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Movies Anywhere debuts sharing films with friends

Movies Anywhere users will soon be able to share three movies a month with loved ones, but the feature won't come in time for current 'social distancing' requirements.

Movies Anywhere

Digital locker service Movies Anywhere has announced its users will be able to share up to three movies a month from their collections with anyone with an Apple or Android mobile device, but the service is in a closed beta for now. 

The new Screen Pass feature enables customers to send friends and family a text from within the iOS/Android app and lets the recipient watch a single movie. Users can send up to three invites in a month, and like movie rentals, the recipients have a limited window in which to watch the film.

At the moment the users will be able to watch the movie on any device except Roku, but the company is working on a workaround. Not all movies are eligible to be shared either, and will appear in a section of the app called Screen Pass.

People have up to 7 days to accept the Screen Pass, and then up to 14 days to watch it. Once started they need to complete the movie within 72 hours. 

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The closed beta starts with a small number of customers today at 1 p.m. PT, and the company will be rolling out an open beta in early May. Movies Anywhere says the commercial rollout of the feature will then happen in late summer or early fall.

Sadly then, the feature won't be ready in time to combat the current coronavirus blues, but Movies Anywhere General Manager Karin Gilford told CNET the company is doing whatever's possible in these "unprecedented" circumstances: "We will be working to see if we can roll it out early if we can," she said.

The Movies Anywhere locker is backed by most of the major studios -- namely Disney, Universal, Sony, Fox and Warner Bros -- and collates movies across numerous streaming services, including Apple iTunesAmazonGoogle Play Movies and TV and Walmart's Vudu

While the new Screen feature Pass is not quite the no-holds-barred, "sharing your Plex library with the family" solution we were hoping for, Screen Pass is still cheaper for your loved ones than renting three $6 titles a month.