It should be noted that while I was gathering my thoughts and organizing my overall experience Sergio wrote a piece outlining the history of the pass and the many changes from its beginnings. You can check that out Here. Even as I write this MoviePass may have changed some of its policies but I will tell you about my month long use of the pass and highlight any changes that have been made already to the process that I know of.
Prior to this assignment a couple of friends had told me about the monthly subscription service that allowed them to see as many movies as they wanted. Intrigued I had visited the site to investigate myself. When I arrived at the site you have to sign-up to request an invitation. You can do so via facebook or your email and zip code. Before you request the invitation you cannot access any information about the subscription service. Even after submitting the information you informed that you are on a waitlist for an invitation and you're still not privy to any details; cost, rules, or even if they operate in your area. Eventually I received an invite via email but this assignment came along so I didn’t proceed further with the process on my own.
My invitation came as a gift, for this assignment, so I did not go through the process of officially signing up like the average consumer would. I received an email alerting me to my gift with instructions to click through to claim my month long pass. You provide your pertinent information and then you wait. I signed up December 24 and received a package in the mail from Moviepass on January 3. I can’t be sure if the timing of the package is typical of the service or if the holidays played a part.
If you can give points for presentation MoviePass could earn a few. Inside the package was a black box with the MoviePass on its top in silver lettering. Upon opening the box your movie pass; which is basically a credit card, is attached to the cover on velvet like fabric with your guide folded up in the bottom. You are instructed to sign your card, review cardholder information and download the mobile app. During my trial they did not have an app for android phones so I had to use the internet on my phone to use the service.
Once on the site and signed in I can choose a film by name or by theater. You can search but this option only appeared available on the home page. This is worth nothing because one may have to search if the film you are trying to see is older. Many of the films I was interested in seeing had been out in theaters for quite a while. All the popular and new releases were easy to locate.
You chose your film to “reserve” your ticket. Upon choosing your film you have to go to the theater. Upon arriving at the theater you have to go back to the site to “check-in.” The site literally ascertains your location giving to give you the okay to purchase tickets. Upon checking in you have thirty minutes to purchase your ticket. You do so like you would any other ticket and run your MoviePass; to purchase.
Now that we have gone through the basics I will provide my thoughts on my experience. I was a bit disappointed in the age of the Internet that it was necessary to wait for the pass to arrive to start seeing films. I kept thinking there must be another way.
Upon arrival activating the card was difficult because use of the website on my android phone was problematic. (While an app existed for iphone they had not till recently launched an app for android phones.) Eventually, I gave up activating on my phone and used my computer instead. Technical issues throughout the trial would plague me. Nearly every time I went to see a film there was some sort of glitch I had to overcome. Eventually, in all cases I was able to work through it and see the film I wanted to see.
MoviePass alerted me via email about potential problems using my MoviePass at kiosks and to see a ticket agent instead. This information was helpful but when I arrived at the window the ticket agent had no idea the pass existed. I explained to her how it worked and she ran the card as she would a credit card and I was able to purchase my tickets. She then further asked me questions about the pass.
During my use I felt like I was learning the rules as I went along. I had a pretty lengthy list of films and was planning to see them on the weekend because that was the best time for me. So I decided to see a double feature. After all I can see as many movies as I want right? Well, you can see as many movies you want but one day at a time. You are only aloud to see one movie a day on the pass. I went back to review to see if maybe I had missed this rule, if it was detailed on the site it wasn’t clearly displayed. No 3D films can be seen with MoviePass either, but that was clearly stated. Sergio’s piece mentioned an additional fee, but that option doesn’t appear to be available anymore. 3D films were unable to be reserved via the website I was using.
MoviePass has a customer service chat option to handle problems. But the individuals I chatted with could never help me directly. Instead they got an understanding of my problem and submitted an inquiry and provided me with a case number. I was told each time they would get back to me by Monday. Which in turn resulted in my not being able to use the pass during the rest of the weekend. My guess is that these folks are operating on a typical Monday to Friday work week. But most films make their money over the weekends so consumers would be better served if they could resolve issues more promptly. Another major problem I had was that my month long trial started when I claimed my gift instead of when I activated my card and my card was deactivated. I submitted an inquiry via the chat on a Sunday. On Tuesday, they got back to me and told me my issue had been resolved via email and that my pass ended after the upcoming weekend. But their mistake resulted in a loss of the possibility to see films over a weekend and they did not offer to compensate for the mistake. I received my response via email so I did not ask. The subscription was reactivated for the week, but I found out in transit that my MoviePass needed to be reactivated. I had the same problem as I did in the beginning trying to activate the card on my phone. And thus I ended my MoviePass experience frustrated.
Overall , I would say if you are a person or you know a person who often goes to the movies the MoviePass is for you. I saw enough films during my trial to make the pass worth the monthly fee, even with the films that I missed due to lack of knowledge of rules and technical difficulties. That being said MoviePass really needs to revamp customer service, or put in place some sort of system to somehow make-up for lost time due to technical difficulties. Hopefully the new Android App addresses many of the technical difficulties I had.
I was satisfied with the number of theaters participating in MoviePass. I was always able to find a theater showing the films I wanted to see and to see films at the theaters I prefer. I am sure this will vary from place to place.
Technical difficulties really colored my experience but when MoviePass worked it was a great experience. If they address the technical issues I would recommend the service to friends and colleagues.
Has anyone else used MoviePass? What was your experience?