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Moviefone is hanging up, but its app goes on

LOS ANGELES — Mr. Moviefone’s lines are going dead.

For 25 years, residents of America’s biggest cities have been able to call 777-FILM to get movie listing information and buy tickets. The service’s booming greeting became a cultural catch phrase: “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!”

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Over the weekend, callers were told the automated service would soon go silent, overtaken by new technology and shifting consumer habits.

“The 777-FILM numbers will no longer be in service in the near future,” intones a man with a voice decidedly scrawnier in timbre than Mr. Moviefone’s. “To buy tickets and for all of your showtime information please download the free Moviefone app on your smartphone or iPad.”

Russ Leatherman, a founder of Moviefone who provided the famous greeting, left the company in November.

The automated telephone service will be disconnected in about a month, before a planned reintroduction of the Moviefone brand by AOL and BermanBraun, a Web and television company.

“The call-in service has been in pretty steady decline,” said Jeff Berman, president of BermanBraun. “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.”

At its peak in the mid-1990s, Moviefone received more than 3 million calls a week.

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