MoviePass CEO Allegedly Changed Subscribers' Passwords Before Avengers Opened To Block 'Power Users'

Robert De Niro Taxi Driver covers eyes in movie theater

Multiple former MoviePass employees have accused CEO Mitch Lowe of ordering some subscriber passwords changed without their knowledge ahead of Avengers: Infinity War to block those "power users" from accessing the service.

It's just the latest surprise -- or is it even? -- allegation in the long saga of MoviePass. I'll say this: The eventual movie about this company may make enough money to pay its bills for a while. It should be fascinating. Hollywood should start dream-casting Mitch Lowe now.

Business Insider spent four months investigating the rise and fall of MoviePass. The company is still active, its subscription-based movie ticket services were just put on "a temporary hold" to deal with "maintenance related issues" starting in early July 2019. The site is still replying to frustrated subscribers on social media, and these latest reports can't be making things easier.

The new report includes details about the company's fear of high-volume MoviePass customers -- the ones who helped grow the company to 1 million subscribers faster than Netflix and Hulu got to the same milestone. But the company struggled with the reality of "power users" taking advantage of the low-cost monthly service to watch movies every single day. That's a recipe for losing a lot of money. Here's a quote from a "former employee" on CEO Mitch Lowe:

Before Mitch came on it was, 'How do we slow down those users?' With Mitch it was just, 'F--- those guys.'

Several unnamed former employees told Business Insider that Mitch Lowe ordered MoviePass to start limiting subscriber access ahead of the release of Avengers: Infinity War in late April 2018. The employees said Lowe even ordered that a small percentage of power users' passwords be changed to prevent them from logging into the app and ordering tickets.

A spokesperson for MoviePass said the company released a new version of the app shortly before the release of Avengers: Infinity War. The app was meant to reduce the number of people who were sharing their membership cards with multiple people, and also reduce the number of people buying and scalping tickets for high demand movies like Infinity War. (MoviePass also emphasized that repeat viewings of the same movie were prohibited.)

A Reddit thread that was started April 27, 2018 -- the day Avengers: Infinity War opened in the U.S. -- shows many users complaining they had trouble logging into their MoviePass accounts after the app update.

is anyone else having trouble logging in after update? i always have money in the account to pay for it. after i updated it its trying to make me log back in and when i try it says 'failed to retrieve subscription'I am having the same issue, and I reset my password and everything.Same here, 'failed to retrieve subscription status.' Happened right as my wife and I were standing at the ticket counter to get in. Hers worked, mine didn’t. Turns out the movie was sold out anyway, so we just went home. SMHThis happens just about every major release. Buy your tickets earlier in the day for future huge releases.

There are multiple comments in that thread, and more complaints followed when Mission: Impossible - Fallout was blacked out by MoviePass later that summer. The company even shut down briefly until it could borrow $5 million to stay alive.

MoviePass continues to try and adjust course and change its services, policies, and prices to try and keep the service afloat. If you head to now, you get this message and a box to fill in your email address, if you care to:

Big Changes are coming.For the past several months, MoviePass has been working hard to improve our groundbreaking subscription service to ensure it meets the vision that we have for it. We are temporarily not accepting new subscribers as we work on these improvements.Please enter your email below and you will be notified when we are accepting new subscribers to our improved service.

Mitch Lowe -- who previously admitted the company has made "a ton of mistakes" -- has yet to release a statement on Business Insider's report, including the allegations that he ordered some subscribers' passwords be changed without their knowledge.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.