So Long, Moviepass

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Moviepass is a subscription service that lets its users see one movie a day for a flat monthly fee. It’s been around since 2011 and has gone through a lot of pricing changes over the years. In August 2017 they changed their pricing to $9.95 a month and the service took off. They send you a debit card, you go to a theater and check in on the app, and then that debit card is loaded with a set amount of funds to buy a ticket and you’re in. The caveats being you can only check in 30 minutes before the show. All of the theaters around me have reserved seating so when I go to see popular movies theres a good chance I’m going to be sitting close to the screen.

Now paying $9.95 to see 31 movies a month is a fantastic deal considering movies tickets these days can be upward of $12. When I first heard about it I was skeptical, it seemed too good to be true. But I took a chance and paid my $10 to see what this was all about. 2 weeks later I received a Moviepass debit card and it worked flawlessly to the first theater I took it to. It’s been a really interesting company to follow. They’ve lost tons of money but their subscriber base since 2017 has exploded. I knew it wouldn’t last but I was going to get the most out of it that I could before the whole thing fell apart.

There have been a lot of changes since I signed up. Opening weekend for Avengers: Infinity War saw Moviepass limit the amount of times you could see a movie to one. Before that, you could see any movie as many times as you wanted in a month.

At the beginning of last month surge pricing was introduced on top of the subscription fee. Depending on the popularity of the movie and of that particular show time you’d have to pay $2-$6 dollars extra to get a ticket. From what I’ve seen this really applies on the weekends for showtimes later in the evenings. Also if a movie has been out for a while most of the showtimes aren’t effected by surge pricing. Admittedly, I’ve used the service less since they started doing this.

Last week there were major outages where nothing was showing up on the app as available. Moviepass said that they would no longer be offering showtimes for movies opening in 1,000 or more theaters. They weren’t very clear on if that meant for the first few opening weeks or ever while the movie is in the theaters. Now there are either no showtimes listed for theaters near me or just a handful for movies that have been out for a while.  On top of all of this, the monthly fee is increasing to $15 next month. I think it may be time to jump ship.

The deal has gotten progressively worse but what can you expect when you’re only paying $10 a month to see a whole lot of movies. If Moviepass was started to disrupt the theater industry I think it did it’s job. AMC and Cinemark have started offering a few movies a month for a subscription. Being a Moviepass subscriber has had me in the theater more often. Before my fiance and I signed up we’d see maybe a movie every couple months. With Moviepass we were seeing at least 4 a month and buying more concessions than we have in the past. We saw a lot of movies we otherwise would have skipped. It also devalued movies for me too. I don’t know what it would take for me to see a movie at full ticket price now.

She already canceled and I’m leaning towards canceling as things keep going down hill. With the surge pricing and limited showtimes it’s almost a better deal to go to my Regal Theaters $5 Tuesdays than to keep paying for Moviepass and it’s certainly more convenient now.  Part of me has a morbid interest in just how far things will fall before Moviepass throws in the towel.


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