If you’re anything like us, you’re going to spend the dog days of summer planted indoors, namely at an air conditioned movie theater, seeing everything under the unforgiving sun (Transformers: Dark of the Moon may blow your eardrums out, but at least you’ll be cooled off). While it’s certainly cheaper than buying a pool or sitting in front of your open refrigerator all day (turns out that really hikes up the electric bill), going to the movies a few times a week definitely adds up.
With the average price of a movie ticket in San Francisco hovering around $10, an avid moviegoer could very well spend roughly $100 a month at their local multiplex (that’s not including assorted goods at the concession stand, which, let’s be honest, would be about $100, too.) In other words, Californians, you may have to start subletting your living room in order to keep going. Or just start charging your out-of-towner friends for your Full House tour.
Alas, there’s MoviePass, a new $50-per-month service — launching this weekend in, you guessed it, the San Francisco Bay Area — which will allow subscribers go to unlimited movies in theaters. As reported by Wired.com, people who get the “unlimited pass” with the service — which is more or less piggybacking off of the insanely successful Netflix formula — can see as many movies currently playing in theaters as their hearts desire for the month. However, if you want to see a movie in 3-D or in IMAX, you’ll be charged an extra $3. By using the app, you’ll simply find your movie’s showtime, check in to your local theater, and go straight to the ticket-taker.
But is it worth it for the ticket line-free experience? While you’re more or less breaking even if you see four movies a month, there’s bound to be a lull, even for the most avid moviegoer. However, Wired also reported that a more reasonable “limited pass” option, with four movies for $30 per month, is on the horizon.
That’s not all. As MoviePass co-founder Hamet Watt explained in a press release, the company will “enable our members to extend their connection to the movie they just saw by pre-ordering the DVD, digital download or other merchandise as soon as they walk out of the theater.” Studios and producers will also be able to “engage with avid movie buffs based on their film-attendance history” — so perhaps you’ll get an email from Jerry Bruckheimer after your 35th viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? (Or perhaps not.)
Still, will everyone be willing to make the transition? For better or worse, we’ve all gotten pretty used to the movie theater line dilemma — automated ticket machines and the ability to print out your ticket at home have all but cut out that problem for many. And perhaps just as many of us aren’t “spur-of-the-moment” moviegoers, as MoviePass seems to be targeting. Better yet, it’s a safe bet a lot of people who do check out multiple flicks a month do the mythical movie-hopping, in which they simply sneak into another theater after paying for one movie. (We, of course, have only heard of this illicit ritual.)
Then again, we haven’t heard much from the Netflix naysayers as of late (just ask Blockbuster), so will MoviePass change the dynamic of movie-going for good, not only for theaters themselves, but online ticket outlets like Fandango and Moviefone? Is $50 too steep, or will it appeal directly to folks who want to get their monthly entertainment budget in order?