The Good: Quick access to movies and show times based on GPS or manually input location. Ability to watch movie trailers (in most cases) in advance of purchasing tickets. Ability to purchase tickets from the palm of your hand while on the go. In select areas, the ability to use your phone as a ticket (Mobile Ticket).
The Bad: With ticket prices being what they are now, paying a service fee on top of ticket prices can get to be expensive, though the convenience might be worth it. There were a few times where the screen froze up when trying to play trailers, but overall it performed well. There were a few occasions where the movie lists wouldn’t load for an extended period of time.
The Verdict: There really is no question that everyone should have this app. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever use it, it’s fun to watch the trailers from your phone on a boring day.
Fandango is a service that has been around for several years. If you’ve not heard of it, it provides moviegoers the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of actually going to the theater. Features of the website include access to information about theaters, show times, synopsis of movies, ability to watch movie trailers, and the ability to purchase tickets online for a surcharge. Now, all the great features of the website are available on four of the main smartphone operating systems: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Palm – making the movie-going decision-making process much more convenient for today’s active consumer. This review will be specific to the Fandango App for BlackBerry devices. It is currently compatible with the “Bold (9000 and 9700), Curve (8900 and 83xx), Tour 9630, 88xx and Storm 95xx all running OS 4.5 or higher,” according to the Fandango website.
I’ve actually had Fandango loaded on my phone for a while now, so I thought it made sense to review the app. Strangely, it can’t be found on BlackBerry’s App World, so you need to download it directly from Fandango’s website at http://www.fandango.com/blackberryapp. I’ve been using Fandango on my BlackBerry Bold 9700 in the metro Atlanta area on T-Mobile’s 3G network as well as my Wi-Fi network at home.
Using Fandango is relatively straight forward. To start up the app, simply click on the Fandango application icon (little red ‘F’) and it will load and take you to the home screen which consists of two main tabs: “In Theaters,” and “Coming Soon.” Each of the main tabs has their own sub-tabs. The first time you start up Fandango, you will be asked how you want your location information to be identified. You’ll have the option to “Enter Location” or “Find your location.” If you select “Find your location,” the app along with your internal GPS (assuming your device has one) uses GPS coordinates to determine your location, or you can input your zip code if you are in an area where the GPS is unable to connect with satellites.
Once your location is set, the app remembers it and every time you login thereafter (though you can change your location at any time) you’ll start out with the “In Theaters” tab, which as you might expect shows listings for movies that are currently playing in theaters. As I mentioned earlier, each of the main tabs has sub-tabs. The first sub-tab for “In Theaters” is “Opening This Week.” The names of the tabs in this app are clearly marked, so under the “Opening This Week” sub-tab, you’ll find movies that are opening in the coming week. As you scroll through the listings under this tab, you’ll notice the rating of the movies along with their runtime and release dates. There is also a section on fan ratings, if anyone has rated the movie.
When you select the movie you want to see, Fandango opens a new page for you. This page includes some of the things you’ve already seen such as: the title of the movie, rating, runtime, release date, fan rating, and a brief plot. Below that you have a link to play the trailer for the movie (one of my favorite features) along with two additional tabs, “Showtimes” and “Movie Details.” The “Showtimes” tab is the default tab and displays times that your selected movie is playing organized by the varying theaters in your area. You also have the option to change the date for your search (if you’re searching in advance) as well as your location. From here you can go through the motions of buying a ticket at a selected theater and specific time. As you go further in the process you will have the opportunity to enter your credit card information and save it for future use. In select locations you can use Fandango’s Mobile Tickets feature where your ticket gets sent directly to your device and can be scanned by the ticket-taker.
The “Movie Details” tab contains an overview of the movie you are considering. It has information on the cast of characters, director of the movie, genre, and a synopsis of the movie. These features are both important and well executed. Fandango isn’t just about offering you the where and when, it’s also about the why. Much of what we’ve seen so far has been the information you need to get you to a movie at a specific location, with a ticket already in hand, but one of the biggest benefits of the Fandango app is that it gives you the ability to make an informed decision on what movie to see by giving you the details and option to watch a trailer.
As we return to the main screen (the “In Theaters” tab), there are two more sub-tabs to cover. There are only a few differences in the second and third sub-tabs. When you select the “Top Box Office” sub-tab, you see movies that have had the most success in theaters over the past few weeks. The only real difference here is how the movies are categorized (in order of gross revenue generated), and that the amount of money the film has made is added to the brief information you see for each movie. Beyond that, once you select a movie, the process and information mentioned above is the same. The third sub-tab under the “In Theaters” tab is “Near Me.” This sub-tab contains movies that are organized alphabetically and based on your current location.
The next of the two main tabs is the “Coming Soon” tab. Here you’ll find movies that are coming out generally within the next month or so. There are two sub-tabs here, “In the spotlight” and “Near Me.” The “In the spotlight” sub-tab highlights movie titles that will be coming out roughly within the next month based on the anticipated popularity of the movie, whereas the “Near Me” sub-tab display’s movies that are coming soon based on location. For some reason, the “Near Me” sub-tab seemed to have some trouble loading the movie list on occasion.
Lastly, at any time during your use of the Fandango app, you can always press the menu key to access the “Theaters” option which is good for determining what movie you want to see based on what’s playing at any given theater. You also have access to a search function, and the ability to view “My Account” where you can add your fandango account if you have one, add a saved credit card, and view your purchase history.
The Fandango App for BlackBerry has a specific purpose in mind, to assist moviegoers in their decision making process by offering everything you need to know to make an informed decision. The app is easy to navigate because everything is clearly defined, and aside from a few minor glitches from time to time, it operates very smoothly. My favorite feature of this app is the ability to watch trailers for most of the films listed. The quality of the trailers seems to be pretty high and I had no problems streaming the video provided the connection was good. I did not have an opportunity to purchase tickets through the app, but on two separate occasions, aside from the testing I did specifically for this review, I found myself using the app to look up movies and times on the fly. Overall it seems well thought out and put together, and I would highly recommend this app to anyone with a BlackBerry that meets the minimum requirements.
For more information on Fandango for BlackBerry, go here.