2018 Update - MoviePass is a hot stinking pile of garbage. STAY AWAY. It USED to be awesome. Now it sucks.
Mr. San Diego and I go to the movies A LOT. We both love the cinema and always look forward to our once-a-week dinner and movie date night at our favorite local theater. While we always enjoy our weekly outing, we quickly realized that a simple dinner and movie trip was becoming a $100 a week expense. Multiply that by four and we were spending around $400 monthly for couple hours of enjoyment. We found ourselves constantly complaining about our pricey outings and were always seeking ways to make date night frugal.
Lucky for us, we found a solution to mollify our gripes about how expensive movie dates can be. We discovered the wonder that is MoviePass. To explain this magical subscription as easily as possible, I have highlighted the most common questions we get about the service.
What is MoviePass?
MoviePass is a subscription service that allows you to see one movie a day, every day, at any participating theater.
How much does MoviePass cost?
The service is $9.95 a month. No monthly or sign up fees.
MoviePass recently brought in one of the founders of Netflix and RedBox to be their new CEO, and one of his first actions was to drop the subscription price from $50-99 a month to $9.95 a month. Yay!
How does MoviePass work?
With a MoviePass subscription, members are mailed a debit card and must download the MoviePass app. To attend a movie, you simply search within the app for your local participating theater, select what movie you would like to see and at what time, and then “Check In”. Once you are checked in, MoviePass immediately loads the debit card with the full cost of one ticket and you use your card to pay. Simple as that!
The only caveat to this is that you must be within 100 yards of the theater you would like to attend in order to check-in. You can’t buy the tickets through the app – you have to purchase the ticket at the theater. If you are someone who buys tickets days in advance, this takes a little getting used to.
How many theaters participate?
As of right now, MoviePass says that about 91% of the theaters around the country participate, including many indie theaters. You won’t find any premium theaters such as ArcLight or The Lot, but a majority of the major chains do participate.
The picture on the left shows the participating theaters in the general San Diego area. The picture on the right is for my friends and family back home. You're welcome.
As most educated consumers, we had A LOT OF doubts about this service. Could you really go to the movie theaters once a day for just $9.95? What was the catch? What were the limitations? It seemed way too good to be true.
My handsome Mr. San Diego decided to test the service out himself to see if it really lived up to the hype. Since the buzz about the price drop was relatively fresh when Mr. San Diego signed up for the service, it took several weeks for him to receive his subscription card. Once it came in, all he had to do was download the app and activate his new MoviePass debit card.
We went to one of the local participating theaters, checked in to a movie, walked up to the ticket kiosk, swiped his MoviePass card, and got his movie ticket! It worked! We were incredibly relieved that we were not tricked into an exception-laden scam. Since we saw a movie that had been out for a while and was not in high demand, we decided to go back the very next day to watch a brand new major release. We assumed that we might not be able to get a ticket since the movie has just come out that day, but again, his ticket printed with NO ISSUES. Again and again we went to the theater, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and again and again, it worked without issue.
The photo on the left shows how the app displays the showings and their times. The photo on the right shows you the "Check In" option.
After a few trips to the movies, I got a MoviePass subscription of my own and only had to wait five days to get my card compared to Mr. San Diego’s several weeks of waiting. We have seen A LOT of movies this past month and date night has now been a whole lot cheaper!
Now that we are seasoned MoviePass Pros, Mr. San Diego and I have compiled our Pros and Cons for the service:
You really only have to pay the $9.95 a month.
You can see any 2D movie showing.
You no longer have to wait until a movie is out on Netflix or On Demand because the movie looks interesting but not good enough to spend $40 on.
No Blackout Dates.
You can easily cancel directly through the app at any time without any cancelation fees. You don’t have to call and speak to someone to cancel.
The app keeps track of what you watched and when. If you’re the type who blogs about your favorite movies of the year, this may be helpful for you.
CONS (Sort of – more like FYI)
You can only have one subscription per card. Mr. San Diego and I each have to buy one ticket at a time, so if you are going to a theater with assigned seating, you have to coordinate to make sure you get seats next to each other. While this has not posed an issue for us, it is something to consider.
You cannot see what is showing on future dates, only the showing and times for the current day. You can always go to Fandango to see what is showing, so it’s really not too big of a deal.
No 3D, IMAX, or special event movies. While this doesn’t bother me at all because I think 3D movies ARE THE WORST AND COMPLETELY POINTLESS, this might bother others.
You can only see a movie once. Therefore, Mr. San Diego and I will not be able to see Star Wars every single day for a week using our passes. Again, not that big of a deal.
The app isn’t state-of-the-art but it’s functional enough.
Not every theater participates. My favorite theater in town, The Lot, is one of the exclusions (WAHHH). However, we have plenty other participating theaters in the area we can go to.
Now that I have evangelized you on this awesome service, you can get your very own subscription by going to MoviePass.com.