After 25 years of providing theater showtimes and tix over the phone, Moviefone will soon no longer be taking calls.
“Hello, and welcome to Moviefone! The 777-FILM numbers will no longer be in service in the near future,” says the current recording at the numbers. Callers are directed to download the Moviefone app for the iPhone or iPad.
Moviefone was founded in 1989 as a dial-up service for checking movie times. The service’s smarmy-sounding announcer was famously parodied in an episode of “Seinfeld”: Kramer impersonates Moviefone after he starts receiving misdirected calls to his apartment (and after failing to determine one caller’s touch-tone selection he blurts out, “Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you’ve selected?” — foreshadowing its subsequent voice-recognition features).
AOL acquired Moviefone in 1999 for $388 million in stock. The move to discontinue 777-FILM comes after AOL struck a deal with BermanBraun last fall, under which Moviefone is to be overhauled as a broader destination for entertainment news and content with a new design.
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The 777-FILM lines will be shut off sometime this spring, according to a source familiar with the situation. An AOL rep, reached for comment, declined to confirm when the phone lines will be officially terminated. A rep for BermanBraun declined to comment.
For now, the numbers are still active. Moviefone has operated the toll-free (800) 777-FILM nationwide, as well as numbers in 67 local area codes across the U.S.
In 2012, AOL struck a deal with Comcast-owned Fandango, making Fandango the exclusive movie-ticketing partner for Moviefone. Previously Moviefone had sold tix through MovieTickets.com.