What is MoviePass?
Since hearing about MoviePass I have wanted to join. Today I was sent an invitation to join at $29.99/month for a year (12 months). If you simply take that at face value I would pay $359.88 to watch up to 365 movies (1 per day). At the current value of $8.75 for a ticket (gotta love living in Utah) I would be saving $2,833.87 in ticket purchases. What a wonderful idea! There are some limitations to this but they are minor. Let's list them out:
- Limited to 2D movies (no 3D, IMAX, or other non-sense)
- Limited to 1 movie per day
- Limited to 1 viewing of a movie, no repeating a movie (ever)
Beyond those rules the service is pretty straight forward. You use the app to select a theater, movie and time, the app deposits money into your pre-paid credit/debit card and you use the kiosk at the theater to get your ticket. All is happy.
Early Termination Fees
The only real worry is what if you have to cancel within the first 12 months? The first 30 days you are safe. In fact if you sign up and never use the card in the first 30 days you are eligible for a full refund. No harm, no foul. What if you quit between day 31 and 365? You will pay no less than $20 to quit. Fair enough, you signed up for a year and $20 to get out is nothing much. However, and I directly quote their own terms found at https://www.moviepass.com/content/terms:
27.12. MoviePass is an annual subscription. You may cancel your subscription at any time before the end of the trial period of 30 days from the activation date. If the account has not been used during that period, the User will receive a full refund of any subscription fee paid. If the account has been used, the user will receive a full refund of any subscription fee paid, less the full retail cost of tickets redeemed using their MoviePass. After the 30 day trial period, the user will be charged a $20 cancellation fee to terminate their account, provided that the cancellation does not fall under 'legitimate grounds.' In addition, if the full retail cost paid by MoviePass of any tickets redeemed during the length of subscription exceeds the total subscription fees paid thus far, the user will be responsible for the difference. If the full retail cost paid by MoviePass of any tickets redeemed during the length of subscription is less than the total subscription fees paid thus far, than the user is only responsible for the $20 cancellation fee, and will not be refunded the difference. If a promotional code has been applied to your membership, the discount becomes null and void in the event of early cancellation. Existing payments will be calculated for their true value, not promotional value. At the end of the year the user can choose to not renew their account without any cancellation fees. If the user decides to continue their service, they would continue to be billed monthly until the user decides to cancel. At that point, the user would not be responsible for any cancellation fees.
Ok, assuming there were enough movies released each month that you could go see a movie once a day everyday, you would knock out $262.50 in ticket purchases each month (30 days * $8.75/ticket). You have to pay $20 + ($262.50 - $29.99)! You have to pay up to $252.51 to quit! Now the wording here is really wild. It actually reads like you have to pay back all the ticket purchases for the life of the account. So let's say you quit for some odd reason after 11 months of service. Using the same logic as above we end up with something like:
- 11 months of service
- 334 (days in 11 months)
- $2,922.50 in ticket purchase ($8.75 * 334)
- $329.89 in fees paid
- $20 termination fee
- Rough total of $2,612.61!!!
HOLY FREAKING COW! $2,612.61 for quitting early. I mean... wow! That is the largest early termination I have ever heard of. Let's be real for a second though. You aren't going to see 365 movies in a year (unless you do, then beware). Let's say you did see two movies a week, what I would consider a safe average. You would rack up $910 in tickets in a year. So if you quit in the 11th month you are only looking at $600 in fees. I guess the solution here is don't quit within 12 months, or make sure you don't watch more than 1 movie a week (roughly $30 a month).
One Viewing To Rule Them All
Let's talk about the third stipulation of the MoviePass. You can only see each movie one time, ever. In 2011 only 610 movies were released according to the MPAA. I can't tell you how many have been released in 2012 (yet) but you can bet they are over the 365 you would want to see in a year. So in theory this limit would not be a problem as you can only see 365. You just have to open your sights to other theaters in your area, and maybe smaller theaters (like art houses). As long as the theater accepts credit/debit cards you should be good to go.
Roll The Credits
Overall I would say MoviePass is worth the shot, as long as you are certain you can watch 4+ movies a month, and pay for 12 months before quitting. Otherwise as noted above... you could be royally screwed.
of movies released in 2011 -- http://www.mpaa.org/resources/5bec4ac9-a95e-443b-987b-bff6fb5455a9.pdf
$8.75 is the average ticket price in Utah.
$29.99 was my quoted offer, offers vary on region and expected usage.