An American insitution for 25 years, the infamous “Moviefone Guy” (Russ Leatherman) is hanging up his receiver for good. Started in 1989 Moviefone was a call-in service to check movie times (plus length, ratings, etc.). It has, of course, been made all-but-obsolete by web-based movie schedule services (including a Moviefone one) such as Fandango. Moviefone is shifting its focus to its Apple and Android-compatible app.
From The Huffington Post
For Moviefone, the line is finally going dead.
After 25 years, the company will be shutting down its 777-FILM phone line, which residents of major cities could call to buy movie tickets and find out showtimes.
“The 777-FILM numbers will no longer be in service in the near future,” a man’s voice says upon calling the number. “To buy tickets and for all of your showtime information please download the free Moviefone app on your smartphone or iPad.” A source tells Variety that the line will be shut down sometime in the spring.
“The call-in service has been in pretty steady decline,” Jeff Berman, the president of BermanBraun, which partnered with AOL to rework Moviefone, told The New York Times in an interview. “Our customers are much more interested in our award-winning app, and we need to invest our resources in the future, part of which involves a major reimagining of Moviefone.”
The phone line was well-known for its greeting, a booming “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” recorded by Russ Leatherman, a founder of the company. The line became enough of a staple to be parodied by “Seinfeld” in a 1995 episode, when Kramer’s new phone number is dangerously close to 777-FILM.
Moviefone was founded in 1989 as a dial-up service for checking movie times. It caught its big break in 1999 when it was bought by AOL, the parent company of The Huffington Post, for $388 million in stock. AOL declined to comment on the record for this story.
At its peak in the mid-90s, the service received 3 million calls per week. An unnamed source told The New York Times that “thousands” of people still call the phone line.
Those looking to buy tickets or check movie times will still be able to do so using Moviefone’s app or website.