12+ reasons why you shouldn’t get a MoviePass

MoviePass pictureWondering is MoviePass worth it? I was too, so we decided to check it out for ourselves. Read on to see what we hated about the service, why it wasn’t as good of a deal as it seems, and why we ended up losing money on our membership.

If you know my husband, you know that he loves everything about going to the movies; the comfy chairs and popcorn, the previews of coming attractions, the sound quality and huge screen experience. Everything. As for me? I can’t get past the ticket price, especially when there’s multiple movies I want to see each month.

So, for Christmas he got us MoviePass cards, a service that charges $9.95 a month {or $7.95 if you purchase an annual membership on the recent promotion they announced} and allows you to see one film a day for free. This same service used to be $25-$40 a month, which makes the affordable $9.95 look even more so. If you go to more than one movie a month, then on paper it’s looks like a great deal.

But, is it?

Here’s 12 reasons why a MoviePass isn’t as good of a deal as it appears

  1. MoviePass may not be usable near you. While MoviePass says it works in 91% of the movie theaters throughout the U.S., there’s no way to get a good list of locations until after you buy. Luckily, the passes seem to be valid at all the major movie theater chains, but it would be nice if I could get a simple list of theaters by state or city instead of plugging in zip codes on their website and getting only the nearest theater.
  2. They can stop working with your favorite movie theater without any warning. It was mere days after we bought our cards that we heard that MoviePass was no longer working with the one theater we were hoping to use it at. Attached to our local mall, this theater was a great fit for us because we could be shopping and check movie times and then go out front of the theater to reserve our seats. So, now our options are much more limited and way less convenient than we had hoped. Dropping theaters obviously affects it’s value to customers, and for us the value dropped considerably when our theater was axed.
  3. Their customer service is abysmal. Their contact form on their app is horrible, and sometimes the help function in the app just disappears completely. When it does work, most of the time you get a canned response and then nothing. There is no one to actually reach out to, no phone number to call, and in my case where they dropped the ball for months, no manager to speak to. Tweeting to them on commenting on Facebook will trigger a request to DM, but then they are known for ignoring you once you’ve messaged them. Don’t just take my word for it on their horrible customer service, check out their F rating on the Better Business Bureau site.
  4. You have to have the card in order to use the service. This was a huge problem when even after multiple requests for help they haven’t been able to get me a card for months. Their cards are promised between 7-10 business days {they claim they don’t ship their cards and there is no way to expedite them because of that}. If you’re one of the lucky ones to actually receive your card as ordered, this should only be a two week wait at most. My husband was one of those lucky ones and got his card a week and a half after he ordered it. Unfortunately for me, I’m going on 2+ months and no end in sight. Others complain their wallet gets stolen or their card goes missing and they are left without cards for months after requesting new ones. I feel your pain, people. UPDATE: I finally received my card, right after I wrote this.  How MoviePass works
  5. You have to be within 100 yards of the theater to confirm your seats and then you have 30 minutes to buy your tickets. In this age of pre-buying and securing tickets to hot shows in advance, this step is often annoying. But, if you’re motivated to drive to the theater multiple times to try and catch a non-sold out show, this might not be that big of a deal. If the theater is a drive, however, this can be a deal breaker.
  6. Their cards sometimes just “don’t work”. You have your card, you’ve confirmed your ticket, and then you go up to get it and the attendant tells you it didn’t work. The theater doesn’t care, of course, and you are stuck reaching out via the app or social media, which means they will do nothing. I’m still waiting on a response from them from when this happened with our one active card almost a week ago, so this clearly isn’t a big priority to them.
  7. Their app is extremely “glitchy”. The app itself feels like a BETA version of what it eventually will be, where links often don’t work, you get logged out every time you close it, and your profile will say fun things like “no reviews available” instead of actual usable information. The one time I used the app to secure a ticket, I had to try multiple times before it would finally give me the confirmation page but I never actually got an error message, it would just loop me back through the app without ever going to the confirmation page.
  8. It’s yet another subscription to manage. We already have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, OneDrive, and a whole host of other subscriptions, so adding one more in the mix makes me anxious, especially with so many complaints on Twitter that the subscription is hard to cancel. With three kids to find childcare for so we can see movies together, I naturally worry that we’re not going to get our use out of it each month. And, since our many, many issues with MoviePass so far, not getting our money out of it has definitely been the case for us and it’s not for a lack of trying. My poor husband who actually *has* a working card hasn’t been able to utilize it because we’ve been perpetually waiting for my card to arrive.
  9. Meeting friends for movies is difficult. We like to go to the movies in groups, so it’s often that a sibling or friend will be meeting us at the theater to watch with us. The problem is that when the app glitches, the card doesn’t work, or when the movie is simply sold out, you now have a group with you that has tickets but you’re unable to buy one. This happened to us at Black Panther when our active card simply wouldn’t work and we were stuck either buying a ticket ourselves or heading back home and letting everyone we invited watch it alone. Neither is a good option when you’re already paying $10 a month for this service that you now can’t use and can’t get customer service to help you. If you’re one of those people who like to go to movies alone or solely with other MoviePass members, this won’t be an issue for you.
  10. 3D, special screenings, film festival showings and IMAX movies are not free with membership. The tickets for these types of shows aren’t covered by MoviePass, so you’ll either have to upgrade your ticket or find regular screenings of your movie of choice. While I’m not sad about the prospect of not seeing movies in 3D, the pain for me is that it’s much harder to find showtimes when you can only see the basic viewings.
  11. MoviePass is learning everything it can about you. In 2017, MoviePass sold a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a data company that can draw information from MoviePass members. While the company says it doesn’t plan to sell that user data to others, it can still use it to target movie promotion via the app or email.
  12. Theaters aren’t always appreciative of your ‘Pass patronage. There have been so many stories about theaters not honoring MoviePass cards once they hit a certain limit for the day, or restricting pass holders in other ways. This makes me nervous to utilize the card, especially in smaller, indie theaters or busy opening weekends.
  13. Bonus reason: The general consensus is that MoviePass will eventually crash and burn. Whether you’re in camp “how are they even making money?” like my husband or you’re in camp “this was a scam – they have my money and now are refusing to help me” like I am, it all just feels really close to imploding. I honestly don’t know where I stand on the matter – I obviously loved the idea of MoviePass in theory, but it’s been soured by my horrible experience with the company.

MoviePass Pic 2
So, is MoviePass worth it?

The answer is maybe.

Online forums quickly divide into two camps of MoviePass customers: camp “scam” and camp “lucky”. Whether you take the risk and sign up, that’s up to you. Just use the service at your own risk and know that when things go wrong, they go downhill fast.

If you’ve crunched the numbers and you feel like you see enough movies a month to get out more than you put in and none of these 12 issues with the service make you want to run screaming, it might be a great deal for you. If so, go ahead and buy it and keep your fingers crossed you will be one of those lucky ones who swears by MoviePass and uses it to see as many movies as you would like each year. But, just know that there are some serious downfalls to the service, most namely their app functionality and their non-existent customer service.

Good luck!

12 good reasons why you shouldn't get a MoviePass membership

6 thoughts on “12+ reasons why you shouldn’t get a MoviePass”

  1. We got it but then cancelled it after trying to deal with their customer service mess to even get it started. Luckily I got it through the Costco promo and costco refunded us no problem. Right off the bat, even though I had a promo code that I bought from costco for a 1 year membership, movie pass still wanted my credit card–when I posted asking them why if I had a code I bought, the only thing they did for a solid week was not answer my question and I kept getting an email from their computers every day asking if I still wanted an answer…that was my clue right there.

  2. Elizabeth, you are definitely smarter than I am. I would have given up so much quicker if my husband hadn’t been one of the lucky ones with a card that actually worked, but also part of me just *really, really* wanted the service to be great. However, their customer service is absolutely atrocious and when things go wrong from the get-go you have no choice but to deal with them, it’s really hard to still stay on board. I’m happy for you that you got out quickly and easily without spending hours on this like I did!


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