MoviePass to allow moviegoers to see as many flicks as they want a month for $50. Worth it?

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Image Credit: Corbis

If you’re anything like us, you’re going to spend the dog days of summer planted indoors, namely at an air conditioned movie theater, seeing everything under the unforgiving sun (Transformers: Dark of the Moon may blow your eardrums out, but at least you’ll be cooled off). While it’s certainly cheaper than buying a pool or sitting in front of your open refrigerator all day (turns out that really hikes up the electric bill), going to the movies a few times a week definitely adds up.

With the average price of a movie ticket in San Francisco hovering around $10, an avid moviegoer could very well spend roughly $100 a month at their local multiplex (that’s not including assorted goods at the concession stand, which, let’s be honest, would be about $100, too.) In other words, Californians, you may have to start subletting your living room in order to keep going. Or just start charging your out-of-towner friends for your Full House tour.

Alas, there’s MoviePass, a new $50-per-month service — launching this weekend in, you guessed it, the San Francisco Bay Area — which will allow subscribers go to unlimited movies in theaters. As reported by Wired.com, people who get the “unlimited pass” with the service — which is more or less piggybacking off of the insanely successful Netflix formula — can see as many movies currently playing in theaters as their hearts desire for the month. However, if you want to see a movie in 3-D or in IMAX, you’ll be charged an extra $3. By using the app, you’ll simply find your movie’s showtime, check in to your local theater, and go straight to the ticket-taker.

But is it worth it for the ticket line-free experience? While you’re more or less breaking even if you see four movies a month, there’s bound to be a lull, even for the most avid moviegoer. However, Wired also reported that a more reasonable “limited pass” option, with four movies for $30 per month, is on the horizon.

That’s not all. As MoviePass co-founder Hamet Watt explained in a press release, the company will “enable our members to extend their connection to the movie they just saw by pre-ordering the DVD, digital download or other merchandise as soon as they walk out of the theater.” Studios and producers will also be able to “engage with avid movie buffs based on their film-attendance history” — so perhaps you’ll get an email from Jerry Bruckheimer after your 35th viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? (Or perhaps not.)

Still, will everyone be willing to make the transition? For better or worse, we’ve all gotten pretty used to the movie theater line dilemma — automated ticket machines and the ability to print out your ticket at home have all but cut out that problem for many. And perhaps just as many of us aren’t “spur-of-the-moment” moviegoers, as MoviePass seems to be targeting. Better yet, it’s a safe bet a lot of people who do check out multiple flicks a month do the mythical movie-hopping, in which they simply sneak into another theater after paying for one movie. (We, of course, have only heard of this illicit ritual.)

Then again, we haven’t heard much from the Netflix naysayers as of late (just ask Blockbuster), so will MoviePass change the dynamic of movie-going for good, not only for theaters themselves, but online ticket outlets like Fandango and Moviefone? Is $50 too steep, or will it appeal directly to folks who want to get their monthly entertainment budget in order?

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Comments (47 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    It’s all crap. Save your money.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      God forid if EW ever closes shop, what would you do with your day?

  • nono

    So, I pay somebody to go see crappy movies in a theater full of horrible children texting each other, and then when the movie is over I get divebombed with ads to buy useless crap that is tied into the crappy movie I just watched?

    And I am supposed to pay for this?

    • Jetouellet

      You know, not every movie coming out in theaters is crappy, hell, some of them may even be good. If all you’re seeing is crap, it’s your own fault.

  • kate middleton

    Good idea in theory, but not for most people. You’d have to see more than 5 movies a month to make it worth it, and I don’t know anyone who sees that many. It might make sense during some months (summer, holidays), but most other months I would be REALLY hard pressed to find 6 movies to attend. If they let you pause membership for a few months at a time, people might go for it. But I find this a hard sell in the age of Redbox, Netflix, On Demand when you can see a movie 3+ months later for as little as $1.

    • therealeverton

      It’s pretty rare for there to be less than 3 wide releases a week, whatever the time of year. Sure you have to be a real movie buff but if you are finding a movie a week to se isn’t hard. In fact finding the time to see enogh of the films that come out is the problem.

      • kate middleton

        Yeah, but my point is – would you be seeing a movie because you wanted to, or would you be seeing it just to use the pass? There are never 6 movies a month that I actually want to see, especially at $10 a pop.

      • LOL

        Sadly there are almost never more than 6 movies a year worth seeing anymore.

    • Fingerlakes Dave

      And then there is the travel time.
      In the small city I live in, the better experience is 25 miles into the next city for the better theaters. It’s now a 50 mi round trip with today’s gas prices.
      And, then there is the issue of a family of four. That’s $200/month.

  • Karin

    I think $50 is insane. I’m from the netherlands and we already have such a system, only i pay €18 a month and i dont get spammed after seeing a movie.

    • therealeverton

      Oooh we said the same thing at the same time. $50 is mental.

      • Oh what a coincidence it was meant to be.

  • therealeverton

    Sounds very expensive; even though it’s a more comprehensive thing (being able to buy tickets from home, rather than queing up, a Cinema pass in the UK (For the Cineworld chain) is £14.99 ($24.06 with an extra £1.50 ($2.4)for 3D for as many films as you like in a month, as many as you like in a day really. It only takes 2 or 3 films, depending on what time / day you go to break even; it was £1.50 untill this month. We have 4 one for My wife & I and 1 each for our 2 kids.

    • Thom

      Now that sounds like a deal compared to this.

      • TheRealEverton

        It’s great. It makes going to the movies much more affordable. (used to be £13.50pm, but even £14.99 is a bargain)

      • kate middleton

        Now that’s more like it. Is that only for one chain of theaters?

        That’s another thing crazy about this “moviepass”. If it’s me and my husband, that’s $100/month. No thanks.

      • vl

        The unlimited card from Cineworld is a blessing. £15 a month considering an individual ticket costs £8 you only need to see 2 films a month to cover the cost. Since ive seen 5 this week alone, im laughing! The card can only be used in the one chain of cinema but its the biggest chain in the country and has screens in every city/town. Shows a great mix of Hollywood/bollywood/indy/foreign/old/local films. Plus unlimited card can be used in combination with orange Wednesdays 2for1 ticket promo to get a guest in for free! $50 is a rip off!!

  • Michael Hiscoe

    I think $20-25/month would be better. They’ll make money back on concessions.

  • DEXTERthinks

    $30.00 seems like a better deal, I can’t think of 5 movies out right now I would have a desire to see.

  • MortalKombat

    Sorry to say but there has been pure trash in theaters from January to now. Funny too because people were saying that the movie industry might be back on track with Black Swan, The King’s speech, True Grit etc. but instead we fall so far from it.

    • E L

      That’s a bit too broad a statement.

      I mean, you’re _really_ underselling the utter brilliance of Priest and Green Lantern!

      • Stan

        Or the genius Transformers Bark at the Moon.

        It’s the best movie about giant robots that horribly exploits the real-life tragedies of 9/11, Chernobyl and the Challenger explosion. Yay, Hollywood!

    • Anonymous

      Not all of them were crap. X-men and Super 8 were pretty good. Last year was a great year for film, but most of the good movies come out later in the year anyway. This would only be useful for November and December. Unless you really love ridiculous blockbusters.

  • RJC

    What is the fine print on the deal? Does it work at any theater (AMC, Pacific, Showcase, Landmark, Arclight — not all of these theaters charge the same amount of money for tickets)? Does it have the stupid movie pass rule that you can’t see new releases (have to wait for 2 weeks after a movie is released)? I actually do see a lot of movies, 6 or more a month during the summer and Oscar season, and maybe 2 or 3 a month the rest of the year, so it could be worth it…but I just assume there is something in the deal that is meant to screw me.

  • Henri M.

    I can barely find 3 movies a month that look interesting.

    • sarah

      agreed. i live in SF and go to the movies maaaaybe twice a month. pass.

  • Mindy

    Not worth it. You’d have to see more than 5 movies a month. No way would that be worth it for me. I barely make my Netflix subscription worth it. I just don’t watch enough movies a month. There are certain months when I will gorge on movies. But, some months I see none at all.

  • Chris

    I see maybe 2 or 3 movies a year in the theater. This is not for me.

    • kate middleton

      Yeah, that’s me. I’m usually at maybe 5-6 per year. Movies come out so quickly on DVD now, and HBO has great movies….I’ve got to REALLY be into a movie to spend $10 to see it.
      Really looking forward to Harry Potter though.

  • Thom

    Great idea but way too pricey.

  • Barry

    Of course you need a smart phone in order to sign up for it.

  • JPX

    That’s ridiculous, who goes to the movies 5 times/month? This would assume that there are 5 good movies to see each month (or 60 movies /year worth seeing). So for $600/year I can watch unlimited free movies at the theater? I think I’ll stick with Netflix and bootlegs.

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