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Can MoviePass Really Save
You Money At The Theatre?

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The MoviePass Subscription Program Offers Filmgoers The Chance To See One Movie A Day For Just $30 Per Month, But It’s Not Without Its Shortcomings


By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 8, 2015 —  Over the past few years, Hollywood has been increasing its output of blockbuster-level films. The summer film season now starts as early as March and bumps right up against awards season on the backend. For movie buffs, it can be a daunting, and not to mention expensive, task to go to the movies as often as they would like. Well, MoviePass is offering film buffs a solution.

Basically, most moviegoers have to pay for a ticket every time they want to visit the theatre, and, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average movie ticket price is currently $8.61. MoviePass will instead charge subscribers $30 per month and allow them to go to a movie every single day at participating theatres. So, for anyone who goes to the movies even once a week, this seems like a pretty great proposition, on paper anyway.

Being a movie lover with a limited budget, I couldn’t help but take MoviePass for a test drive, and the results were very mixed.

In Arizona, MoviePass has a pretty solid list of participating theatres, including Cinemark, Gateway IMAX, Picture Show at Superstition Springs, FilmBar Phoenix and every single AMC throughout the Valley. Sorry Harkins fans, no such luck there. However, there are plenty of theatres to choose from, so no moviegoer should be too far from a participating venue.

The company has been advertising via Facebook and other social media fairly aggressively as of late, and it even offers a free two-week trial for those that want to test the waters. Though, as per usual with these trials, the user must cancel the subscription before the end of the two weeks or MoviePass will initiate the charge.

Once I signed up for the trial, a card that looks very much like a debit card was sent to me within a week. In order to use the card, I had to install the MoviePass app on my phone. The app allows users to see movie times at theatres near them, so they can figure out what movie they would like to see that day.

The potential issue with MoviePass comes into play when it comes to getting a good seat. With virtually every theatre preselling tickets online and many others moving towards the seat reservation model, it is becoming more important than ever for moviegoers to plan ahead.

MoviePass users don’t get any form of preferential treatment when it comes to getting seats. In fact, it is almost like flying standby. In order to claim tickets for a movie, the user has to be within 100 yards of the selected theatre with their smartphone so that they can “check in” to their screening of choice.

Once the user is checked in, the process is pretty simple. Head up to the ticket window, select your movie and pay with the MoviePass card.

The company is big on advertising that there are no restrictions or blackout dates for the card, meaning that one could use MoviePass to go see a massive blockbuster like Star Wars: The Force Awakens on opening night. That sounds good in theory but is less useful in practice since blockbuster premieres generally sell out ahead of time, and MoviePass’ 100-yard rule makes that difficult.

So unless you want to make multiple trips to a movie theatre to ensure a good seat to a popular movie, the MoviePass check-in process can be very hindering.

That being said, for a movie that isn’t overly crowded, MoviePass works great. The app is very easy to use and there is no hassle to use the card. The only other issue that may arise has to do with the theatres. Many still seem to be getting used to MoviePass, so you will get the occasional crooked look or “let me check with my manager” response.

It is also worth noting that the company has excellent customer service and has a chat system through its website that is very fast and very efficient for those who don’t want to make a phone call.

For a moviegoer that is perfectly fine waiting a week or two to see big movies and also enjoys going to a movie at least once a week, MoviePass is totally worth it. However, if you are the type of person that needs to go to blockbusters opening night and likes reserving seats far in advance, MoviePass may not be the answer to our prayers.

Ryan Scott is a contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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