Movies Anywhere’s Screen Pass lending feature enters open beta today

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Movies Anywhere is bumping up the open beta for its new Screen Pass movie lending feature from May to today. You’ll still need an invite to use the feature, but unlike the closed beta that’s been running so far, users will be able to sign up here to request to get access to the feature.

Screen Pass lets Movies Anywhere users temporarily share films from their libraries to other users. The feature allows each user to share up to three movies per month, giving the recipient access to the movie for up to 14 days. Recipients then get 72 hours to finish the film once they’ve started it.

There are a few caveats to the service, though. First off, not every Movies Anywhere title in the cross-platform locker service is able to be shared. According to the company, over 6,000 titles will be included in the beta period, which it says is roughly 80 percent of the total Movies Anywhere catalog. But in my own personal experience there are some big limitations — most notably, no Disney, Marvel Studios, or Star Wars films are able to be shared right now. (Given that Movies Anywhere says that Screen Pass titles are determined by the studios, it’s a weird omission, since Disney operates Movies Anywhere.)

Additionally, there’s a requirement that users be active Movies Anywhere customers to lend out their eligible films. To qualify, you’ll either have to have purchased a movie from a Movies Anywhere-compatible digital retailer (like iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon) or redeem a digital code from a Blu-ray or DVD disc every six months.

There’s also no way to view or connect with other users within the Movies Anywhere app itself. That means you’ll need to know that your friend has a copy of Mad Max: Fury Road in advance and ask them to lend you a copy through traditional means, for now — there’s no option to request movies from friends (or even see what films they have to share). Lastly, shared movies can only be streamed, not downloaded to watch offline at a later time.

Still, it’s a neat feature, and the closest a digital movie feature has gotten yet to the analog equivalent of lending a friend your favorite film on Blu-ray for a few days. The final Screen Pass feature is set to launch for all Movies Anywhere users later this year.

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