As anyone who reads this site can easily tell, I love movies. And more than that, I love to see movies in theaters…even if my home viewing experience is pretty darn good.
With that in mind, for the past few years, I’ve been keeping my eyes on a startup called MoviePass. The concept was always pretty simple – pay a flat rate, see a bunch of movies. Sounds cool, right? Who doesn’t like movies? And who doesn’t like saving money?
In the past month, however, they’ve gotten very serious about their business plan, and for the first time ever, I’ve made the jump into being a member. Many people I know are interested in how the experience works out, so in the first of a series of posts here at Blast-O-Rama, I’m going to get into the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experiences with the program, so that you can make better, informed financial decisions as a movie goer.
What Is MoviePass?
Founded in 2011, MoviePass is a subscription service which allows you to pay a flat rate for movie tickets. The program has had a number of price options over the years, with multiple ideas, but since August 2017, the idea has been simple – pay $9.95 a month, see unlimited movies in theaters near you.
What’s the catch?
When you obtain a ticket via MoviePass, the theater is receiving the full value for each ticket. Based on a ticket cost of $11.21 at my local theater, one screening in, they’re losing money on the first ticket, let alone the dozens of other movies I could conceivably see.
So, what’s the gain for MoviePass? MoviePass’s movie ticket service is a loss leader for a data-selling business. They intend to sell the data they learn about their customers (movie going habits and such) to theaters – sort of how Facebook and Google get rich by selling your interests and activities to advertisers.
OK, I’m fine with that trade – how does it work?
After signing up, you’ll need to install the MoviePass app on your phone, and wait 5-7 business days for a special MoviePass debit card to be sent to you in the mail.
Once you have your card, you can look up movie times, and provided you’re within 300 feet of the theater, you can reserve a ticket. The full value of that ticket is deposited onto the card, and you pick up your tickets, a’la Fandango, MovieTickets.com, or any other movie ticket pre-paying service.
You can only see 2D, standard screenings of films, and you’re limited to one film every 24 hours. So if you see a movie at 7pm on Tuesday, you can’t go again until 7:01pm on Wednesday.
If you’re looking to do double features, only the first one is on them. If you have any family members, significant others, spouses, etc. who want to do this, they’ll need their own account too.
If you want to see what theaters you can use this in, scroll down to the bottom of the MoviePass.com homepage. Enter your zip code, and you can see where it works. For me, it’s basically every theater in my region, minus a second run theater in the area, weirdly enough.
How’s it going so far?
Well, that’s where things are a bit early for me!
I signed up on MoviePass.com on September 7th, and as of this writing, I do not have my card yet, so I can’t use the service. (Shame, as I would’ve loved to use it for It.)
September is looking like a great month for movies, both big and small, such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle, mother!, American Assassin, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, American Made and more, so I’m hoping to get my money’s worth quickly.
What do you think, dear reader? Is risk/reward enough to sign up? Or is this another dot com with big dreams set to fail? Let’s learn together!