Screen Pass, the Movies Anywhere feature that allows you to lend a digital film you own to a friend or family member, is now available to all users in the US. When you share a movie with someone (which you can do over text, email or instant message), they'll have seven days to accept the invitation and 14 days to start watching. Once they begin the movie, they'll have 72 hours to finish it. Users can lend up to three films per month — though, beyond that, you can share the same title as many times as you want.
At the moment, approximately 6,500 movies are Screen Pass-eligible, accounting for more than 80 percent of the platform's library. To use the feature, you need to have redeemed a non-promotional digital code within the last six months.
The service, which centralizes your digital purchases from platforms like iTunes, Prime Video, Google Play and Vudu, started beta testing the feature in March. According to TechCrunch, the company accelerated the rollout of Screen Pass to meet demand from people stuck at home due to shelter-in-place orders issued by governments at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
While almost every business has been affected by COVID-19 somehow, few have felt the pandemic's impacts like the movie industry. Partway through March, Universal, one of the companies with a stake in Movies Anywhere, stated releasing its films in theaters and at home on the same day. The decision led to a war of words between the media company and AMC. The two eventually settled their dispute with an agreement to shorten the theatrical exclusivity window to 17 days and share premium video-on-demand revenue. With Screen Pass now making it easier for people to share their digital purchases, the app could be another factor that forces movie theaters to change their business model.