MoviePass - Unlimited Movies for $50/Month, Too Good to Be True?
"Are you ready to join a club that will upgrade your movie watching experience forever?" My friend Jordan from The Film Stage just told me about a new service he'd heard about on Mashable called MoviePass. Launching only in the San Francisco/Bay Area at the moment, MoviePass offers members the ability to see an unlimited number of movies in theaters for only $50 per month. I want this right now! It integrates with a mobile phone app (iPhone/Android) that allows you to reserve tickets and use your phone to get the tickets. "See as many movies as you desire at hundreds of cinema locations." How are they pulling this off?
If you're inherently interested, like me, in the concept of a "MoviePass" for $50/month that gets you into an unlimited number of movies, you might as well just visit MoviePass.com and dive in right away. However, for those looking for more details, I've included their introduction video below as well. As sweet as this is, there are some catches, and they're kind of big ones. Members are limited to seeing one movie per day through MoviePass, and they can only see a movie one time. If you go see the same movie again, you have to pay for tickets from then on. Ah, now I think I'm starting to see how this might is working on their backend.
Other conditions are that tickets must be purchased day of the show and that, as expected, 3D and IMAX showings will cost an extra $3 (which members will just pay the difference for while in the system). So it maybe was a little too good to be true after all, unfortunately, but this concept is still about as close to an ideal moviegoing subscription service I've ever seen. I've never really been a big fan of the loyalty programs at most movie theaters because they don't really offer much, but this is exactly the kind of "membership service" that I'd love to be a part of, just because it sounds like it allows you the freedom to go see any/every movie that comes out in a movie, whenever you want, without having to worry about buying tickets for it.
I'm honestly impressed that this even exists, though it is currently just a start-up, and looks as good as it does, because I know from experience movie theaters and studios like to have a lot (read: complete) control over the exchange of tickets and earning of money from any/every sale. It doesn't sound like they have any partnerships with the theaters, or even with Fandango or MovieTickets.com, which may actually be a good thing because they won't be restrictive to certain theaters, and that's a rarity these days. Apparently the MoviePass membership also includes "VIP treatment with invitations to advance screenings and premieres," as well as "discount popcorn, restaurant vouchers and more!" I'd sign up in a second if this was nearer me!
Given that we're now in a new tech/web bubble, with Facebook and Groupon ruling the world, I'm expecting to see even more creative concepts mashing up the world of technology and cinema. We've got some ideas for apps of our own that we're working on, but in the meantime I'm always curious to see what else is out there. I would love to try out MoviePass, but I'm unfortunately in Los Angeles and will have to wait until they bring it here. But considering this is the home of Hollywood and we have unique theater chains like Arclight, I'm worried it's going to be a challenge for them to operate here without running into problems.
Speaking of their future, on Mashable they include a few hints at what's coming up from an interview with the CEO. Word is that they're looking at expanding into New York City next, maybe this fall. However, they might have different prices in various areas, as we all know movie tickets are priced differently in every city anyway. They're also looking into a "roaming" or "nationwide" subscription plan that isn't limited to one city. I like that concept, but it's rare I see movies out of town, and when I do it's only once, but that's just me. I'm definitely intrigued and will be keeping a very close watch on MoviePass. What do you guys think?