Is AMC's Unlimited Moviepass Worth It? Great Question, And I Have the Answer
If you love going to the movies but hate watching your bank account drain from overpriced tickets, listen up. AMC is partnering up with Moviepass for unlimited movies per month for a flat rate. Similarly to what Netflix did for in-home streaming, this subscription service will allow you to see one movie per day in 2D, 3D, or IMAX for between $35 and $45 per month. Moviepass Premium is launching in Boston and Denver in January to start, but they plan to expand if the trial run is successful. Plus, Moviepass' regular service (2D only) is currently available nationwide in more than 33,000 theaters — AMC, Regal, and many other big companies included — for between $29.99 and $34.99 per month. In short, you can sign up now and start seeing a movie a day for about $1, and there's a two-week, risk-free trial.
I know this sounds like a walking advertisement, but after using Moviepass for a year and a half, I can't help but advocate for the service. Where I live in New York City, movies average about $15 per ticket, and at the height of Oscars season, I usually want to see half a dozen movies every month. Without Moviepass, that would be $90, compared to the $34.99 I'm billed monthly. Even if I only see two movies a month, it almost pays for itself. And if there's a guilty-pleasure movie I want to see — like when I saw Tammy because I just really love Melissa McCarthy — I don't have to feel bad about it. After two movies in a month, I consider my others freebies.
Here's how it works: you download the app, check in to the movie (you have to be 100 yards from the theater), and it activates a Moviepass' Discover-backed credit card. With some technology magic, it loads the exact amount you need onto the card automatically, and then you purchase your ticket at the counter or a machine in the theater. It's that easy. Looking back at my Moviepass history (which you can view on the app with posters dated with the time you saw the movie), I've seen 54 movies since September 2013, averaging almost four movies per month. If I had paid $15 per ticket, I would have spent $810, versus the $525 I spent on Moviepass in 15 months. That's a savings of $285, and I didn't even see as many movies as I would have liked in 2013. Now that I have four friends with Moviepass, we can all go together and see movies once or twice a week while saving a ton of money. There are theaters available all over the place — below is a screen grab of their site showing just how many came up for my zip code — and I've even used it while traveling in Chicago, Boston, and upstate New York.
If you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, it won't. The only issue I've had with Moviepass is when it stopped working at my favorite theater. The 84th and Broadway AMC has plush red leather recliners for seats and I would love to just live there. Unfortunately, they jacked up their prices to $17.50 per ticket, and Moviepass set a $15 maximum for any ticket. Hopefully when AMC Premium is available nationwide, they'll include that theater again. The only other "con" of the service is that you can only see a movie every 24 hours, to the minute. It used to be one movie per day (so you could see one on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon with no issue), but now there's a countdown clock to show you when you can see your next movie. One time I tried to see Gone Girl at 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday and This Is Where I Leave You at 12:15 p.m. the next day, and I couldn't. We ended up seeing it at another theater, but it was still a bummer that they are so strict about timing.
All in all, Moviepass is a dream come true for frequent film-goers. If your typical date night is a movie out with your significant other, it's a great idea for you both to get. The same goes if you have friends who always want to go to see the latest new flick. Sure, you still have to pay for popcorn and soda, but at least the daunting $15 ticket will be taken care of. And, hey, if you want to go see Big Hero 6 by yourself and gently weep (no spoilers), no one will judge you.
Images: Lionsgate; Alyse Whitney (3)