Photo: Kevin Smith, Business Insider
After living in New York for a few years, the only thing I find it impossible to adjust to is shelling out $13 to $17 every time I want to see a new movie. So when Business Insider’s Kevin Smith raved about MoviePass, a new app that lets users see as many movies as they want for a monthly fee, I was intrigued –– and more than a little dubious.
Membership fees vary depending on your region ($25 to $40), and average about $30 per month, according to CEO Stacy Spikes.
With the pass, you gain access to the smartphone app (iPhones only, with an Android version due in November) and a membership card issued by the company.
The whole service relies on geo-location technology, which won’t allow any ticket to be reserved unless you’re within 100 yards of a selected theatre. Once you’ve got the green light, you swipe your MoviePass card at the theatre’s kiosk and receive a ticket just like any other customer.
Is it worth the cost?
That all depends on how much of a cinephile you are. At an average $30 per month, you’d shell out $360 per year. The average ticket price in the U.S. is hovering just under $8 these days, according to the National Association of theatre Owners, which would mean sitting through at least 45 films (three to four per month) to justify the cost.
If you’re still on board, here are a few other things to consider before joining the 100,000 people on the app’s waiting list.
Expect some glitches. No matter what kind of state-of-the-art technology is behind a new product or service, there are bound to be glitches. I haven’t had the chance to test drive MoviePass, but a friend-of-a-friend told me she recently had trouble loading the app outside of a theatre. I asked Spikes how they’ve handled this issue so far, and he was confident in MoviePass’ customer service team. Agents are on hand until 3 a.m. EST each day to troubleshoot. For customers who wind up buying a ticket out of pocket, the company will issue a refund to the credit or debit card linked to their account.
Not easy to share. Unfortunately, MoviePass isn’t as easy to share with friends and family as, say, Netflix or Amazon Prime. Since the app is linked specifically to your cell phone and prepaid debit card, you need both in order to secure a ticket. Unless you’re cool with tagging along with your friend to pick up their ticket or giving up your phone for a few hours, you’re out of luck.
2-D only. For now, the MoviePass only covers one 2-D film per day.
No rewards––yet. Though a rewards program is not yet in place, Spikes assured me they will be working on one that is similar to movie theatre “club” cards, which typically offer free snacks and movie passes to theatergoers who earn points.
The verdict. It’s a toss up. Personally, I’m sold, but that’s only because I see about five to six films per month and could justify the cost. For the 60 per cent of Americans who rarely go to the movies, I’d recommend taking a pass on MoviePass.
Sign up for the beta here: www.moviepass.com.