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MoviePass Review: The Answer for Modern Moviegoers?

For less than $10 a month, you can watch one movie in the theater per day; is it too good to be true?

Watching a movie at home just isn’t the same as going out to the theater. There’s something magical about the movie theater experience that can’t be denied. Maybe it’s the human fellowship that we crave or that classic movie popcorn, or maybe it’s just being able to kick back in those absurdly lavish theater seats. Whatever it is, it’s here to stay, despite the best efforts of streaming companies like Netflix.

That doesn’t mean that box office ticket purchases haven’t seen a steady decline in recent years. It's not always easy to motivate yourself to swap those sweatpants for jeans, or shell out all that cash for movie tickets and snacks.

That's where MoviePass comes into play. This app is trying to fix the problem of costly movie theater tickets for those who love all things cinema, promising users the ability to go to as many movies as they want for less than $10 a month. I recently had the chance to experience MoviePass, and I promise you’ll want to hang around for the verdict on this one.

How It Works (And Doesn’t)

It’s really rather simple — you download the MoviePass app on your phone, sign up, pay $9.95, and wait for your MoviePass card to arrive. When it does arrive (sporting the MasterCard logo,) you sign it, snatch up your phone, and start browsing. You can watch any regular 2D movie once a day for an entire month. They cover more than 4,000 theaters across the country and there are no blackout dates — you can even see the latest blockbusters on opening night.

Once you've selected the theater, movie and time, head out to your local movie theater and break out the app again. You need to “Check In,” not only to activate the card for the first time, but also to activate it every time in preparation for your ticket purchase. You have to be within 100 yards of the theater to “Check In,” and you have 30 minutes to buy your ticket after you’ve done so.

Sounds easy in theory. But in practice? MoviePass stumbled in its execution. I purchased my MoviePass card on Aug. 25 and received a notification saying that it would be in my mailbox within five days. Unfortunately, it seemed that everyone and their three aunts also purchased their MoviePass card around the same time. The cards were backlogged for several weeks, and I couldn’t use my MoviePass app without the card. I finally received my card on the 23rd… of September.

I didn’t mind waiting, but as soon as I received my card, I ran out the door to one of the nearby theaters listed on the app. Once there, I handed my shiny red card to the gentleman behind the plexiglass prison with aplomb. It was almost immediately handed back as declined.

Declined? How in the world did I get declined? The clerk didn’t know anything about it, and so I slumped home, defeated. I reached out to MoviePass via the Contact messenger in their Help & Feedback section, and emailed their support email the next day since I didn’t receive a response.

Thankfully, a fellow MoviePass member was able to point me in the right direction. I didn’t know that I was supposed to “Check In” using the app prior to each ticket purchase — something that makes sense in retrospect, but that I didn’t know going into the process.

Round two. I visited another local theater and did the “Check In” process for the movie “IT” at 7:30 p.m. Sheepishly, I approached the ticket concierge. They swiped my card, noticed my trepidation, and commented that “As long as I had checked in, I should be fine.” My card worked, and the ticket was in my hands before I knew it. I asked the clerk if she had seen many of these cards already, and she said, “Oh, yes,” before remarking that she was learning along with us how it worked.

Update 10/9/17: Watch 3D and IMAX Movies with MoviePass... Sort of.

Through some deductive reasoning and personal experimentation, we've determined that the MoviePass app basically loads the exact amount for a 2D movie onto your MoviePass card when you check in, and it has no information on what happens after that, other than a transaction occurred.

This means that you can use MoviePass to cover most of the cost of a 3D or IMAX ticket.

Here's how: check in to a 2D movie on the app, then proceed to the box office to purchase a 3D or IMAX movie ticket. Ask the cashier to split the payment of the 3D or IMAX ticket into two portions: the equivalent price of a 2D ticket and the remaining balance. Charge the equivalent cost of a 2D ticket to the MoviePass card, then pay for the remaining balance with cash or another credit/debit card.

Voilà! You've now purchased a 3D or IMAX movie ticket for a slight up-charge while still utilizing the daily benefits of MoviePass.

Deal or No Deal?

MoviePass App

Clearly, MoviePass has already made a name for itself. My card was delayed because so many people had signed up at once, and the (second) movie ticket clerk knew what my card was before I said anything. And, honestly, how could it not be popular already? For $9.95, all the movies your heart desires for a month? That’s pretty incredible.

But the system behind MoviePass is still shaky. I never did receive a response from the MoviePass support team through the app messenger, nor through email. If I didn’t have another MoviePass user keeping me in the know, I wouldn’t be able to write anything about the app — I would still be waiting to find out how to use my card.

Despite this, the advantages are indisputable. The ticket I purchased for the showing of “IT” would have been $13.64, including tax, if I didn’t have my MoviePass card. Therefore, even if I only went to see one movie with MoviePass in an entire month, I would still be saving money. On top of that, the app interface itself was cleanly designed and a snap to use.

Overall? If you’re a cinephile, you need the MoviePass in your pocket. Even if you only visit the movie theater once or twice a month, having MoviePass activated will still save you money in the long run. Plus, as the company grows and matures, we expect questions posed to their Support Department will actually get answered — and in a timely manner.

*****

Featured image and photography courtesy of MoviePass and Taryn Ziegler.



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About the Author
Taryn Ziegler Contributor

Taryn Ziegler is a digital content specialist working out of the greater Seattle area. She has managed content production, strategy, editing, and scheduling for a variety of different clients. She graduated from the University of Washington Bothell and harbors a deep love for all things content-related. She is happily married and enjoys living the Pacific Northwest lifestyle with her husband and two dogs.


43 Comments

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Joined Jun 2003
L7: Teacher
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#2
Interesting... sounds too good to be true, but maybe it'll drag more people like me out of the house. I haven't been to a move theater in years.
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Joined Jan 2013
L5: Journeyman
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#3
It only works if you can get one. Been waiting over 7 weeks for mines to say shipping since the 17th of Aug.
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Last edited by Slashinhobo October 2, 2017 at 06:26 PM.
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Joined May 2006
L4: Apprentice
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#4
I've never failed to use MoviePass in the last month for 4 movies already. So yes this thing is legit. SoCal though, not sure about other zip codes.
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Joined Apr 2017
L1: Learner
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#5
I've used mine 3 times already since purchase. It works great so far. I plan on watching a new movie each weekend.
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Joined Oct 2003
L10: Grand Master
32,526 Posts
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#6
so you signed up for a service for purpose of a review and didn't even look at how to use it? you're going to turn off people from using a perfectly fine service from user failure.

my first time i got declined. i checked in wrong. i thought i was checked in when i wasn't. had no problems as long as it checked me in.
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Joined Feb 2009
L3: Novice
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#7
I used it 4 times this month already with NO issues whatsoever at the AMC nearby. My little trick is to use the ticket machines instead of live people. Moviepass is a GAME changer!
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Joined Sep 2008
L10: Grand Master
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#8
Zero customer service. My billing date didn't reset on first use of the card. I keep opening tickets. They keep closing them as solved when it isn't.

So its terrific as long as it works, you're doomed if it doesn't.

Also lots of stories around about people being told by theaters that they don't take moviepass.

Unsustainable business model. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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Joined Aug 2017
New User
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#9
Agreed that the customer service sucks, but other than that, it has been fantastic. I ordered the card shortly after it was posted here and got mine on August 28th. I used it the very same day and 7 more times since. LOVE it. Used it in two different states already too (we had gone home to see family over Labor Day weekend). For those of you who don't have your cards yet, just be patient.
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Joined Dec 2014
L3: Novice
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#10
I ordered my Moviepass card in Aug and got it Sept 1. I have had no problems using the card and I have gone to several movies at AMC and 1 at a local chain.

I have contacted customer service a few times. First was before I got my card to confirm if theaters in my area accepted it, i never heard back from the app or email. After getting my card,
I contacted them again through app because I read that they would charge you when you order and again when you have had the card a month. I had gotten charged a second time and hadn't gotten to use it in August. The app chat never works. But I used email and promptly recieved a reply and a credit for the month. I also discovered that you earn a free month when you refer a friend. I love Moviepass, I hope it continues to thrive.
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Joined Jun 2011
L3: Novice
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#11
It took me 3 weeks to get mine and I have used it 3 times within the past month. The ability to watch movies right when they come out and not worry about if I should just wait for it to come out on blu ray is great! Never had any issues and they give you instructions on how to properly use the card and app when you first start, so don't skip anything.

I also use the ticket machines to purchase my ticket to avoid any chance of being turned down.
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Joined Dec 2006
Car Seat Tech
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Pro
#12
And if you don't have kids. Because MoviePass doesn't "do" kids. Families don't exist for the programmer's at MoviePass.

Can we please get a MoviePass review by and for people who have kids?
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Joined May 2004
L4: Apprentice
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#13
Quote from wineaux
:
And if you don't have kids. Because MoviePass doesn't "do" kids. Families don't exist for the programmer's at MoviePass.

Can we please get a MoviePass review by and for people who have kids?
Just curious, does MoviePass stop you from signing up your kids for MoviePass?
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Joined Nov 2013
L1: Learner
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#14
For the people asking about using it for kids. Just don't think of them as kids. Do they have to have kid tickets if you're getting it for 1 price regardless? I could set up 20 accounts if I wanted and pay with 20 cards. No one at the movie theater is going to say anything to you.
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Joined Apr 2007
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#15
I applaud the author for honesty - I'd die before admitting to missing what was laid out in the welcome letter received with the card. Then again, I also do a bit of research when purchasing services I'm unfamiliar with, which would prevent the situation from popping up in the first place.

Yes, MoviePass has terrible customer service at the moment but the card/service pays for itself if you watch just two movies a month almost anywhere in the U.S. Incredible deal and an easy choice for anyone who enjoys watching movies in theaters at all.
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