheson Analytics — raises its subscription fee from $9.95 to $14.95 per month, installs surge pricing, and takes other steps to try to keep the company afloat.

Fans of the service — faced with the depressing prospect of once again paying full price for tier-1 movie releases — had grown desperate enough by Tuesday to resort to asking Musk if he could, I don’t know, build a submarine for MoviePass too. But alas, the tech mogul turned down the challenge with a simple “No.”

Musk is worth an estimated $20.1 billion. So it’s likely he could have spared a few and tossed MoviePass a few bills, sure. But the implication here is that even Musk’s amazing mind and billionaire fortune are no match for MoviePass’s woes, which range from tech glitches to a broken business model.

Of course, it was probably only a matter of time before MoviePass’s wealthy backers started to run out of money. Buying something, and then giving it to other customers for cheaper than you paid for it is a tough nut to crack, at least as far as creating a sustainable business is involved.

Still, it was fun while it lasted. So goodnight, sweet prince — thanks for the cheap flicks. We’ll mourn the loss, unless some other billionaire savior decides they’re ready to step out of the wings.

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