REVIEW: MoviePass - A Movie a Day for $9.95/Month


Over my short stint so far as an adult, I've learned a few things. One of the maxims I live by is "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't." So when a friend told me about this great subscription service where you can sign up for $9.95/month and watch any movie in any theater once a day, my first, second and third reactions were - "BullS***!" Some of you may have already heard of MoviePass. But now that I've had the opportunity to try out the service firsthand, I can tell you 2 things:

  1. It's real.
  2. It's glorious!

What is MoviePass?

MoviePass is a startup founded in 2011. The concept is a familiar one - pay a monthly subscription fee and enjoy a predefined set of benefits. In this case - going to watch movies in theaters. Over the years, it has done ok, charging anywhere between $15-$50/month depending on a subscriber's location and how many movies they watch a month. But that all changed in August when data analytics firm Helios and Matheson purchased a majority stake in the company.  At the same time MoviePass announced it will lowered the monthly subscription fee to a ridiculously low $9.95/month.

How does it work?

MoviePass Debit Mastercard

MoviePass works a little differently from other subscription services like Netflix or Apple Music.  When you sign up for the service, you will need 2 additional components for the subscription to work.

  1. The MoviePass Debit Mastercard.
  2. The MoviePass App (iOS/Android).  

Once you have both, here's how you can start using the service:

  1. Open the MoviePass app and select a movie.
  2. Select a theater and showtime.
  3. Select "Check In" and your debit card will be activated for purchase.  Swipe and you're off to the movies!

What's the Catch?

Again, for $9.95/month, the MoviePass subscription represents an insane value for any moviegoer. Honestly, every step of the way I was expecting there to be some glitch or roadblock to prove that this is simply too good to be true. But it never happened. So now I'm a believer. There are a couple of "catches" if I'm being really picky:

  1. You're limited to 1 movie per day. So technically the unlimited plan is really limited to 31 movies/month. But if you're watching that many movies per month, you are probably not spending enough time studying medicine. 
  2. 3D, IMAX and other special premium showings not included. 

Bottom Line

If you go to the movies at least once per month, the MoviePass subscription service represents a great bargain. Whether it will become that gym membership you bought but never use is completely up to you. But for me personally, movies represent a small escape from the medicine that we live and breathe and I will definitely be going back to take advantage on a regular basis. Be patient though, since the price was lowered, MoviePass has received an incredible influx of new customers and it may take a while before you receive your debit card.

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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.