A little more than a year after its launch fizzled, MoviePass is back. This time, the self-described unlimited movie-watching service has gone digital, launching a smartphone app today backed by investors that include WME and AOL Ventures. The so-far iPhone-only app allows moviegoers to reserve tickets which they then pay for and pick up at theaters using a pre-paid membership card that acts like a credit card. The monthly price for the currently invite-only service is about $29.99 depending on where you live and ticket prices in that area. But like last time, the program is not “unlimited” and is moving forward without the backing of major exhibitor chains.
AMC, the nation’s second biggest circuit, said it “has no affiliation with MoviePass, and we’ve had no discussions with the company about participation”. (Regal Cinemas and Cinemark did not respond to requests about their involvement.) MoviePass insists that as long as theaters accept major credit cards, its membership card should work there and the theaters receive full admission price for every ticket. “We did have conversations with theaters but needed to remain stealth due to the proprietary nature of the technology,” a MoviePass spokesman said. Among its limitations, MoviePass doesn’t include 3D screenings — it allows subscribers to see one 2D movie a day, meaning most tentpoles will still cost you the premium ticket price. It also doesn’t allow for guests. In addition, the ticket-buyer’s phone and card must be close to each other and within 100 yards of the theater where the ticket was reserved for the geo-location service to work. MoviePass says this is for security but also stops you from lending your card to someone unless you want to give up your phone too.
MoviePass’ major investors are True Ventures, AOL Ventures, WME, Lambert Media, Nala Pictures, Brian Lee, Diego Berdakin, MJ Eng, Ryan Steelberg and Adam Lilling.