Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MoviePass: The theatrical Netflix

Yes, I know, this place is awfully musty and dusty lately, but I did that on purpose to get into the spirit of Halloween.

Ok, I really didn't. I haven't been posting here much lately, because my newspaper job takes up much of my writing energy. However, Sir Critic will become more active again soon, partly because of a program called MoviePass.

Netflix has discs and their red envelopes; MoviePass has their red credit card and theatrical movies. For a set amount every month, you can see as many as one movie per day in a theater. You "check in" to a theater, like you do on FourSquare or Facebook, and that activates your card. You then buy your ticket with the card, just like you would a regular credit card.

This is a godsend for movie nuts like me who still like to see movies in a theater. The fee varies by market; for this Southwest Ohio resident, it's about $30 a month. There are a number of caveats though. I see at least 100 movies in the theater for a year, so it's more than easy for me to justify the monthly fee.

You have to have a smartphone to make it work. The iPhone uses the MoviePass app, all other phones use a mobile website. If your phone is dumb, you're out of luck. All the more reason to join the 21st century.

The program touts itself as "unlimited," but it actually has distinct limits. You can only see one movie per day. Though I often pull double or triple features, I can live with this. It just means I spread my moviegoing out a little more, instead of lumping most of it into the weekend. You also can also see each title only once, and that's a bit of a bummer, since I like to revisit my favorites or figure out opaque movies like The Master. But again, I can live with it, since I'm lucky enough to attend preview screenings.

MoviePass is not accepted at any and every theater. Rave dominates the Dayton market, and they're not in the program. Regal Cinemas are, however. One of those is very close to me, and a new one is being built south of town, to be located at Austin Landings. The two art houses here, Neon and Little Art, are also in the program.

MoviePass will only pay for one ticket per show, so if you have a friend, that friend pays unless you're feeling generous. If you have a date, I suggest using MoviePass for your date, then paying for the other ticket. That also means MoviePass is not ideal for couples with kids, although I think there is such a thing as a joint account.

And here's the biggest caveat of all: Since MoviePass is so new, bugs tend to run through the system. Te very first time I tried to use it, the kiosk wouldn't take my card. The second time I tried, the site wouldn't check me in at the theater. And on another occasion, their site didnt list all the titles playing in a theater. Fortunately, MoviePass does have attentive customer service. They worked with me and resolved my problems amicably. If worse comes to worse, and you have to use a regular credit card to pay for your ticket, MoviePass will refund you the cost of said ticket.

So do I recommend MoviePass? It's great for movie buffs like me; for the more casual moviegoer it may be less handy. Check it out and decide for yourself.

Since I've spent this entire post not actually reviewing any movies, I'll give you a preview of coming attractions, dates subject to change.


FRIDAY: Wreck it Ralph, Disney's latest.

THIS WEEKEND: Flight, Robert Zemeckis' welcome return to live action.

NEXT WEEK: Skyfall, the movie of 2012 I am most looking forward to seeing.

NOVEMBER 16: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.



1 comment:

Rob Bernard said...

I loved mine when I had it, but I had to drop it after they moved to the new system and dropped Rave. Hopefully Rave will start accepting the Discover card some day.