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Fave Spotlight: MoviePass - Scam or Best Thing Ever?

Submitted by Joel on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 09:42


MoviePass Facebook cover photo from today


If you know us, you probably already know that we LOVE MoviePass. $10/mo to see every movie that comes to our small town theater? YES PLEASE! We only review movies that we've seen using MoviePass, which is why we call them our MoviePass Movie Reviews. So, yeah... we love it. But it isn't all great. They have had some problems, too.

What is MoviePass?
When you sign up for MoviePass, you pay $10/month or less if you pay for the whole year in advance (currently, new members can pay $115.35 for a year, which includes a subscription to Fandor). You have to have a mobile device to use MoviePass, but you download their app in order to use their service. After ten days or so, you should receive a MoviePass credit card in the mail. Activate it using the app and you're ready to roll!

If you're within a hundred yards of the theater, give or take, you can check in on the app to the movie you want to see. You can only see one movie a day, and no 3D/IMAX/XtraSpecial movies, just regular old 2D ones, but still! Once you check in, your special MoviePass credit card they sent you gets some money on it. Then you just pay using that card and in you go! It's able to be used at any participating theater (which is almost 100% of them) that accepts MasterCard. 

What's the catch?
There is NO CATCH. This is a real thing. We took a break for a few months (reasons below), but in all, we've used this service for YEARS. No hidden fees... just $10/month and you get to see a movie every day if you want. But that doesn't mean it's all sunshine and unicorn kisses.

The bad stuff
Just like most new services, MoviePass has issues. But unlike MOST new services, it has some MAJOR issues. (And possibly some minor ones, like selling your anonymous movie watching habits, but that's not that big of a deal, in my opinion)

Customer Service
The worst by FAR is their customer service. You will NOT be able to contact them efficiently. We've signed up everyone we can cuz this is the best thing ever, but there have been issues. One person that signed up never received their card. We called, we emailed, we used their chat service... NOTHING worked. Since then, we've heard that if you comment on their Facebook page, they'll possibly respond, but even then it is not reliable. Credit cards were being charged, but no card came, no responses... for months. They had to contact their credit card company and get the charges blocked and still no response from MoviePass. Pretty bad. 

We were early adopters of MoviePass and their first app had some issues. We spent many cold minutes trying to check into the movie we wanted to see and the app would tell us we're too far away. You could only try once a minute and, even though we were right outside, it would take 5 or 6 check-ins to get us into the movie. This hasn't happened in this second incarnation, though. We've had 100% success every time now. But back then, they had AWESOME customer service. We'd call and a human would answer every time. We'd email and get responses back within a minute. So... can't check in? No problem. We would just buy it ourselves and they'd refund us. But NOW? If you buy that ticket yourself, don't expect a refund. It can happen, sure. But don't count on it. Still, at $10/month you can afford to buy a ticket or two. It's still VERY frustrating.

Limited Movies
Yeah, you get to see a movie a day, but you can't buy your tickets in advance. You have to be at the theater the day the movie is showing. So if a blockbuster is coming and you want to see the first showing, you'll probably have to pay out of pocket. Still, if you're that much of a movie lover, you're probably seeing tons of other movies that this wouldn't restrict you too much. But, you can't buy online easily, either. It's pretty inconvenient sometimes, but for us, it is rarely limiting.

A Rocky Road
As I said, we were early adopters, so we've seen many changes to MoviePass over the years. As mentioned above, we even turned it off for a while. Why? When we first signed up, the service was $30/month, which was still very much worth it to us. We still LOVED it for $30. But then... they decided to up it to $100/month! I mean, sure, if you live in New York, Chicago, or California it might be worth it. We would have had to see every movie coming to little Fort Dodge and gone to a few in Des Moines (90 minutes away) for it to be worth it. Sorry, but no thanks.

They also made other annoying changes, like it went from one movie in a calendar day to one movie in 24 hours. So if we saw a movie at night and wanted to catch a matinee the next day (saving them money in ticket price), we couldn't! We had to map out our movie schedule to the minute sometimes. And you couldn't check in until the 24 hrs was up, so seeing a 7 one day and 7:05 the next took some pretty good timing with the lines. Be ready for them to change stuff on you. It was still very much worth it, but what a PAIN!

The Future is Uncertain
The final problem is that MoviePass is pretty much a necessity for us now. If it goes away, we'll be very sad. We support them every way we can in the hopes that they'll last forever. But some places have MoviePass in their sights. AMC, for instance, hates them. They claim it's because that MoviePass is lowering expectations for prices, so if it fails, people will stop going. While they might have a point, I think we'd just go back to our pre-MoviePass activities of one or two movies a week. The REAL problem I think AMC has, is that as MoviePass grows, they will have tons of power over the theaters AND Hollywood. I mean, EVERYONE should have MoviePass. What if they decide to cut out AMC from their theater list? I'd go to a different theater to use it. With this fear, AMC (and the other chains) might try to destroy MoviePass. 

So should I get MoviePass or not?!!
If you're considering it, then the answer is YES! It's $10/month right now! SIGN UP!! If they suck after using it a month, you got to see a few movies for only ten bucks. And that's really the thing about MoviePass: if you just get to see a couple movies, it's worth it. 

Yeah, some people don't like movies. Some people love movies, just not in a theater cuz people talk as if they're sitting in their living room watching it (and should be removed!) So it's not for everyone. But if you watch even TWO movies a month on average, you'll love MoviePass. One of the best parts about it is if you're on the fence about seeing a movie, with MoviePass, you can just go! If you don't like it, you didn't lose anything!

I have MoviePass, but I don't want it to ever end
We don't want it to end, either! So you have to support them. Post about the good stuff, find solutions to the bad stuff. Spread the word and support them. Also, support the theater with your extra spending money! Get some popcorn! Buy their stuff! Sign up for their rewards programs! 

Some other things you can do to support MoviePass:

  • Follow MoviePass on every social media you have!
  • If they send you promo emails, read them! Click the links!
  • If MoviePass has a supporter, either a sponsor or a good blog post (ahem...) check them out! Even if you don't purchase anything, the added traffic really helps them out. 
  • Don't just complain when you have problems... find the solution and post about it. It can be frustrating, I know. But it's worth it for the awesome service. You get some issues being an early adopter (and it's still early), but it is pretty rare for it to be a hassle. When it is a hassle, it's a HUGE PAIN, but still... it's rare.


So there you have it. My take on MoviePass. Do you have one? What do you think? Did I miss any of the pros or cons? You should leave a comment and if it's a good one, I'll make sure to add it!






Your thoughts?

MoviePass now has many people taking pictures of the ticket stub in order to reduce fraud. It's fairly painless, but it does add an additional step.

New members can only get 4 movies a month for $10. This is still a great deal, but not nearly as good as unlimited. 

They're also limiting the service back to one viewing of a movie. This should make them more financially viable. 

So some new restrictions as they find their way, but not a dealbreaker. Plus, I'm still grandfathered in at unlimited movies per month.