Flixster (for iPhone) Review (2024)

Flixster (free) isn't just another movie- and theater-information app. Yes, it does list movies with ratings and plots and theater show-times, but it also offers some major advantages over the general run of movie apps, including excellent Rotten Tomatoes ratings and social integration. It's a clear, well-designed app that efficiently gets you the information you need to make your movie-viewing decision and then easily purchase tickets. Or, you can watch movies right inside the app if you purchase them or have them in your UltraViolet collection.

Flixster started as a movie fan-themed social network. Later the company acquired the movie-rating site Rotten Tomatoes. In 2011, both were acquired by Warner Brothers, giving the app backing from a major studio. It's available for iPhone (reviewed here), Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8 tablets, and Xbox. There's even a Windows desktop application that lets you rip DVDs to UltraViolet cloud storage.

The Flixster interface doesn't waste any time with a welcome screen or tutorial the way MovieFone does. A list of new movies and top box-office hits, along with thumbnails of their poster images, are the first things you see. And it's not overwhelming the way the Apple Trailers app is, with its grid of images filling the screen. Flixster helps you grok the particulars of each movie in the list, showing its (very reliable) Rotten Tomatoes rating, lead actors, MPAA rating, running time, and how much money it made at the box office.

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You can search for a movie, or sort the list by popularity, title, or rating—just what's needed, yet something not found in the competing MovieFone app.

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IMDb Movies & TV (for iPhone)

One feature missing in Flixster is an equivalent to Fandango's Go Now or MovieFone's Playing Now Near Me button. Of course, you can just pick a title or theater and see what's playing soon. In any case, you're probably more interested in finding out what movie you'd enjoy most rather than that what's playing down the block in 10 minutes. Still, adding this feature would definitely makeFlixster even more useful.

One nifty interface feature is how swiping is integrated. You can swipe any movie to quickly add it to your Want to See list, indicate that you're not interested, or add a rating. Of course, all these options require you to sign up for an account, which you can do with an email address, password, and DOB (since Flixster can play R- and NC-17-rated movies), and even more easily with the tap of a Facebook button.

Flixster (for iPhone) Review (4)

The individual movie page is the most useful I've seen in any similar app: First, you get Want to See and Not Interested buttons. Second, you can play the trailer, read cast biographies, view show times, and peruse reviews, and look at production photos.

Once you get an account, like every self-promoting app these days, Flixster wants to send you push notifications. It will also show you which movies your Facebook friends with Flixster accounts like or want to see. I was surprised to find 170 of my acquaintances using the app. From the My Movies section, I could see a timeline of all their cinematic desires and ratings.

On the Theaters tab, you can set your favorite venues, and see not only what's playing when, but also a map, the theater's phone number, and nearby restaurants via Yelp. You can view show times by location, date, or distance on the map. For buying movie tickets, Flixster hands you off to MovieTickets.com in Safari, which is even less integrated than MovieFone's hand-off to Fandango, not to mention the Fandango app itself, which directly handles ticket purchase.

One annoyance of the Flixster app is the pervasive advertisem*nts—banners atop the home screen, and even full-screen interstitial ads that appear when you navigate to a new page.

Getting Movies on Your iPhone
If the movie you want to watch is no longer in theaters, Flixster offers several small-screen viewing options—the most of any movie app we've reviewed. You can purchase digital versions of movies from Amazon or iTunes (Apple's Trailers app only offers the latter, as you'd expect).

Even cooler is Flixster's ability to view movies in your UltraViolet collection. If you're not familiar with UltraViolet, it's a cloud-based movie service that lets you stream compatible DVDs onto any UltraViolet capable app or device. Flixster even has desktop apps that let you insert your DVDs to rip them to the cloud so that you can watch the movie through a mobile app.

The DVD section resembles the listings for currently playing movies, but it shows recently released discs. Even more filtering and sorting options are available in the DVD section; for example, you could show just science fiction movies from the last decade, sorted by Rotten Tomatoes' rating and available on Vudu. You can also browse the schedule of upcoming DVD releases. You can buy a digital copy of a movie here, too.

Movie News
Flixster gets credit for having its own editorial content produced by Rotten Tomatoes, including amusing commentary videos, and more standard fare, such as top awards prospects. It's not an overwhelming list of articles, just a five-entry swipe-through carousel of highlights and three stories listed below that when I checked.

Flixster is both the fullest-featured and slickest iPhone app for movie discovery and viewing. It offers the most way to get digital content, the unmatched Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and social integration that lets you see which films your friends enjoyed or want to see. All of this makes Flixster a PCMag Editors' Choice iPhone app.

Flixster (for iPhone)


Editors' Choice

See It$0.00 at Apple.com



  • Clean, clear interface.

  • Excellent ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Lots of on-phone viewing options.

  • Movie ticket purchase.

  • Original editorial content.

  • Connections to social networking.



  • Ticket purchase requires trip to third-party site.

  • Frequent ads.

  • No "what's playing now near me" feature.

The Bottom Line

Movies by Flixster has the best design, the best interface, and the most viewing and social capabilities of any iPhone movie app.

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Flixster (for iPhone) Review (2024)
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