What is MoviePass and how does it work?

What is MoviePass and how does it work?

Chances are, you’ve had to sit through one your smug friends talk about how great it is having a MoviePass account. With how expensive seeing movies has become, signing up seems like a no-brainer.

But is MoviePass really the cure for blowing a day’s pay on overpriced movie tickets. It can’t be as simple as everyone makes it out to be … or can it?

As one of those aforementioned “smug friends”, I have had to explain how MoviePass works almost every day. So, I figured I would try to do my best to break it down in a way that you all can understand. Let’s get into it!



What is MoviePass?

To sum it up, MoviePass is a monthly subscription-based service that allows you to see as many movies as you would like in theaters that partner with it.

Where some theaters charge $15 for a single ticket, a membership to MoviePass will only run you $9.99 a month for as many movies as you can fit into your busy schedule. The only movies that you will not be able to use it on are IMAX, 3D, and specific special screenings such as 70mm releases.

But as far as all standard releases go, they are all fair game!

You’ll be surprised at what theaters have partnered with MoviePass. Even some of the most off the grid arthouse cinemas will allow you to “check in” and enjoy. 


But, how does it work?



Once you sign up for an account on the MoviePass website, your account will take a little while to activate – usually a little under a month. Once it has gone through, you will receive your own personalized card in the mail and you will be able to sign in through the MoviePass app.

The app will be able to detect which participating movie theaters are closest to you and will give a list of showtimes for movies that are available.

Then, find the movie you are looking for. Click the time you want. Click the button that says “Check in”. Voila!  You’re all set! You will just need to present your card to a teller at the theater ticket booth or kiosk in order to print out your ticket.

So, what’s the catch?

Okay. Let’s back up a minute. Here is the part that confuses most people and is the biggest catch about the service overall. MoviePass will only allow you to “check in” to a movie if you are within 100 yards from the theater where it is showing.

That means you will have to be within striking distance of the theatre in order to reserve your spot.

And speaking of reserving a spot, MoviePass runs on a system that basically pencils you in for your chosen seat. Meaning that if someone waltzes into a theater and chooses to buy the last seat from under you once you have “checked in”, that seat is rightfully theirs and you are out of luck.

So, technically you could see a movie on it’s opening night, but you would be rolling the dice on whether you would be able to get in or not. This makes it hard if you are making plans with a group of friends to see a big blockbuster on the day it comes out.

To sum it up …

So basically a MoviePass account is great if you are one of those people who loves to see movies alone and on days where you are feeling spontaneous. Who knows whether or not this kind of business model will work out in the long run. But for the time being, doesn’t it beat paying the normal cost for movie tickets? Now only if there were a subscription-based app for popcorn…


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