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MoviePass: See unlimited movies in the theater for $50 a month

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Avid moviegoers could soon be able to satisfy their craving for the big screen for $50 per month with a new startup service called MoviePass that allows members to see an unlimited number of movies in the theater, reports Wired. And rather than have to use pesky paper tickets for each flick, the service turns users smartphones into an everlasting e-ticket.

Still in beta, MoviePass uses a web-based HTML 5 application to let users find the movie they’d like to see, and check with the theater. This allows them to skip the box office (or those e-tick machines) entirely, and go straight to the ticket-checker.

MoviePass was just announced on Monday, and is only available through invite-only. Also, the only theaters currently accepting MoviePass tickets are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. But the company has much larger ambitions. In fact, MoviePass aims to transform the theatrical movie business in the same way that Netflix reshaped home rentals.

“Even with online ticketing, this side of the business is still a 75-year-old business and there’s not a lot of innovation, says MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes, who spoke with Wired.com. “Getting your tickets, how you do that, how you interact with the theater, how you interact with the studio, none of that has really changed. We’re giving the viewer a lot more power and also allowing [studios and moviegoers] to speak with each other.”

Users who sign up for the “unlimited” MoviePass can see an as many movies as they want for  $50 a month. Imax and 3D movies will cost $3 extra per movie. And the company is currently preparing to launch a “limited pass,” which allows subscribers four movies per month for $30.

Right now, only 21 San Francisco area theaters are on board. But the company plans to expand to other cities this summer, and hopes to have 40 percent of US theaters with their service by the time MoviePass goes national this fall.

According to the most recent statistics, the average movie theater ticket price in the US is $7.89 cents. At that price, a MoviePass subscriber would have to see seven movies a month to save money. That said, tickets often cost far more in urban areas like San Francisco or New York, where a person can sometimes pay more than $10 apiece. Obviously, that’s where the service really shines. Also, if enough people get onboard, it’s conceivable that MoviePass could eventually lower its monthly fee.