Is MoviePass a good deal?


With MoviePass’ new $9.95/month plan, you can see a movie — in a theater — every single day. Only the popcorn costs extra.


Oh, great: another subscription.

What with Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Spotify and so on, I’m not about to sign up for yet another… hang on. MoviePass lets me do what?! For how much?!

That was my reaction upon learning that, for $9.95 per month, I can hit my local movie theater as often as once per day. I can literally see 30 movies in a month for the price of one ticket.

Mind. Blown.

What the heck is MoviePass?

MoviePass made headlines a few years back with this Netflix-like idea of all-you-can-watch movies, but the price tag was significantly higher: $50 per month. The math had the potential to work in your favor, but only if you saw at least 4 to 5 movies each billing period — probably not realistic for most folks.

This huge price cut feels like a game-changer, though. (The interwebs seem to agree: I’ve been trying to set up an account for the past half hour. The MoviePass site is sufficiently slammed that I haven’t yet succeeded.)

But, OK, reality check: Is this really a good value? Surely there are catches aplenty. And it’s not like I have time to watch a movie every single day, even if I wanted to. Heck, I’m not sure there are more than a few movies I even want to see in a typical month. So is this thing a deal or not?

Let’s do the math

Yeah, it’s a deal. A ridiculously good deal. So good, in fact, that AMC Theaters is already pushing back — though I’m not entirely sure why. Everyone knows theaters make the most money from concessions, and if MoviePass brings a lot more people through the door, they’ll buy a lot more popcorn and soda. In fact, maybe they won’t balk so much at the ridiculous prices, seeing as their tickets were so cheap.

For the customer, the math is gorgeous: If you see just two movies per month, it’s like getting tickets for $5 each. See four movies, $2.50 each. You get the idea.

What’s the catch? 

For the moment, you’re limited to no-frills, 2D viewing — no 3D movies, no Imax, no D-Box or anything else that would normally involve an upcharge.

Also, you can’t buy your tickets in advance; you have to actually go to the theater and hope the showing you want isn’t sold out. (How early 21st-century!)

Finally, there’s the question of friends and family. Sometimes it’s just my wife and I; sometimes we take the kids. So do I buy four subscriptions or just two? What if it’s guys’ night out and everybody wants to see “Thor: Ragnorok” in Imax? Now I’ve got to pony up full price, or try to talk them all into slumming it on the small screen.

These are, of course, first-world problems of the highest order. My gut tells me MoviePass is a killer deal, something that will soon make the company synonymous with Netflix. Is it sustainable? That remains to be seen. For now, however: Shut up and take my money, MoviePass!

Oh, I forgot the really bad news: A tub of popcorn will still cost you $8. (Gasp! Million-dollar idea: PopcornPass. Mine! Trademarked!)

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