Why MoviePass is Riskier Than You Think

I’m a frequent moviegoer and recent convert to MoviePass. For a reasonable monthly fee of anywhere from $6-11 a month, the card enables you go to one movie per day. It’s a deal so good, you keep wondering what the catch is. Soon I’ll expect to be at a movie and have an usher walk up and say, “MoviePass, right? Okay, time for your one vicious kick in the nuts per year. You had to know this was coming.”

I’ve used it for a few months, and it is a pretty solid deal. But every good deal has to have drawbacks, right? Below are all the ways in which MoviePass’s Faustian bargain isn’t quite as good as it seems:

It Knows Where You’ve Been: The MoviePass CEO got in trouble for saying the app tracks users’ locations. MoviePass doesn’t just know what theater you’re going to. They know where you’re going after. They know where you came from. They probably know where you’ll be next day before YOU even know. The next time you think to yourself, “Where should I go to lunch?” you’re going to get a notification from MoviePass that says, “You’re going to Chick-Fil-A. Trust us. We’re basically the app version of the cops in Minority Report.”

It Wants Your Lonely Existence to Continue: If you’re attending the movies as part of a couple or family, forget it. MoviePass offers options for single accounts only. This means every time my girlfriend and I go to the movies, we have to order our tickets individually. We can’t go to the box office without feeling like we’re having an affair with each other. That or that we’re on a middle school date and one of our Dads is going to be sitting three rows behind us.

No 3D, No IMAX: If you like watching movies on an unconscionably large screen, you’re out of luck. Any non-standard showing is off limits to MoviePass users. Since I get a headache from 3-D movies this isn’t that big a deal for me. It basically saves me  from the experience of struggling to look at a Magic Eye poster for three hours.

Whoever’s Behind You in Line Will Hate You: To get a ticket, you have to be within shouting distance of the theater. Then you log on to the app select your show time, and line up at the box office or ticket kiosk to swipe your MoviePass card and pick up your ticket. If you wait until you get in line to start this process, anyone behind you is sure to hate you. You’ll be more reviled than “I’ll Pick Out Which Movie I’m Seeing Once I Get Up to the Counter” Guy. Buying tickets should be an orderly, Soup Nazi-approved procedure. This turns it into a Process so complicated, Sixers’ management wouldn’t trust it.

Whoever Doesn’t Have MoviePass Will Hate You: For big movie fans like myself, talk of how many more movies you’re seeing combined with how much money you’re saving is sure to rile up non-Movie Pass users. You’ll begin to refer to the Pass (that’s what we MoviePass users call it) in reverential terms, almost as if you’re in a cult. You’ll try to convert non-believers using everything from peer pressure (“You don’t have MoviePass? EVERYONE is doing it”) to cold hard stats (“As this PowerPoint presentation shows, you’ll save up to $2,500 per year”). Don’t be shocked if you save your way into an intervention from friends and family.

There Aren’t Enough Movies Out to Justify Going Once a Day: If you like in a metropolitan area going to a movie per day could be great – there are plenty of options for movies in New York and L.A. But what if you’re a movie fanatic who lives in a smaller town? Nobody wants to go see Tomb Raider 8 day straight. You’ll end up losing your mind, being dragged out of the theater while screaming, “I had to get my money’s worth! Even if it meant seeing an uninspired, largely unecessary reboot to the point of insanity!”

I highly recommend this service for anyone who loves movies, but buyer beware. You may end up moving into your local movie theater. If you end up subsisting on a diet of popcorn and nachos while moving into an Incredibles 2 standee don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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