It’s February, the month that drags and drags because the days aren’t getting longer fast enough and that darn groundhog always ends up seeing its shadow. It’s not the kind of month that brings to mind movie theater popcorn and double features, but I’m here to tell you why it should be: MoviePass. We’ve been subscribers for three months at this point, so I feel confident that this will be an honest MoviePass review with the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Want to guess how many movies I’ve seen since Thanksgiving? (I don’t have to guess because my MoviePass app has a nifty “History” feature that will tell me the exact number of movies and what I saw.)
I’ve seen 22 movies in the last three and a half months (including Coco twice because, my God, that was a superb film). As a person whose natural setting is frugal, just reading that sentence gives me heart palpitations. But then I remember that I have MoviePass, which means I get to see a movie every single day and only pay a $10 monthly fee. So for 22 movies, I’ve spent $40.
According to a little Internet searching, the average movie ticket price in the U.S. in 2017 was $8.93. If you attend matinees, it’s probably a little less. If you spring for the cushy seats on a Friday night, it’ll cost you a bit more. But if we’re going with the average, that means my recent movie addiction should have cost me $196.46, so I’ve saved over $150.
Do I have your attention yet? Hopefully at this point you’re wondering “so what is MoviePass, anyway?” It’s a monthly subscription service that allows you to see one movie each day at approved theaters throughout the country. Once you sign up, you’ll receive a MoviePass credit card, which you’ll use to make the ticket transactions along with the MoviePass app. You must be within 100 yards of the theater to “Check In” for a movie, and you must be checked in to go to the ticket counter/kiosk and purchase the ticket using the credit card.
That’s a basic understanding of how it all works, but what kind of a MoviePass review would it be without digging into a few pros and cons?
Pros of MoviePass
You Can Still Earn Points with Your Movie Theater Rewards Program
You’re currently reading the blog of a diamond status Regal Crown Club member. That’s right, I said diamond status. I’ve had my darn Regal Crown card for years, and I never came close to diamond status until we got MoviePass. Since the payment portion of MoviePass works like a regular credit card, you can use your theater rewards program like you normally would.
I’m Seeing All Kinds of Movies That I Never Would Have Before
As of this moment, there are only three Academy Award Best Picture nominees that I haven’t seen (and one of those isn’t even in theaters anymore!). You don’t have to be quite as selective when you can always go see the other movie the next day. It’s also great for those difficult moments when you want to see a feel-good movie and your husband wants to see something that will scare the pants off you instead.
We’ve Visited So Many New Theaters
Before signing up for MoviePass, we only saw movies at the Regal Theater near our house because 1. I wanted to get Regal Crown Club points (diamond status, you guys!), and 2. it was close to our house. Since signing up for MoviePass, we’ve visited six other theaters in the Cincinnati area, including other big chain theaters and local indie ones. As long as your MoviePass recognizes the theater in the app (and I’ve yet to visit one that isn’t included), you’re good to go!
It Easily Turns an Average Evening at Home Into Free Date Night
The following has become a regular occurrence since getting MoviePass:
S: Do we have plans tonight?
Me: I don’t think so.
S: Want to see the 7:30 showing of XYZ movie in Newport?
Me: Sounds good to me.
S: Meet me at Yardhouse for a pre-movie drink at 5?
Me: You read my mind.
While I love lazy nights on the couch at home, it’s nice to spend a random evening out without worrying about breaking our budget.
Cons of MoviePass
You Can’t Use It for 3D or IMAX Movies
Full disclosure: This isn’t really a con for me. I’m a 2D movie lover and will be ’til the day I die because all the other types with the spinning and the 3D jump scares and the immersive craziness make me sick. But I know this might be a big deal for others, so I’m including it here.
You Could Still Pay for Part of Your Ticket
I should qualify this one by saying this scenario has only happened to us once at the super premium, very new CinéBistro up at Liberty Center. It’s one of the swanky “your server will bring your steak dinner to your seat during the previews” places, and they obviously break their ticket price into a “movie” fee and a “service” fee. Since MoviePass only covers the movie portion, we had to pay for the $1.99 service charge per ticket ourselves.
The App Could Definitely Be Better
I’m not saying it’s bad. It certainly does what it needs to, which is show you the movies available near you and let you “check in” once you’re within 100 yards of the building. But the interface could be a little more user-friendly, it sometimes takes a minute to load everything, and it’s just not pretty to look at.
If You Live in a Smaller Area, You May Not Have Access to Many Movies
Living in Cincinnati, we’re within easy driving distance of at least ten MoviePass eligible theaters. My parents in rural Georgia though find that they quickly run out of movie options and have to make the drive south to Kennesaw or even Atlanta to get some of the less popular or limited release films.
If you’re concerned about your theater options, you can always download the app and check out the movies available in your area before you actually fork over the cash for the pass.
Each Ticket Must Be Paid for in a Separate Transaction
I’m not sure this product of how the system works is negative enough to count as a “con.” Just know that if you’re with someone you’ll have to pay for each MoviePass ticket in a separate transaction since the MoviePass credit card will only work for one ticket each day. (But they do work at all of the little kiosk ticket machines I’ve tried, so that’s nice!)
But perhaps most importantly…
They Are All Up In Your Data
People say nothing is free, and in this case, MoviePass isn’t just $10 a month. It’s $10 a month and access to all of your movie-related data: which movies you’re watching, where you’re watching them, when you’re watching them. All of that data is available to MoviePass and any companies they choose to sell it to. Personally, I’ve made my peace with it. I’m willing to hand over access to my data for a seemingly unlimited amount of movie theater visits. But that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself!
Is MoviePass Worth It?
And that’s the most honest MoviePass review I could possibly give you. After three months of testing it out and then taking a good, hard look at it, I’m of the opinion that MoviePass is worth the money and then some. Of course, I believe this service is still in the exploratory phase, so one day soon we might have to determine if we’d pay $15, $20, or even $30 for a month of movies. In the meantime, I would recommend MoviePass to anyone who loves the experience of seeing a movie in theaters but can’t justify all those full-price movie tickets in their budget.
Have you considered MoviePass? What questions do you have that I didn’t address in this MoviePass review? Which movie would you go see if you didn’t have to worry about the price?