Saturday, October 27, 2018

Why We Quit MoviePass

There was a line from The Dark Knight rises, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”  If MoviePass had gone out of business still having offered it’s movie-a-day plan, it probably would have been remembered fondly.  My parents and I signed up knowing that it was unsustainable, although there was hope that some miracle would happen and the model would somehow become profitable.  Alas, MoviePass had to make so many changes to its program that it became more of an impediment to seeing movies to the point that it became almost impossible for us to go see a movie.

Some were understandable.  People were apparently using other accounts (either a friend’s account or a dummy account) to purchase concessions.  Ok.  I’ll grant that it’s a perfectly natural way to cheat the system.  Thus, photos of the ticket stub were now required.

There was also the limitation of seeing three movies a month.  I knew that there was no way I’d reasonably be able to see a movie every day, even if I could make it to the theater that often.  Still, it’s a major step down from 28-31 movies a month.  This was bound to anger a few people.  It was easy to see stuff with other people who also had MoviePass accounts when you didn’t have to worry about coordinating how many movies you had left.  If I wanted to see a movie one day and my father wanted to see one another day, it meant that my mother might be one over.  If we waited, we might find out that we wouldn’t have been able to make it to the theater on the same day anyway.

For us, the death knell for us was when MoviePasss started limiting the actual titles we could see.  When a movie was not made available for the first few weeks of its release, this was done to save money.  Hopefully, users would just buy their own tickets.  However, to have a rotating selection of films of their choosing without knowing which films we could see on any given day?  What’s the point?  There is a list now of the coming week’s movies, but it’s still difficult to plan ahead.  Plus, it’s difficult to get three people to agree on a film as it is.  Add to this the fact that you can’t see a movie twice with MoviePass and you could easily be out of options altogether.

Granted, you could purchase a ticket for one movie and see any movie you want once inside.  Since most people shut their phones off, or are at least supposed to, it’s not like MoviePass could track you or anything.  I’ve also never had someone check my ticket once inside a theater.  Still, why be bothered?

I will say that it was fun while it lasted.  I got to see 37 movies that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen in the theater.  Still, MoviePass could have done better.  There was never an option for concessions.  There was never a family plan.  I’m still not sure what children were supposed to do if they wanted their own account.  It does seem to have at least prompted the chains to do their own monthly plans, which may at least be a decent legacy, assuming that it lasts.  (My question is whether AMC will continue A-List after MoviePass is gone.)

When I first signed up, I would tell people that it was a great deal.  That’s because it was.  However, anyone that signed up knew that it was too good to last.  Now, it’s more of a hassle.  I’m curious to see if MoviePass will be able to turn itself around, although I’m not holding my breath.  My parents and I have quit, but at least I got to see these movies:

12 Strong
The 15:17 to Paris
American Animals
Bad Times at the El Royale
Black Panther
Darkest Hour
Deadpool 2
Death of a Nation
The Death of Stalin
Death Wish
The Equalizer 2
Game Night
Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town
Justice League
Love Simon
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Molly's Game
Murder on the Orient Express
Ocean's 8
Operation Finale
The Post
Proud Mary
The Shape of Water
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Sorry to Bother You
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Identical Strangers
Uncle Drew
Won't You Be My Neighbor?

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