A day is 24 hours, but 24 hours is not a day

If English isn’t your first language, that might not make sense. Hell, it might not make sense even if English is your first language. The distinction between a day and 24 hours is important. What is a day? That seems obvious: Monday is one day, Tuesday is another and so on. Now consider the period of time between 12 noon on Monday and 12 noon on Tuesday. Is that a day? What day? It’s 24 hours, and 24 hours is not a day.

When I signed up for MoviePass, and for most of the duration of my membership, the service allowed you to see one movie a day. You could go see that movie any time during that day there was a show time available: morning, afternoon or evening. You were even able to buy same day advance tickets; if you thought an evening show was going to sell out and you were able to get to the theater earlier in the day to buy a ticket, you were free to do so. That changed on October 31, 2013, when MoviePass introduced their Countdown Clock.

Basically, MoviePass altered the deal as they redefined what constituted a day for their purposes. The way it works is this: when you a buy a ticket for a movie, you are prohibited from buying a ticket for another film until 24 hours past the listed show time (MoviePass wasn’t entirely upfront about this provision). For example, if you purchase a ticket for an 8:00 pm show time, you are prohibited from checking in until 8:00 pm the next night. This means that if you wanted to go to an 8:00 pm movie two nights in a row, you wouldn’t be able to even purchase your ticket for the second night’s show until it’s starting. Additionally, you can’t check into a show time that comes before your clock resets. Using the 8:00 pm example, perhaps on night 2 there’s a 7:55 pm show time and you think, “It’s no big deal, there’s like 20 minutes of trailers anyway, I can go in 5 minutes late,” think again, because MoviePass won’t let you check into that 7:55 pm show.

I believe that this significantly diminishes the value of the MoviePass service, as it requires to plan your movie going days in advance in order to insure you’ll be able to see the movie you want at a time that’s convenient for you, and even then, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get into that show time. Unless I’ve already purchased an advance ticket, I don’t plan my movie going that specifically. I’m sure most people don’t either.

Maybe you might see promos for a film and say, “Yeah, I’m gonna see that when it comes out!” but you don’t immediately decide the exact time and venue. I would think most people don’t nail that down until they’re actually buying the ticket or going. Why? Because movie going is a recreational activity that people do in their free time, and most people have jobs, school, family and for other responsibilities that take priority over recreation.

I’ve already talked about the drawbacks of the Countdown Clock — in theory. Well, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been putting those theories to the test. Since MoviePass claims that you’ll still be able to see one movie a day under their new rule, and I dispute that claim, the burden of proof is on me, I’m confident that not only will I prove my contention, but also illustrate how the Countdown Clock will eventually impose a blackout date, a restriction MoviePass insists they don’t have. Whether I’m right or wrong, I’ll write it up. I’m already in my 12th month of membership and unless MoviePass makes some major changes to how they run their business, I won’t be renewing.

Also be sure to check out the other articles in my series on MoviePass:

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