Here is an incomplete list of movies I’ve seen in 2018 using MoviePass: The Insult, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Red Sparrow, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Foxtrot, Sweet Country, The Rider, Lean on Pete, First Reformed, Ocean’s 8, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Gotti, Nancy, American Animals, Three Identical Strangers, Damsel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Hotel Transylvania 3.
I will be the first to admit that, a lot of those movies? Not good! But that’s one of the reasons why I subscribe to MoviePass, the movie ticket service that has up-ended the film industry: it removes the guilt — that feeling of, don’t I have something better to do? (I don’t) — from paying $12 for a potentially crappy movie. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to enjoy A Wrinkle in Time (I was right!), but I like watching movies in a theater, and all it cost me was my $10 monthly fee… which had already been covered by the first movie I saw in March. And the humiliation of having to say, “One adult for A Wrinkle in Time, please.”
But I’ve also used MoviePass for a lot of lesser-known movies that I might not have otherwise seen because I didn’t want to take an expensive (relatively speaking) risk. Take Nancy, for instance. All I knew about the film was that it was getting solid-if-unspectacular reviews and that it stars Steve Buscemi and the mom from Rectify. On an otherwise uneventful Saturday afternoon, I killed two hours, and liked it! Will it be on my top-10 list for the year? No, but it’s the kind of three-out-of-five-star movie that, with MoviePass, I’m glad I saw, but without MoviePass, I might have been perturbed that I didn’t like it more. I’ve learned to appreciate the “that was fine” movie since signing up. (There are other films, like Sweet Country, that I would have missed, but ended up loving.)
Now, do I think MoviePass is perfect? Lol, no. The app is glitchy, the “photo of your ticket” requirement is annoying, and peak pricing, where “subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand,” is the first time I’ve been actively upset at the service. (I had to pay an extra four bucks to see Hotel Transylvania 3, despite the theater being one-fourth full. It would be one thing if the additional payment went to the disinterested teenagers who work there, but it’s straight profit for MoviePass for doing nothing, the app’s version of the “resort fee” at a Las Vegas hotel.) Overall, though, I want MoviePass to succeed, but that’s looking increasingly less and less likely.
A recent story from The Hollywood Reporter:
Wall Street appears to have signaled the death knell for MoviePass, the popular subscription service that gives as many as 30 tickets a month to movie theaters for the price of one. Shares of MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics slid an astonishing 56 percent on Thursday to just a dime apiece. The stock is now down a remarkable 99 percent in a matter of weeks.