Coming to… well, a theater near you is MoviePass. You pay $50 upfront, and see all the movies you want to see for an entire month. Of course, like all deals that seem too good to be true, there’s some catches. First off, you can’t see the same movie twice, and you can only do one per day. 3D and IMAX movies come with a $3 upgrade surcharge. Right now you’re limited to your general metro area, but there will be a “roaming” pass in the future that will allow you to visit theaters in other towns. A $30, four-movie plan is also under consideration for future expansion. After the pilot program out in San Francisco, MoviePass intends on expanding nationwide in the fall, covering about 40% of the nation’s theaters.
Is this worth it? Well, that depends. For the hardcore movie lover, maybe, especially at the height of the summer movie season when there’s a lot of movies opening all at once. The $30 plan is definitely something I’d go for this July, when there’s about half a dozen movies out, or maybe during Oscar season. The one movie a day is a real deal breaker though, and it sounds like they’re selling this to the theaters as a way to get you to keep coming back to buy popcorn more than as a loyalty program. If I could do two movies a day, I think I’d be sold, at least for Oscar seaon and summertime anyway. As theatrical revenue continues to fall, movie theaters will continue to look for new ways to get you in the door, and I think MoviePass is at least in the right neighborhood. I’d love to be able to “pre-order” my tickets for the summer at a discount. If you could have bought 10 movies at a 25-30% discount all in one go, I know I’d be willing to pay up front. Hopefully they’ll find that magic formula and get the theater business running again, because like the majority of moviebuffs, I know that home theater is only truly appreciated after an experience in the big top.
The question I have to ask, though: how will this affect the home video market, if at all?