The evolution of MoviePass continues, with today’s announcement that the subscription movie theater service (which has quite the tumultuous past) will now offer a virtual card—hopefully making online ticket purchases easier, including at theaters offering increasingly popular premium formats like IMAX.
CNET broke the news, noting that customers will start seeing the virtual cards “soon” in the MoviePass app. The cards can be used to buy advance tickets through any movie ticketing site, and the company hopes they will help alleviate “timing issues” some have reported when buying tickets in person. The in-person function of MoviePass will still be an option for customers, as will the physical cards—for now, at least; the company is planning to phase them out gradually, with an eye toward theaters whose payment systems might not yet be technologically compatible. The new virtual card will still utilize MoviePass’ complicated “credits” system, which assigns different values to movies depending on their showtimes. MoviePass monthly subscriptions start at $10; that basic price includes 34 credits, which translates to “up to two movies per month” depending on where you live in the U.S.
CNET had a few more details to add to the virtual-card announcement. Starting in December, customers will see premium format screenings (IMAX, Dolby Cinema, etc.) become available; they’ll cost more credits than regular format screenings, and MoviePass will offer the option to add additional credit bundles to accommodate that. MoviePass will also soon be offering gift subscriptions, a feature made easier by the virtual card, as well as a “Bring a Friend” option for folks buying multiple tickets to the same screening.
Additionally worth noting this little bit:
MoviePass is also in development on an optional advertising program called PreShow, in which facial recognition is used to determine if a subscriber has watched an ad in exchange for additional credits.
Look for that to pop up sometime next spring or summer.