COVID-19 has already cancelled most of my upcoming plans, but social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Streaming platform Movies Anywhere now allows customers to share up to three films a month with other iOS or Android users.
The new Screen Pass feature—currently in a closed beta—makes it easy to invite family and friends to a virtual viewing party. Choose from a library of new releases, trending flicks, and old favorites, then send a text from the mobile app to as many as three recipients, all of whom need to be signed up to a free Movies Anywhere account. They then have seven days to accept the offer, and another 14 days to access the film. Once started, the movie is available for 72 hours.
The three-share limit resets on the first day of each month; unused passes do not roll over. And because there is no limit to the number of times you share a film or to whom you send it, you can bestow a digital copy of The Greatest Showman to three friends in the same month while still being able to watch it yourself. Then lather, rinse, repeat, and enjoy the vocal stylings of Hugh Jackman 12 times a year.
Launched in February 2014 as Disney Movies Anywhere, the platform initially featured content from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and the Star Wars franchise via iTunes Store integration. The US-exclusive digital locker has since expanded to include Amazon Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Vudu, as well as subscribers of Xfinity and Verizon Fios TV services.
As The Verge pointed out, not every film in the Movies Anywhere catalog is up for grabs. More than 6,000 titles are currently eligible during the beta period, which is roughly 80 percent of the platform’s entire collection. Screen Pass availability is determined by studios, with some companies restricting newer releases, while others (Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM) aren’t even part of the service.
A closed beta began on Tuesday afternoon, and the company plans to roll out an open beta in early May. The full launch of Screen Pass is expected later this year.