MoviePass: For $35 a Month Get Unlimited Movies at (Almost) Every NYC Theatre
I go to a lot of movies, in a lot of different theaters, in neighborhoods all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. And by a lot I mean around 120 a year, which is about 10 a month, or 2 or 3 every week. I see documentaries and art films, Hollywood blockbusters and rom-coms, foreign films, indie films, animation, action, comedy, thrillers, dramas, love stories… anything, really.
So when I first heard about MoviePass, a subscription service that offers single tickets to an unlimited number of movies for a flat monthly fee, I was pretty excited, though more than a little skeptical. Most places charge $14.50 a ticket these days for non-3D shows, and even the cheapest theater I frequent, the great newish Williamsburg Cinemas, is $11. MoviePass costs $35 a month. I did the math. Clearly there is potential here, but it also sounds too good to be true, right?
Is MoviePass Worth Getting?
A while back I put my name on the MoviePass waiting list, and finally received my invite to join just before Memorial Day this year. After some back-and-forth with a pleasantly responsive sales rep via their online "live chat" feature, I took the plunge, signing up for an annual membership. And I must say, a little over a month into my commitment, MoviePass is everything they promised it would be. For frequent moviegoers, this service is incredible. Here's how it works...
Prices, Shipping, and Participating Locations
* Sign up for year of MoviePass at $35 a month, which will be automatically deducted each time from whatever card you give them. There is also a $25 membership fee and a $4.99 shipping charge for your card, so that first month is really $65. Which is still only about five movies.
* You'll receive your MoviePass card by mail in about five days; your first 30 days begins when you activate it online. You also have to download the MoviePass app to your smart phone, either iPhone or Android.
* Bring your phone and card to almost any theater in town, check in with your app–it's a simple process that takes about two minutes–buy your ticket with your card. One painful theater omission from the MoviePass family is my personal favorite, the Sunshine on Houston Street. And there's no Film Forum or Cinema Village either. But everything else is here: all the AMCs and Regals and Clearviews, the IFC and the Angelika, BAM, Williamsburg, Nitehawk, Elinor Bunin at Lincoln Center, the Quad.
The Downsides of Having the Subscription
*The only movies not covered with MoviePass are anything IMAX or 3D. 2D versions of anything are fine though. New releases, opening night, also fine, though you can only pay to see any given movie once with your MoviePass.
*A potential downside: you can't order tickets online with MoviePass; you have to physically be at the theater. You can, however, buy tickets in advance. For instance, if you walk by a theater in the morning, you can get a seat for that night, or the next night, or whenever.
*I've seen 14 movies since June 1 using MoviePass. Twelve times it worked exactly as I wanted it to. One time my movie wasn't listed on the app's theater schedule, but MoviePass refunded my admission after I sent them a photo of my stub. Another time the theater (the IFC) didn't have any movies listed; instead the app screen showed a message to call customer service. Which I did, and three minutes later someone authorized my card remotely for the movie I had planned on seeing. Twice in 14 tries is maybe a little high, mishap-wise, but even with the initial add-on fees, I've already saved almost $100 with MoviePass. In about six weeks. So far, seems totally worth it.
How to Get Your Own MoviePass:
You can find more information about MoviePass, including a list of theaters online. I'm not sure whether you can sign up immediately if you want, or whether they're still doing the "request an invite" thing, but either way, the website's where you get started.