Apple Pulls Box Office from App Store?

Box Office is missing. No, we're not talking about the gross from the latest Eddie Murphy "film", we're talking about the iPhone App. While NetShare remains in its very own little Schrodinger's App box, some carriers' (AT&T, Rogers, etc.) prohibition against tethering and Nullriver's roots makes the drama at least somewhat fathomable. What about Box Office?

Box Office is (was?) an App that used either manually entered or CoreLocation derived positional information to show you a list of theaters and movies playing within a user-definable radius (e.g. 10 miles). Users could "favorite" certain theaters to bump them to the top, and quickly click through the RottenTomatoes or MetaCrytic reviews, movie information, etc. In other words, it was a useful piece of software in the otherwise incredibly high noise to signal ratio (i.e. CrApps to quality) the initial App Store land rush has given us.

And now it's gone.

Yup. For the last couple days, clicking on the Box Office link returns an iTunes error saying the app is not available in (your country) store. Posting on the MacRumors forums, developer Metasyntactic, claims not to know why it was pulled either (after the jump):

Apple pulled the app yesterday without giving my any notification that they were doing it, or what their justification was for removing it.

I've tried to contact them about the issue, but it's been a complete dead end. If anyone has a useful contact number for apple, please let me know.

I'm in regular contact with all my data providers, and none of them have had an issue with my app. Indeed, the response was the exact opposite. They like my app and have even asked if i would do custom application work for them in the future. Furthermore, all the data i use is licensed by the owners as 'free for non commercial use'. i.e. precisely what BoxOffice is.

So i'm stuck here not knowing what has happened, or what i can do about it. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know. You can respond here, but i'd actually appreciate a reply at since i probably won't check back here that often.

While Apple has been slowly improving their communications with MobileMe issues and download counts for developers, and has been getting more and more Apps online, the seemingly random length of the approval process and capricious nature of take downs really needs to get some transparency enhancements, at least for the developers.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple Pulls Box Office from App Store?


Box Office was my favorite movie app...
"Users could “favorite” certain theaters to bump them to the top, and quickly click through the RottenTomatoes or MetaCrytic reviews, movie information"
Yep- great app- what's the deal? Apple seems out of control on some of the app stuff- that's for sure...

Agree, really a great app! One of the first I added to my iPhone and has rapidly become one of the apps I use most.
Hopefully, Apple will add it back to the app store quickly.

but so does the Movies app, and it hasn't been pulled. The Donate button is on every screen of the app. The Movies app, that does basically the same thing, DOES NOT have the GPS locate feature.
Ah HA!

There are quite a few open source apps out there. As I recall the Wordpress app is also open source (or soon will be.)

what about ipint? It was pulled a week ago and it had been in the top 25 free apps since it's launch...

This is why the App Store concept sucks. Apple gets in the middle of the relationship between you and the developer, and they can stop you from getting the apps you want for any reason or no reason at all. More freedom, please.

I love my iphone but stuff like this is why I still think Apple sucks. Seriously, Steve, can you get your micro-management death grip off the thing so we can enjoy it.

I was using it today. Went into the theatre and lo and behold, it was accurate to the detail. How does he do it? While I was verifying the theatre movie times, the employees there were checking out my phone.
I'm glad I got it before Apple pulled it.

I love people that write comments without reading the comments people have already left. The answer is often in the comments. Tried reading before writing.

No matter how you slice it Gaeg, your 8/4 comment is neither warranted or intelligent. Please add something to the thread besides your hate.
I have a friend that downloaded in and I pulled the installer file from his computer and put on my pc. It installed and is working great. Apple at it again...and we keep buying it why?

Johnny, how did you get the installer file from another computer to work on your computer? Did you just put it in a certain directory that iTunes uses for to-be-installed apps? Will this only work on a jailbroken phone? Do tell.

Hey. I don't know if this helps but I emailed Steve Jobs about this and he actually responded . Here is the message he sent:
Well your wrong. BoxOffice used Rotten Tomatoes ratings without asking Fox, their owner, for permission. Fox objected to copyright infringement and we agreed.
On Aug 13, 2008, at 11:55 AM, Mark Salpeter wrote:
Why was BoxOffice pulled from the iTunes App Store? I smell something fishy and I don't like it.

Please update the blog:
Box Office application is still available on AppStore but with new name "Cyrus Najmabadi".

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