The famous “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!” phone service is soon to be no more.
For 25 years, Moviefone allowed users in major cities to call 777-FILM to check local movie times. Now, that phone service will be disconnected — but the service's apps and website will continue on.
The New York Times was the first to report the news — and it was also the first to inform Moviefone founder Andrew Jarecki, who told the paper that his creation's fate "unfortunately characterizes the way AOL has mismanaged the Moviefone business for quite a while."
AOL, which bought Moviefone in 1999 for $388 million in stock, confirmed the move to shutter the phone service as part of a larger Moviefone reboot.
The ebullient "Mr. Moviefone" — voiced by Russ Leatherman, a Moviefone co-founder who left AOL in November — was once lampooned in a 1995 episode of "Seinfeld."
According to the Times, the phone service will cease in "about a month." Call the 777-FILM numbers now, and Leatherman's welcome line will still greet you. But another voice quickly takes over, warning that the number "will no longer be in service in the near future." Instead, users are invited to download Moviefone's mobile apps or visit Moviefone.com.
AOL foreshadowed the Moviefone shift in October, when the company hired multimedia firm BermanBraun to "reimagine" Moviefone as a broader entertainment media destination.