MoviePass Subscription – “Unlimited” Movies At The Theater

3.0 Overall Score
Usability: 4/5
Design: 3/5
Value: 3/5

A brilliant idea | Inspires you to watch more movies | Effortless to use the app & card

The app design is nothing more than a web app | Value depends on your movie watching habits

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the movie theater no matter what your taste in movies. The more movies you enjoy, the more the new service MoviePass is worth it for you. MoviePass is a monthly subscription for unlimited movie watching at the theater, kind of like Netflix, but for the theater. MoviePass averages about $30 per month, depending on your location, and you can watch any movie at a wide variety of theaters nationwide. In fact, if your local theater includes ticket kiosks, then it’s likely that MoviePass is supported, and you can view the full list based on your zip code, before you sign up.

The value of MoviePass depends on your love of watching movies at the theater because movie tickets can add up quick. Watching one movie a week at $8 adds up to $32 for the month, and the $30/month subscription is less. You can also watch late night showings at higher values, and you really need to understand your habits to decide if MoviePass is right for you. To help you better understand MoviePass this is what happens: you sign up for the monthly subscription, and a MoviePass card is mailed to you. There’s an iPhone app, and with it you simply pick the movie you want to see at a particular theater once you’re within GPS range. The app activates your card for 30 minutes after you pick the movie in the app, with just the funds for the movie, so you can print out the tickets at the theater. The card only works with the app, and for the particular movie you chose. It’s effortless to use, and integrates supremely well with iOS.

I have tested the service for the past month, and the biggest takeaway is that it changes your movie watching habits.

The Service:

Currently, you probably restrict the number of movies you see based on a number of factors, and MoviePass eliminates many of those factors. For me, there are a number of movies I will wait to see until they’re available to watch at home because they don’t seem worth the theater cost. Also, I try to go to the movies early, as they’re only $6 at my local theater before noon. MoviePass removes both of these limitations, so I ended up seeing any movie that would interest me since I already paid $30 for the month. Also, I didn’t restrict the movie showtimes as the late night showings price difference was no longer there.

You will want to see more movies to get all you can from your monthly subscription, and you can easily more than make up for the monthly payment. The main drawback with the MoviePass subscription is that there are a number of restrictions. An analogy between MoviePass, and an all you can eat buffet perfectly illustartes the problems with MoviePass. Imagine, if at a buffet you could only get prime rib one time, and you could never get it again. With MoviePass, you can only see a particular movie once, and you can never see that movie again using MoviePass.

Also at a buffet, there’s the special desert area, but imagine if it was off limits. That’s how it is with MoviePass when it comes to 3D and IMAX showings, as you’re only able to watch the 2D versions. Then say you wanted to go to the buffet for breakfast and dinner in the same time frame, but the buffet said no. That’s exactly what MoviePass does as you can only use it once per day, so if you want to watch a second movie, you will have to wait until the next day. MoviePass is described as a service that will let you see unlimited movies at your local theater, but that’s simply not the case. If you’re considering MoviePass, be sure to consider the watching restrictions described above.

The App:

The iPhone app for MoviePass is relatively basic, though it does get the job done. It feels like nothing more than a web app with long loading times. The MoviePass app is easy to use to pick your theater, movie, and showtime, but there’s no part of the design that feels like it was made for the iPhone. The app does have a slide-in menu screen to view movies, theaters, viewing history, and more, but the main page doesn’t highlight the movies. You’re left with a bunch of white space, and multiple menus to go through get any of the information, and actually perform the order. The app also isn’t yet optimized for the iPhone 5 screen or Passbook.


MoviePass is an extremely neat idea that is great for movie fans that love going to the theater in the first week of new releases, and have a wide variety of movie genre interests. In my testing, I realized that I never spend $30 a month on movies, so I’m actually spending more than I would otherwise. To make matters worse, I then had the obligatory feeling of having to go to the movies to get my money’s worth. On the flipside though, there were more movies I was potentially interested in seeing without any of my normal movie watching restrictions. Also, it makes movie watching a potential excursion every day, that wasn’t available before.

The service has a number of drawbacks though all revolving around limiting the movies you can see. The app is also relatively basic, though the entire experience is still in beta at the moment. MoviePass isn’t perfect, but if you can see yourself at the theater, and squeezing in movie watching at times you normally don’t then it’s a great service to have or gift. It’s also worth noting that if two people want to use MoviePass, you will need two $30 subscriptions, and that’s simply important because it’s not as enjoyable to go to the movies alone as it is with something else to talk to about the movie afterwards.

MoviePass isn’t for everyone, but for those that understand the limitations, and how it could fit in their lives you will absolutely love the brand new way to watch movies. Also, when you sign up for the subscription, it’s a yearly subscription for $30 month, so it actually costs $360 for the year.


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