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Moviefone's iconic phone service is shutting down after 25 years

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Siri movie ticket sales
Siri movie ticket sales

If you call 777-FILM right now to try and order movie tickets, the greeting will be a warm bath of nostalgia for anyone who saw Titanic or Dumb and Dumber in theaters: "Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!"

Hang up immediately. What comes next is a different, sadder voice, asking you to hang up the phone and download the Moviefone app instead. That's because after 25 years, Moviefone is shutting down its phone lines in the next month. The service that once gave movie times to more than 3 million callers a week, and served 13,000 theaters in 31 cities, is no longer.

Andrew Jarecki, one of Moviefone's founder, told the New York Times that the phone number's demise is primarily due to mismanagement from AOL, which bought Moviefone for $388 million in 1999. (There's also apparently a "major reimagining" of Moviefone in the works.) The service still gets thousands of phone calls, but it pales in both volume and utility compared to Fandango and other online ticketing retailers. Turns out calling a phone number, pressing 2 to use the speech-enabled system, and talking your way through an insane phone tree isn't the most efficient way to order movie tickets anymore.

Luckily, though, Moviefone lived long enough to be featured prominently on Seinfeld. That's a pretty good run.