(NEW YORK) — Moviegoers who dialed 777-FILM this past weekend were welcomed by the familiar “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” greeting along with a second, more somber message that announced the number “will no longer be in service in the near future.”
The service advises callers that they can buy tickets and obtain showtime information by downloading “the free Moviefone app on your smartphone or iPad.”
The New York Times reports the automated service will be disconnected in about a month ahead of a reintroduction by AOL and BermanBraun, a web and television company.
“The call-in service has been in pretty steady decline,” Jeff Berman, the president of BermanBraun, tells the Times. “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.”
Russ Leatherman, one of the co-founders of Moviefone and the man who provided the deep Moviefone greeting, left the company last November.
According to the Times, at its peak in the 1990s, Moviefone received more than three million calls a week. Berman declined to tell the Times what the weekly total is now, but an AOL executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “thousands” continue to call the service.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Susie East, CNN
Jeff Peterson, Deseret News