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!”

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.”

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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.