MoviePass frontman Mitch Lowe entered the company headquarters: an abandoned Blockbuster littered with empty Raisinet boxes, several copies of Baby Boy, and other films starring Tyrese. The embattled CEO felt like Tom Cruise in these days of thunder, a hotshot pilot nosediving through vanilla skies. Saving his risky business seemed an impossible mission, even if he made all the right moves.

His faithful employees—“MoviePassengers” as he liked to call them—lay head-to-foot in the rom-com section, smushed together like a box of Buncha Crunch. Months of inflammatory tweets and endless support tickets had left them sleep-deprived, disoriented, hungry. The microwave in the Blockbuster break room had short-circuited weeks ago, so they unfolded popcorn bags and shoved their hands inside, sucking Blast O Butter off each other’s fingers like some sick concession stand fantasy.

Then, a clapperboard clacked; their savior had arrived.

“Scene!” The MoviePassengers quit their butter-sucking and buh-buh-buh-bummed the 20th Century Fox theme song in unison. Mitch was across the aisle, in the “Suspense” section, panning his imaginary DSLR left to right. After high-fiving a software engineer snorting crushed SweeTarts off an As Good As It Gets DVD, he plopped into his director’s chair and flipped on a backward Kangol hat.

“Fade in, my beloved auteurs!” shouted Mitch, kicking off the all-hands meeting with a prized MoviePass tradition: squashing a rotten tomato. Drained as they were, the MoviePassengers clapped DVD cases together as they anxiously awaited their director’s commentary.

“Alright, quiet on the set, quiet on the set. Team, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Which would you like first?”

“Bad. How much worse can it get?” groaned a cross-armed social media coordinator. For weeks she had smashed her keyboard responding to Twitter vitriol, suffering sprained wrists, multiple concussions, and one nearly fatal nitro cold brew overdose in the process.

“Plenty worse. For starters, this is our last all-hands meeting.” Everyone, even the SweeTart-snorting engineer, Macaulay Culkin’d their faces in terror. “That’s right, we’ve been Cujo’d by AMC; their new A-List pass is a box office smash, two thumbs way up our asses. Now we’re gonna die nice and slow like an old arthritic cocker spaniel. It’s like that penultimate sequence in Homeward Bound when Shadow falls into the muddy pit.”

“Wait, didn’t Chance help Shadow claw his way out of the pit?” cried the ghost of MoviePass’s PR department.

“We never had a chance, let alone a shadow of a chance. Did you really think surge pricing and selling ‘Hood Will Hunting' MoviePass sweatshirts would stop the bleeding? Did a surprisingly compassionate Vegas prostitute stop Nicholas Cage from drinking himself to death? Didn’t think so. Plus, it doesn’t help that our stock is cheaper than a bag of circus peanuts; even Edward Furlong can afford a stake in our company for Christ sakes.”

My Best Friend’s Wedding, Say Anything…, 27 Dresses, and other rom-com classics looked down upon the aisle of MoviePassengers crying real, unscripted tears. They wiped their salty drops with inside-cover DVD leaflets, wondering when this frightening snuff film would end.

“Hey, this isn’t my fault! You wanna blame someone? Blame couch-jumping Tom Cruise! You think that smug Scientologist just happened to push our service to the brink with a movie named— Oh, what a coinky doinky—FALLOUT? I mean, wha—”

Mitch, fully realizing the agony of his people, and remembering that he was a man full of novel yet ultimately unprofitable ideas, pulled out an unused Avengers: Infinity War ticket from his blazer pocket, kissed it and lifted it towards the ceiling.

“You see this ticket? After ‘MoviePiss' is flushed down the toilet, and you need some ol’ Mitch Lowe magic, do this in remembrance of me.” Mitch ripped his ticket in half. “This will help you recall a happier time; before Thanos snatched up the Infinity Stones, before we were held hostage on the 30th floor of Nakatomi Plaza sans John McClane. Barefoot Bruce Willis isn’t going to save us, my children. Neither is emergency funding from Hudson Bay Capital. Yippee Ki Yay, Meet the Fockers.”

Before Mitch rolled the end credits, Kevin Spacey, who’d been sleeping in the Blockbuster stockroom for months, uttered the one question on everyone’s mind: “But wait…what in the Hellraiser is the GOOD news then?”

“Glad you asked, Keyser Söze. While we can't afford cash-based severance packages, we will be sending everyone home with copious amounts of Red Hots and Boston Baked Beans.”

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