Movie Maniac

MoviePass keeps changing its mind. Here's the latest.

MoviePass is a monthly subscription service that promotes seeing movies in a theater.
MoviePass is a monthly subscription service that promotes seeing movies in a theater.

Oh, MoviePass, you're so fickle.

Earlier, I wrote about how the movie theater subscription service MoviePass — which let subscribers see a movie per day for just $9.95 a month — seemed too good to be true. Guess what? It was. But then it is — AGAIN (for now).

Let me explain.

First, some background on how the service works.

When you become a MoviePass member, you are issued a debit card. When you arrive at the theater, you check in on the app and select the movie you want to see. The ticket price is then loaded onto your debit card, and that's how you pay for your ticket.

Simple enough, if there are no technical glitches. But this being a world where Glenn Close still hasn't won an Oscar, there were glitches galore, especially when the service lowered its monthly fee to $9.95 last year (it was originally $30 a month).

Most of the kinks were worked out, though it took me several attempts to try to join the service through the app on my phone. I finally went old-school online on an actual computer, and it worked fine.

The new lower-price promotion worked in building MoviePass' numbers, which in January soared to more than 2 million subscribers.

Strength in numbers, right? Well, apparently not, because then came the changes.

First, in April, the company started requiring you to submit a picture of your ticket stub after purchasing it (apparently to cut down on fraudulent activity). It wasn't overly inconvenient and I understood their reasoning, so be it. I took a picture of my stub and uploaded it, no problem.

(If you lose your stub, there is a "Don’t Have Your Ticket Stub?” link on the verification banner. You’ll be asked to provide an explanation for why you don’t have your stub. But if you fail to upload your ticket more than once, you will then go to MoviePass jail. In other words, you'll be kicked off the service, your account will be closed and you will be ineligible for a new MoviePass account. Yeesh! Break out the handcuffs!)

But then came bigger changes. Last week the service announced it was changing its subscription plan (still at $9.95 per month) to let you see up to four movies per month, instead of one daily (it was actually still a really good deal). To lessen the blow, though, MoviePass included a free three-month trial of iHeartRadio.

New members would be billed for the full three-month plan at sign-up, then billed quarterly afterward, instead of monthly.

BUT if you were an existing subscriber and you joined MoviePass under the movie-per-day deal, your service remained the same.

Now, on Wednesday, May 2, MoviePass announced that it is going back to its original movie-per-day deal and ditching the four movies-a-month thingy.

"The demand for this unlimited plan is incredible, and we have a clear path to even stronger growth," MoviePass spokesperson Stephanie Goldman said in a statement.

But another big change announced last week still stuck, when MoviePass quietly altered its terms of use.

Under "service subscription information," it now loudly screams in all upper-case letters that "THE SERVICE PROHIBITS REPEAT VIEWINGS OF THE SAME MOVIE."

Whaaa? Now THIS I am not a fan of, since I have already seen "Ready Player One" and "A Quiet Place" twice and was looking forward to seeing "Avengers: Infinity War" at least three times. But no dice.

"We hope this will encourage you to see new movies and enjoy something different!" MoviePass wrote on its Twitter feed. Yeah, I know you're trying to get me to watch the new Amy Schumer movie (never gonna happen), but this is just drastic.

Alas, we can probably expect more change in the future. Because, in bold letters on its terms of service page, it states: "MoviePass reserves the right to change or modify the Service or subscriptions at any time and in its sole discretion, including but not limited to applicable prices, at any time, without prior notice."

Yeah, no kidding. See you at the theater, while we still can.

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