I’ve had MoviePass since January. I’d been intrigued by the idea — pay a flat fee every month and go see as many movies as you want — and some Facebook friends were jumping on it, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s $35 a month, but that’s less than four movies as evening prices. Surely I could get some value out of it, right?
So of course, the first time I go to use it, it didn’t work. The app would just not make the reservation for me, no matter what I did. The card was activated, I had the right theater, I was right next to the building, and nothing. I ended up paying cash for the ticket to avoid missing my show, and MoviePass and I were off on the wrong foot.
Things got smoother after that, until I decided I wanted to see Mad Max: Fury Road again. And MoviePass helpfully told me I already had. See, nestled in among their terms and conditions is the fact that you can only use the service to see any given movie once. That’s on top of not being able to more than one movie in a 24-hour period. Not once a day, once every 24 hours. So if I see a movie at 9 PM on Friday, I have to wait until 9 PM on Saturday. Now these are in their terms, so I should have been aware of them, but for a service that trumpets itself as “unlimited movies,” there sure are a lot of limitations.
So the first few months, I hadn’t really been using the card to its fullest potential. Which, frankly, is what MoviePass is counting on. It’s the gym membership of the movie going world; they’re prepared for you to be there every day, but they know you won’t be, and that they’ll get paid regardless. So with me essentially leaving money on the table each month, I looked into possibly cancelling. And found out that I wasn’t paying a monthly fee, I was essentially paying installments on a one-year subscription. And I would be charged a fee for leaving early. So I decided to soldier on.
And things did get better. I got used to the scheduling quirks and got my butt out to the theater more often to make it worthwhile. But then they notified me I’d be getting a new card, as they were switching providers from Discover to Master Card. I got the new card today, activated it, and decided to use it tonight to see Terminator: Genisys. And the card didn’t work, at the kiosk or the box office. Turns out that even though the site told me the card had been activated, the new cards won’t go live until tomorrow. So I once again had to fork over cash to see a movie and leave my MoviePass funds laughing at me.
On the bright side, I got some really helpful chat assistance that likely saved me from ditching the program altogether. They’re going to refund me the cash I paid for my ticket tonight. That’s something they didn’t have to do, so I guess I can stick around for a little bit longer. Besides, I’m almost to the point where quitting will only cost me what I’m paying for a month anyway. I may be irked, but I’m still cheap.
All things considered, I’m sort of meh on the whole thing. I can see it being useful somewhere like New York or LA where you need a mortgage to see a movie, but with my Universal ID, I can see movies for $8 at any time at CityWalk, so I’m not getting gouged. Granted, that discount doesn’t travel to other theaters, so there still may be value to it. Hell, it’s cheaper than popcorn.