I've had MoviePass for a week or two now and I had high hopes for it. I run a video production company, and am very interested in all things cinema. There are a ton of movies I want to see in theaters, but I don't go because of the cost. For less than the price of 2 tickets, I can own the movie not just see it with strangers. So when MoviePass came around with a movie a day for $9.99 a month, I figured I'd give it a try. I've been to two movies in the last week, and I'm going to go to at least one more to see how it balances out but I'm pretty sure I'm cancelling.
My Viewing Preferences
Before I go into the breakdown of the whys it's important to know the who. You're either going to want to keep reading or stop reading if you can relate. I'm the type of person who typically watches a movie at home, in the dark, no popcorn, no phone, and usually after people go to bed. I want to be able to sit and focus on a film. I've seen maybe 3 or 4 movies in the past 10 years in the theater, but I get the gist of the appeal and updates. It's not like I'm a hermit, I just don't think the cost is justified.
The MoviePass Experience
I have to say, while I'm not enjoying the theater experience (more on that below) I only have one issue with the Movie Pass experience but it's a big one for me. You can't select your seat ahead of time. Yes, I knew that going in but I didn't realize the annoyance it would bee until I went to see Three Billboards today. I got there about 40 minutes early (at noon on a Tuesday) and the only seat I could get was front row. Granted it had nice reclining chairs but it was still far from ideal. However I lived a half hour from this theater and didn't really have a choice. It was either bail on it and drive back a half hour or deal. I dealt with it, but it took away from the movie. I'm not sure how they can fix this. Heck, I'm not sure how they can stay in business. But outside of that I booked a movie on my walk into the theater, 2 minutes later when I swiped my card it was all good to go. From that standpoint it was seamless.
The Theater Experience
This is where it all falls apart for me. I'm not a social movie goer. I'm not going to hang out with friends or whatever else. In fact I don't really care to watch movies in general with other people. So then when I go to the theater every little sound or whatever catches my eye. I saw The Post and the women next to me checked their phones a half dozen times (and sat right next to me after coming in during the previews despite the movie theater being 1/4 full). Today I saw Three Billboards... and every crinkle of a candy wrapper, every time the woman next to me covered her face, every time someone went to the bathroom, it all took me out of the experience of watching the film.
I'm not sure what the solution is, other than buying movies at home. Which is an annoying process when Oscar films are rarely available for purchase before the Oscars (a HUGE miss IMHO). But for now, without the ability to select a seat ahead of time and annoying people in the theaters, I think I'll be cancelling my MoviePass subscription.