For a cool $50-a-month subscription fee, MoviePass gets you into the movies whenever you want, as often as you want. Think of it like a Netflix for theaters. Following up on our coverage earlier today, CNET had a chance to get on the phone with MoviePass co-founder, Hamet Watt, to get some of the nuts and bolts of the all-you-can-watch service.
Officially launching to private beta June 29, MoviePass will only work at select theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area at first. However, with more than 43 percent of movie theaters already signed on, the company is set to roll out to additional select markets throughout the summer and launch nationally in the fall.
So how's it work? First, use your phone to reserve your seat at any of the supported theaters. Then, when you get to your selected theater, just flash your screen at the box office and receive a ticket, just as though you had paid. You don't have to print anything out at home, and you can use it as much as you want, as long as you pay the monthly subscription fee. For now, that's a simple $50-per-month, but according to the folks behind MoviePass, the company is experimenting with additional pricing tiers as well as a surcharge for IMAX and 3D titles.
At launch, The MoviePass mobile service will be accessible via an HTML 5 application, but we've been assured that native apps are not too far along in the pipeline. In addition to acting as your digital ticket stub, the MoviePass app will let you pre-order the DVD (or the digital download) right when you walk out of the theater, and not surprisingly, it will integrate with your favorite social applications.
Starting this Wednesday, June 29, MoviePass beta will be in full effect at the following San Francisco Bay Area theaters:
Clay - San Francisco; Bridge - San Francisco;Opera Plaza Cinemas - San Francisco; Lumiere - San Francisco; AMC Van Ness 14 - San Francisco; Embarcadero - San Francisco;AMC Bay Street 16 - Emeryville; California Theatres - Berkeley; Shattuck Cinemas - Berkeley; Piedmont Theatre - Oakland; Albany Twin - Albany
Big Cinemas Towne 3 - San Jose; Camera 3 - San Jose; Camera 12 - San Jose; AMC Eastridge 15 - San Jose; Camera 7 - Campbell; AMC Saratoga 14 - San Jose; AMC Mercado 20 - Santa Clara; AMC Cupertino Square 16 - Cupertino; Camera Cinemas Los Gatos - Los Gatos; Aquarius - Palo Alto.
See what CNET's own Media Maverick, Greg Sandoval, has to say about MoviePass here.
Update, Thursday, 3:50 p.m. PT: According to Deadline, AMC Theatres' Chief Marketing Officer, Stephen Colanero, issued a statement today that the chain would, in fact, not be participating in any beta testing of MoviePass, as "plans for this program were developed without AMC's knowledge or input."
MoviePass then issued its own response. "MoviePass is 100% focused on encouraging people to see movies in theaters. With the drop in movie attendance over the last few years, we thought that exhibitors would be our biggest allies." We'll stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.