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With up and down pricing, currently $9.99 before taxes, MoviePass may seem tempting to you – let me give you the rundown.
It Works at 95% of All Theaters
I live in the NY/NJ area and thus far, only one theater has not been somewhere that accepts MoviePass. Not because of the service itself mind you, but simply because they don’t take Mastercard (who MoviePass uses vs. VISA and the other vendors).
The Customer Service Is Good & You’ll Hardly Need Them
Over three or so years of having the service, I only needed customer service about 8 times. The majority of the time it was because a showing at the theater wasn’t on the app. Other reasons I would contact them is because my app wouldn’t reserve so I could pay and one time, when in NYC, the ticket was beyond their usual payment threshold so they had to change something on their side. All of which took maybe 3-5 minutes tops.
Also, while most may not like this, since formerly you could call, they have text responses. Which may not be ideal for those who want prompt responses, but for those who enjoy the experience of not having to talk to anyone when going to the movies, I’m sure you’ll like the feature.
It Works With Reward Programs
Whether you use AMC Stubs or the dozens of other rewards programs, this works with that. Meaning as MoviePass pays for your ticket, you can rack up reward points for an eventual snack.
There Are People Who Buy Two Tickets And Get The Second At A Discount
Realize, the only information MoviePass gets is where you buy the ticket and how much it costs. So, according to a friend of mine, you could max out how much MoviePass will pay in one setting, let’s say $15 estimated, and on whatever the discount day is, either get two tickets or the second ticket at a reduced rate.
They Change Their Pricing Suddenly and Haven’t Been The Best At Notifying People
I went from monthly to yearly when it came to paying for my MoviePass so I didn’t get hit when MoviePass went from around $30 or so for seeing one movie a day to some seeing the price jump to $50 or more for the “Unlimited” plan. All of which, unless you are checking the news or saw the sparse e-mail, you won’t know about. For, despite everything being done through the app, as noted below, the app is very basic. It doesn’t even include push notifications which could have alerted subscribers to the change.
You Have To Use A Card, No Exceptions
As many new customers have experienced, the fact that you must use a card in order to buy tickets is a huge annoyance. Especially since, for more than a year now, there has been a tab for E-Ticketing but it seems to only be experimented with in certain markets.
2D movies only
Perhaps one of the biggest bummers about the service, alongside not being able to officially buy tickets ahead of time, is that you can only see 2D movies. Which generally is fine, but for some, you may come across the problem I do where a major movie is primarily showing in 3D or Imax with one 2D viewing. Meaning either you have to rely on the exploit below or get there early.
Here are the MAJOR red flags of MoviePass you have to look out for:
- AMC has threatened to block MoviePass: Note, this hasn’t gone into effect and has thus far just been a threat, as per me going to AMC damn near exclusively. However, this is not something to ignore. For with AMC having its rewards program already in place, who is to say they may not shut out MoviePass and have it where Stubs does the same thing as the service?
- MoviePass’ Majority Shareholder Will Sell Your Data To Make Profit: As of now, MoviePass doesn’t contain ads or anything which would make you feel suspicious about it. However, with most movie tickets costing beyond $10, naturally their parent company, Helios and Matheson, want to find a way to make money from this recent acquisition. The way currently planned is to sell your information, be it location and surely other things, to local businesses as well as the movie industry. Sort of like a mobile version of a Nielson box, if you will.
- Helios and Matheson Are Losing Money More Than Gaining: With MoviePass already being well known for rollercoaster pricing, so comes the question of if it may raise its rates as it shows itself as an expensive product. Especially since it is now no longer a niche product featuring tens of thousands but is pushing 600,000 or more. For, as of now, it seems their parent company is relying heavily on the idea that companies will pay for the data they collect. But, if they don’t, I’d imagine price increases if not the end of the service.
On The Fence
(Technically) You Can Purchase a Ticket For Future Movies
One of the main issues with MoviePass is there is no buying ahead unless you sort of cheat the system. Something MoviePass seemed to catch on to before they dropped their prices to $10 a month. During that time period, they’d make you take a picture of your ticket stub. A change from when you just reserved, bought your ticket and went on your merry way.
Which they have returned to so now this option is available: If you want, you can buy tickets ahead of time so that when the latest blockbuster movie comes out, you aren’t SOL. The method is the same as you buy tickets now but at your AMC, or what have you, you just pick a forward date.
Now, if I were you, I wouldn’t try to see if this exploit works with IMAX and 3D movies. For while all MoviePass sees is ticket and location, this doesn’t mean they are stupid. Also, if you read their Terms of Service, they have no reason to slap you on the wrist. They can drop you at a moment’s notice.
The App Is Basic But Does What It Needs To
MoviePass does not have an award-worthy app and its website is barely of use. You won’t get movie recommendation, it won’t alert you to when showtimes are available and, for most areas, you can’t do E-Tickets. However, when it comes to reserving for a specific showtime so you can see your movie – it works.
But let me add a disclaimer: It works if you got a good signal for Wi-Fi or data in that area. Otherwise, you may sometimes find yourself waiting for a signal to be gained, stuck on getting to the reservation screen, and there are times you may get kicked back to the login screen. Which you can perhaps contact customer service for if, again, you can get a signal.
The One Movie a Day Policy
Formerly, you had to wait around 24 Hours exactly before purchasing another ticket. Now, there isn’t a timer, like there was years ago, and it may very well be there is some flexibility. I know that if you see a movie at 8 PM one day and 7 PM the next, you won’t have any issues. However, if you try to see a movie 8 PM one day then a matinee the next, I can’t guarantee anything.
Honestly, what keeps me from recommending MoviePass is the lack of consistency with how much they charge you and them notifying you about changes to your charges. That alongside not being able to purchase tickets ahead and not having the option to pay more for 3D and IMAX movies. However, if you go to the movies as much as I do, even if they raise the ticket prices back to $40+ a month, if you see more than 3 movies a month, and don’t see them at discounted rates, you break even or get a big bargain.
Plus, despite being around multiple years, the only thing which really improved, to me, is that their showtimes are accurate. Otherwise, the app still is very basic, their perhaps yearlong experiment with E-tickets hasn’t been launched nationwide, and there is still enough instability behind the scenes which makes you question the longevity or viability of this program. For with most of the theater chains iffy about the program, but likely unable to block it due to the use of Kiosk vs. dealing with people, that’s something to worry about. Alongside the usual selling of your data fear which isn’t a big deal if you aren’t fearful of Starbucks knowing you’re next door but considering all that can be done with your habits, in terms of fraud, it is still something to be cautious of.
Hence the Mixed viewpoint. For while it seems like a bargain, the service isn’t without limitations and cancellation worthy annoyances. Such as jacking up prices then backing down from that, without real notification. Alongside having to take pictures of your ticket stub, likely to prevent the exploit above, which didn’t work all the time so, likely, they reverted back to old policies on that too.
So unless you are a big-time movie goer and are fine with dealing with a company which still seems to be working out its kinks and figuring out how to make money, I don’t know if MoviePass is for you. For while cheap, so is a gym membership. But if you aren’t really planning to take advantage of it, who is really winning here?