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Unlimited movie theater pass system on hold

Unlimited movie theater pass system on hold (photo)

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So remember a few days ago when I wrote a piece called “What I want from an all-you-can-watch movie theater pass?” That was inspired by the news of MoviePass, a program that would offer unlimited Netflix-esque access to movie theaters for a flat monthly rate. The things I wanted were like “reasonable pricing and “reserved seating” but I guess I should have included more basic stuff like “that it exists and is available to the public” and “doesn’t draw the white-hot rage of exhibitors.”

The story breaking last night from Wired, who got my hopes up by telling me about this idea in the first place, is that MoviePass’ beta test, which was supposed to kick off this weekend in San Francisco, is now on hold, ostensibly because they built this entire product based around movie theaters without getting the movie theaters’ support. In the words of George Costanza, “was that wrong? Should I not have done that?”

Well, yes, obviously! Apparently, MoviePass “coordinated its ticketing with online ticket sellers, instead of cinemas, after not being able to get exhibitors to sign on.” In other words, the theaters said no so the company tried an end-around by working up a technology that worked with online ticket websites instead. When the service was announced, all these companies read the news with incredulity. One exhibitor chain CEO whose theaters were unwittingly part of the planned beta test described his reaction to the news of MoviePass to Wired as “stunned” and added “we are not interested in outside entities setting ticket prices for us.”

That was number two on my list of wants for an unlimited theater pass, “flexibility across all movie chains.” And it’s pretty clear now that the whole thing has fallen apart that that was a big sticking point. Why would all these theaters want to work together? They’re competitors! In a business that’s based on customer loyalty, you can’t encourage potential ticket buyers to go somewhere else. Even more fundamentally, why would they want someone else taking and controlling their ticket sales? This idea might work for moviegoers — it definitely works for moviegoers — but that doesn’t mean it works for movie theaters.

With exhibitors balking, MoviePass is now, in the words of Norman Osborne, “back to formula.” If it ever comes to fruition some day, I would be very surprised if it had that much desired flexibility. I think we’ve got a decent shot at one theater chain putting together their own private all-you-can-watch system; it’s too good an idea for that not to happen. But an umbrella organization operating independently of — but utilizing the theaters of — all these chains? Don’t hold your breath.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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