Tuesday Tip: Movies on the Cheap

by Tony Rushin


Any Movie, Any Theater, Any Day. Only $9.95 per month.

This is the headline on the MoviePass website. Too good to be true – right? Well, it’s legit. My son-in-law, Corey Shores, is a musician and Student Worship Leader at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church. Corey is an awesome son-in-law, loves movies and loves to find deals (he’s really good at that). He recently told me about MoviePass. It works for all major movies, all major theaters, and has no blackout dates. The only limitation I can see is that it doesn’t work for 3D movies; only 2D.

I did see some negative reviews about the app based on the amount of traffic they received when they dropped their subscription options that ranged from $14.95 – $50 to a flat $9.95 rate (they have 150,000+ new subscribers since August 15th). However, most of those negative reviews were right after they dropped their rate; here’s a representative review from yesterday:

The app is getting a lot of negative reviews at the moment however the app isn’t that bad. MoviePass has had so much traffic on their servers the app hasn’t been working correctly the last couple of weeks. However, now that the storm is over it’s been running way more smoothly and has been working well when I select my movies.

With your $9.95 monthly subscription, you can literally see a movie a day, all month long. And it’s only a monthly commitment: you can unsubscribe any time you want.

Here’s how to sign up: Go to the MoviePass website to join. After you have signed up, download the mobile app (iPhone or Android). Don’t try to sign up via the app: it’s much easier via their website. Unfortunately, only individual memberships are currently allowed although they hope to add couples’ and family plans in the future.

Here’s how it works: You get a MoviePass card in the mail which you’ll need to use at theaters that do not support e-ticketing. At theaters where reserved seating is available, you can use your app to select your seat (unfortunately, you can’t reserve a seat for your date at this time). The check-in process is simple and must be done within 100 yards of the movie theater:

  1. Browse movies and times on the app
  2. Once you’ve found your movie, click the showtime and click “Check-In”
  3. After you check in, your MoviePass card is activated for 30 minutes: simply swipe at the box office or kiosk to purchase your ticket. Alternatively, for e-ticketing theaters, use the confirmation code generated on your app at the kiosk or box office.

That’s all there is to it… enjoy the movie!

For those who are curious about how MoviePass makes money; read on. For those who simply want to enjoy movies on the cheap, you’re done.

Here’s how they (are hoping to) make money

MoviePass pays the full price of the ticket to the theater; so what’s the catch? There is no catch. The company plans to make money in two ways:

  1. From the monthly subscription (in particular, from people who pay every month and rarely use the service… like I do with my gym membership).
  2. From your data
  3. By expanding their offerings – make it an entire “date night” app: restaurants, parking, shopping.

To make money from the data, MoviePass needs to: get millions of subscribers and stick around long enough to monetize the data. They envision movie studios using the data to do highly targeted marketing campaigns for their films via social media.

MoviePass is playing the long game. Will it work a la Amazon? Time will tell. Some business-savvy people are betting on it: Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is their CEO and Helios & Matheson Analytics (NASDAQ: HMNY), a big data company, just bought a 51% stake in MoviePass (their stock price has risen 16% since the purchase was announced).

Who knows if MoviePass will become the next Amazon or the next Webvan. Either way, I’m going to enjoy the ride with some cheap movies.

Tony Rushin Headshot

Tony Rushin: In his role as VP of sales & marketing, he is responsible for hiring, managing and coaching the sales team and always staying on top of (and meeting) the needs of clients. Under his leadership, the company has steadily grown each year.

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