Are Netflix & redbox killing the movie theater experience? Is MoviePass worth it?

Update: I wrote a bad review after using their service for one month.

I have asked several friends how many movies they normally saw in a month, the answers were shockingly similar.  Most friends replied with none to once because Netflix makes it so affordable.  Redbox is only $1 a rental. The cost of a movie ticket near me is $10 on the weekend and $5 M-T.  My girlfriend and I will usually get popcorn and pop, our total is usually $30 all together on the weekend to a theater.  A lot of people assume movie theaters profit 50% per movie ticket sold, this is untrue (Movie theaters make most of their money from concessions).   Movie theaters need to make it more affordable for more people to go see movies.  I remember as a kid in middle school / high school movie tickets were only $3! I heard in NY they are up to $14!

I was reading 20 Innovative Startups on BusinessInsider and came across MoviePass.  I became immediately intrigued on how they managed to pull this startup off.  “MoviePass lets users attend all of the movies they want in theaters for a fixed price. It’s great for theaters, which have been having trouble getting people in seats.  It also collects data on movie goers.”

I am currently using MoviePass for one month and trying to take full advantage of seeing 1 movie each day for 30 days.  The rules are you can only see 1 movie per day and only view each movie once.

I was skeptical about MoviePass when I started researching it.  I noticed a lot of negative feedback on their Facebook wall regarding a bunch of movie theaters being pulled from their partnership.  AMC has stated none of their theaters will be part of MoviePass.  After users signed up for MoviePass’s monthly subscription expecting to redeem their tickets at AMC theaters, they felt cheated and lots of backlash started.  However, like any company, things happen.  MoviePass wrote a status update that I felt reached out to all the subscribers in a good manner. Letting them know they can have their money back with no questions asked.  I was happy to see them provide good customer service and approach the situation like this, it made me more comfortable giving them a try.  It must be a headache for the company to try and work with every single movie theater company.  Right now the current prices are $34.99 a month.

I’m not real sure on how MoviePass even makes revenue if users are taking full advantage of this (which anyone who signs up for this will).

The process to view a movie is quite simple, you put in your zip code and theaters around you populate with showtimes.  Click the showtime you want to see  and print a voucher.  The voucher caught my attention.  It prints a credit card with my name and shows the address, zip code and security code of the card.  The employee enters that in each time to buy the ticket. I’m very interested on how they actually create a new credit card each time.

The tickets can be easily redeemed by a friend if you choose not to see a certain movie.  The TOS does state this is not allowed, but movie theaters have never once asked me for my ID.  I’m not trying to encourage users to do this, but simply pointing out what I’ve noticed.

Each voucher for me has a price value up to $13.  I went to see Immortals in 3D for my first movie and was questioning whether I would have to pay the difference since it might be more in 3D.  MoviePass does state that I do have to pay the difference if it’s more, but fortunately I went on a weekday and the price with 3D was only $8.50.

After using the product for three days and hearing feedback from my friends, I don’t see this lasting very long.  I really think their concept is awesome, but with Netflix and Redbox it makes it hard to try and get people to the movie theaters for a monthly price of $34.99.  Not to mention, most people don’t go to the movie theaters alone, so they have to find someone to go with them every time. If the price was $34.99 for 2 people instead of 1, it might be more realistic.  Most of the theaters that are available are farther away from where I want to go, the closest ones are AMC to me.  I recently tweeted MoviePass to get the link to their android app and they stated they are not mobile yet (as well as no mobile version to site).

I have always wanted to work with the movie companies with startup ideas, hopefully MoviePass can prove us all wrong.

Movies I saw with MoviePass (will be updated):

  • Immortals 3D $8.50
    • First time redeeming voucher went smooth, cashier was a bit puzzled because he never seen these type of vouchers before but got my ticket within a couple minutes.
  • Tower Heist $9.50
    • I originally bought a ticket for J. Edgar, was running late to the showing, they let me use that coupon for Tower Heist.  On MoviePass’s help page they stated if you print a coupon for the wrong time you are screwed, but this is not true.
  • Rum Diary $5
  • J. Edgar $10.50
  • Harold & Kumar 3D $7
  • Muppets $9.50