Earlier this week, news of an unbelievable deal to see unlimited movies at the theaters for only $9.95 per month spread like wildfire. Everyone was so pumped up that the subscription site and app, MoviePass, crashed after being slammed with interested new users.
The $9.95/month plan is no joke, especially when the average price of one movie ticket now costs an average of $8.84 a ticket, even up to $15 for admission in big city theaters. Multiple that price by the number of people in the family, plus some popcorn, candy and drinks to appease the kids, and you've got yourself a pretty expensive family outing.
The deal allows subscribers to see one 2-D viewing a day at any theater that accepts debit card payment (more than 91 percent of all U.S. theaters) with no commitments and no blackout days. Even if you watch just two movies a month, you'll already save half the cost of a regular ticket.
But as amazing as the deal sounds, is it really worth it, especially for families? Turns out, after a little digging, there are a few caveats parents should keep in mind:
- Your data is being collected.
It's not too surprising, but the company can justify the low monthly fee because it will grow the customer base, which allows MoviePass to collect data on a lot more people and monetize their movie habits. But hey, getting hit with targeted ads on Instagram for rom-coms and Milk Duds might not sound like such a bad trade for the amount you save.
- You can't buy tickets in advance.
Users will have to go to a valid movie theater, check in with the app within 100 yards on the location (you'll need an iPhone or Android) and select a film starting within 30 minutes. The possibility of not buying tickets in advance (remember when that was a thing?) and not having a guaranteed seat can be an issue for parents who are already exhausted getting their younger kids out the door in the first place, especially if they're hoping to view popular, new releases.
- MoviePass only works for individual users.
Currently, MoviePass only offers non-transferable individual memberships and can only be used by the account holder. Though they hope to add couples and families in the future, as of now parents on a date night will have to get their own individual accounts to make it work. If you're on a family outing, you'll also probably have to coordinate buying your childrens' tickets at the theaters for regular price. So, unless you're going on a solo trip and having some alone time with the "Baby Driver" crew, you might want to pass on MoviePass.