Update: May 16, 2018: In an attempt to sweeten the deal, MoviePass is offering referral passes for a free month of the service. Current members can send the link, received via email, to up to three friends to use.
Those friends will still need to sign up for a subscription, though presumably they could cancel during their first (free) month without getting charged.
Update: May 2, 2018: Well that was fast. Less than a week after announcing a new "promotion" that got rid of its unlimited movies per month plan, MoviePass has announced the original deal is back.
CEO Mitch Lowe shared the news with Wired, adding that the company will no longer experiment with removing select AMC theaters. Lowe also hinted at upcoming plans that may include 3D films, which are restricted with the current unlimited-for-$10 offer.
If you haven't signed up for the service yet, you might want to do so now. There's now telling if or when MoviePass will get rid of its unlimited deal again, but at the rate things are changing, it could happen fast.
This article was originally published on April 30, 2018.
When I signed up for MoviePass eight months ago, I shared the skepticism of many others who joined: The math didn't add up. How could MoviePass offer tickets to an unlimited number of movies per month for just $9.95, when a single ticket for a Friday night movie at AMC rings in at $15.19?
Still, when my MoviePass card arrived in the mail, I cautiously started using it and was thrilled to find that despite one hiccup — the janky app crashed one night, preventing me from checking in to a movie — it worked just fine. Better than fine, in fact: I've seen more movies in theaters over the past eight months than I saw in the past three years combined. But a question still lurked in the background of my movie bliss: How long could this last?
Now, that initial skepticism is coming back with a bite. In the past week, MoviePass has made a series of changes that hurt both new and existing users, suggesting its initial offer really was too good to be true.
Under MoviePass's prior $50 per month plan, the same rule was in place. According to a MoviePass spokesperson, the decision is part of the company's "continued effort to limit fraud on our app and has been effective in doing so in the past."
We recently updated our Terms of Service to reflect that MoviePass subscribers are only permitted to see any movie in theaters once with your MoviePass. We hope this will encourage you to see new movies and enjoy something different!— MoviePass (@MoviePass) April 30, 2018
Then, on Friday, some members started receiving a message telling them they need to submit photos of their ticket stub on the MoviePass app. Forget to do this more than once, and you can bid a fond farewell to your account: MoviePass will cancel it and you will not be able to sign up for another one.
Finally, if you've waited until now to sign up for a MoviePass account, you're locked out of the best part of the membership: Unlimited viewings per month. New members still pay $9.95 per month, but can only see four movies. That price also includes a premium membership to iHeartRadio All Access, which normally costs $9.99 per month. Granted, that's still a pretty good deal, even if you plan on seeing just one movie per month. But compared to what everyone grandfathered in on the old subscription gets, it looks less than ideal. Plus, do subscribers really want music with their movies?
According to a number of tweets sent to concerned users, this latest subscription change, which MoviePass is calling a "promotional offer", will not affect anyone with a current unlimited subscription. "We're continually testing various promotions with different partners, and the current iHeartRadio deal is consistent with that approach," the MoviePass spokesperson said in response to inquiry. "This does not mean that our unlimited subscription will not be offered in the future."
Still, the future isn't looking bright. With reports that MoviePass is bleeding money, it seems like it's just a matter of time before the dream of endless monthly movies is gone for good.