The movie-going subscription service MoviePass is getting lots of hype (good and bad). Here’s everything you should know before deciding whether to join up!
You’ve been hearing a lot of talk around the proverbial watercooler about this “MoviePass” thing. It sounds to good to be true, and maybe it is. It’s still in its infancy stages. Here, you’ll find out everything there is to know about MoviePass so far, plus get updates on news that happens, as it happens.
What’s new with MoviePass?
June 21, 2018: MoviePass to introduce ‘surge pricing’ additional costs this summer
In this trial-and-error-stage of MoviePass, the company is constantly pushing out changes — some big, some small, and some that they backpedal on. This time, there’s going to be a big change in a small way: surge pricing. According to an interview with Business Insider, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe announced it will tack on a few extra dollars to your monthly subscription when you see a movie it considers “high demand.”
The change is scheduled to take place this July and will be poised to charge you a starting price of $2 for some popular movies. Lowe explained to Business Insider:
At certain times for certain films — on opening weekend — there could be an additional charge for films.
If it sounds like a money grab, it might be, but Lowe said it’s to help the theaters.
Lowe said this decision was intended to let MoviePass’ theater partners attract more traffic for big blockbusters in the middle of the week and on weekends after the movie’s opening weekend. It was also designed to “make sure that we can continue to offer a valuable service and support the whole enterprise,” Lowe added.
Though this is the biggest news, MoviePas will also get two new features sometime in the late summer. You’ll be able to add a ticket within MoviePass for a friend. This will add a regular priced ticket charge to your monthly bill, but makes it possible for you to buy tickets for more than one person at the same time (instead of separate transactions).
MoviePass is also bringing back the ability to see Real 3D and IMAX movies with the additional fee. This was previously available with a MoviePas subscription. You could upgrade your ticket and pay the extra cost directly at the theater box office. It was later removed so you couldn’t even buy a Real 3D ticket using MoviePass. It’s nice to see they’re bringing this back.
What is MoviePass
MoviePass is a subscription-based service that allows it’s subscribers to see a film at practically any movie theater (the major exception being AMC Theaters) literally any day of the year, once per day. For one monthly fee, going to the movies has a new fervor.
Currently, most major theaters (with the exception of AMC) support MoviePass. That includes your local independent theater and the drive-in, too. If you’re worried that MoviePass hurts small theaters, don’t. MoviePass pays theaters the full price for the ticket you buy. More on how MoviePass makes money is noted below.
You can watch a movie, 365 days per year, if you manage to find that many different movies to watch. There are no block out dates for going to the movies, though MoviePass did experiment with blocking release date showings for a very short period of time (something they back-tracked on and later claimed was just an experiment). You can, however, only watch a movie once with your MoviePass. If you loved that last Marvel movie and want to see it again, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket the next time.
You must use the MoviePass app on your iPhone or Android device and for most theaters, you must have the physical debit card that is provided to you when you sign up.
How much does it cost?
Here’s the amazing part: MoviePass costs just $9.95 per month for the standard subscription. At the time of this writing, MoviePass, in collaboration with iHeartRadio, is offering a limited plan for $7.95 per month. This lower-priced tier limits users to just three movies per month but comes with a 3-month subscription to iHeartRadio. Personally, I think the $9.95 is the better deal of the two.
MoviePass also works with companies to offer free or discounted subscriptions as promotional incentives. For example, MoviePass recently announced two one-year subscriptions when you purchase a Galaxy S9 or S9+. Before you sign up, you should see if MoviePass is running any sort of promotion you can take advantage of.
What do I get with a standard subscription?
The standard $9.95 subscription is good for a single person and allows you to see a movie every single day, 365 days of the year, at any supported theater. If there were 365 movies released in theaters in a year, you could literally see every single one of them.
The restrictions are: you can only see standard 2D movies (this changes in the fall) and you can only see a movie once. You can also only use MoviePass at a supported theater.
MoviePass is supported at major theater chains like Cinemark, United Artist, and Regal. It is also supported at many independent theaters. In fact, MoviePass works great for independent theaters because more people will potentially see lesser-known movies at these smaller theaters with their $10 monthly subscription and theaters don’t take a loss in ticket sales because MoviePass pays the full price of the ticket.
How does it work?
Once you’re signed up with MoviePass, you’ll be sent a debit card. This is how you’ll pay for your ticket.
You’ll also need the app on your phone. It’s available on iOS and Android. You can’t use MoviePass without the app. If you’re still sporting a non-smart phone, you’re just out of luck.
When you’re all ready (you’ve signed up, you have your debit card, and you’ve downloaded the app on your phone), you can head over to a supported theater to “check in.”
You have to be within 100 yards of the theater in order to check in. You can’t purchase tickets through MoviePass while sitting on your couch at home.
With one exception.
MoviePass works in collaboration with a limited group of theaters to offer e-ticketing through its program. In my area, Studio Movie Grill is the only theater that offers e-ticketing with MoviePass, but it means I can select and reserve a seat ahead of time, at any time on the same day. You don’t have to be anywhere near the theater to purchase one of these e-tickets. You may not have a supported e-ticketing theater in your area, but if you do, you’ll see an icon next to the theater that looks like a movie ticket stub.
After you’ve “checked in,” you’ll see a notification in the MoviePass app that the check in was successful. Then, you can either go to an automated kiosk (if the theater has any), or the box office attendant. You must complete the transaction within 30 minutes of checking in or you’ll lose the transaction and won’t be able to try again with a different movie that day.
The rest of the process is just like buying a movie ticket. The only difference is that you’ll give them your MoviePas debit card instead of your personal payment card.
How do I sign up?
You can either sign up for MoviePass online or from within the MoviePass app.
Click or tap on Get Started to create an account. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, birth date (so you can prove you’re over 18), shipping address (so they can ship you the card), and credit card information (so they can charge you the monthly subscription).
Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll receive a notification that your application has been received.
The hard part is waiting for your debit card to arrive. MoviePass has improved its wait times significantly, but it still takes time to process. Typically it takes 7 – 10 days, but if the system gets busy for any reason, it could take longer. It took two months for me to receive mine, but I signed up when the current pricing structure first launched.
It sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?
Well, it depends on how you feel about companies collecting and using your non-personal information. After all, Helios and Matheson Analytics owns MoviePass. It’s not entirely unlike the level of privacy you give up by using Google’s services.
We keep track of your interactions with us and collect information related to your use of our service, including but not limited to your online activity, title selections and ratings, payment history and correspondence as well as Internet protocol addresses, device types, operating system and related activity. We use this information for such purposes as providing recommendations on movies we think will be enjoyable, personalizing the service to better reﬂect particular interests, helping us quickly and eﬃciently respond to inquiries and requests and otherwise enhancing or administering our service offering for our customers. We also provide analysis of our Users in the aggregate to prospective partners, advertisers and other third parties. We may also disclose and otherwise use, on an anonymous basis, movie ratings, consumption habits, commentary, reviews and other non-personal information about customers.
The policy allows MoviePass® to share anonymous behavioral data with Third Parties such as movie studios or distributors or other partners who work with MoviePass® to promote their products. These could include allowing our partners to track movies you see, theaters you attend or pages you view with cookies or pixels MoviePass® may place a pixel on its website on its own behalf or on behalf of a Third Party partner which will provide anonymous data about our users which can then be used to enhance the MoviePass® experience. This data contains no personally identifiable information, Instead it consists of a unique ID that is tied to a particular device.
All that being said, MoviePass isn’t really that different than other services, like Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Track your location when you are not using the MoviePass® app (background location tracking);
- Sell personally identifiable information; or
- Share personally identifiable information to another company for their independent use or marketing, besides performing the agreed upon service to MoviePass®.
Any more questions?
Do you have any more questions about MoviePass and how it works? Put them in the comments and I’ll help you out.