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It’s Friday night and you’re in the mood to go out to the movies 6 Reasons You Shouldn't Abandon Movie Theaters 6 Reasons You Shouldn't Abandon Movie Theaters Movies are awesome. Watching a movie in a theater makes them awesome-er. Sadly, most people are skipping movie theaters and just watching films online instead. Which is something we simply cannot let happen... Read More . How do you look up nearby theaters Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Movie theaters need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest films. They need to stop competing on "convenience" and start focusing on "experience." Here's how. Read More or find showtimes?

Well, if you have one of these popular apps, it only takes a couple taps. You might be familiar with IMDb, Fandango, or Flixster — but today, we’re putting them all to the test.

Which one will be the best movie showtimes app?

All Three Side-by-Side

imdb-fandango-moviesbyflixster

On the left is IMDb, the middle is Fandango, and the right is Flixster. For each, I navigated to the page for Finding Dory to see how they compared.

To me, IMDb feels too busy. There’s a timer that’s just displaying a bunch of zeros now that the movie is out, and the showtimes are hidden behind a “Get Tickets” button. Plus, you have to scroll down to see any ratings.

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On Fandango, the Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango ratings are front and center, and you can see the beginning of the showtimes. Annoyingly, there is an advert for Ice Age along the top, but at least it’s a relevant for a movie goer. It also has the older Android style of having its logo in the upper left rather than a three-line menu, which shows how little attention the app has received recently.

Flixster is by far the cleanest of the apps. Information is laid out in concise white cards over a grey background, and the Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster scores are prominently laid out. At least in a direct aesthetic comparison, Flixster wins.

IMDb

imdb-1

The IMDb app is pretty clearly made for a lot more than movies. It’s better as a general repository of movie and TV knowledge than as a showtimes app.

Upon opening the app, you’re presented with articles like “How Well Do You Know Margot Robbie?” rather than nearby theaters or box office hits.

imdb-2

That said, it is easy to search for and find movies, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to search by theater like in the other apps. Once you find a movie, though, you can scroll down to find the IMDb and Metascore ratings (note the lack of Rotten Tomatoes ratings).

Then you can look up nearby theaters and showtimes for the movie, but you’ll be redirected to Fandango anyway to purchase tickets if you want to get them ahead of time.

The best part of the IMDb app is the amount of information it has about movies. Look up details about the cast and crew, quotes from the movie, trivia, multiple trailers, tons of photos, and even news about the movie.

IMDb is an information app first and foremost, and then a showtimes app. If your priority is finding showtimes quick, take a look at one of the other apps in this list.

Download: IMDb (Free) on the Play Store

Fandango

fandango-1

Fandango is really the undisputed champion of pre-purchased movie tickets. Both the other apps in this list rely on it for purchasing tickets. Unfortunately, its app is a little clunky.

Visually, it doesn’t look like it was ever updated to the most recent Material Design guidelines Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More , which Google uses to create a consistent user interface across apps. It feels like an old Ice Cream Sandwich 8 Cool New & Revised Features In Android 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich 8 Cool New & Revised Features In Android 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich It’s a new year, and we have a new version of Android. Known popularly by the code name Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 is an important update to Google’s mobile operating system. It will be... Read More app, which, if you’re used to modern-looking apps, is a bit jarring.

When you open it, major movies and their showtimes flip automatically right across your screen. If you’re looking to see a blockbuster, Fandango will get you there quickly. But slip open the menu on the left side and you’ll find massive buttons that look as if they were designed back when smartphones screens had 3.5 inch screens instead of 5.5 inch screens.

fandango-2

Once you get past the aesthetics, you’ll realise that this is really an app made for buying movie tickets. Search by theater or by movie, easily browse through different days and times, and buy tickets within the app (if the theater supports Fandango). There’s some basic information like release date, ratings, and synopsis, but nothing like what you’d find in IMDb.

Annoyingly, I did encounter fullscreen adverts every once in a while, which is much more frustrating than the (relatively) unobtrusive banner ads in IMDb.

If you buy a lot of movie tickets through Fandango already, their official app could be a solid choice for getting your transaction done as fast as possible.

Download: Fandango (Free) on the Play Store

Movies by Flixster

flixster-1

Flixster easily takes the design cake here. Everything looks so smooth and organized, and it gets straight to the point by opening up to the Now Playing tab under Box Office. You can swipe over to see upcoming movies or movie news too.

If you have a particular theater in mind, you can sort by theater, or you can even look up DVD options. Flixster actually allows you to sign in with a Netflix account and add things to your queue The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Wanted To Know About Netflix But Were Afraid To Ask The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Wanted To Know About Netflix But Were Afraid To Ask Find out all the best tips and tricks to use Netflix anywhere, any time. This guide is everything you ever needed to know about using Netflix. Read More right from Flixster app.

flixster-2

The landing page for any movie makes it easy to get basic information, read reviews, and buy tickets (though it is powered by Fandango, so you’ll be redirected to their website).

And that’s really everything there is to Flixster. The app keeps it simple, and thankfully it’s free of ads, unlike IMDb or Fandango.

Download: Movies by Flixster (Free) on the Play Store

Or Just… Google it?

google-movies

Google actually has some solid showtimes options built in now. If you search for a movie, it should display an overview, and you can either scroll down for showtimes or tap on the Showtimes tab.

This is a great solution for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about downloading another app, and it’s about as simple as it can get. Just make sure you have a movie in mind to search for.

And if you want to buy tickets ahead of time, Google will forward you to Fandango for that.

What’s Your Favorite?

As long as we’re still going out to the movies 4 Ways Watching Movies Used To Be More Fun 4 Ways Watching Movies Used To Be More Fun You might not have realized that your enthusiasm for movies is waning. It's no longer the good old days. and I'm sure watching movies used to be more fun... Read More instead of paying $50 to watch them at home Would You Pay $50 to Watch a Movie at Home? Would You Pay $50 to Watch a Movie at Home? The Screening Room plans to stream new movies to your home on the day they're released in theaters. The catch? Each fill will cost you $50. Are you in? Read More , we’ll need apps for looking up movie showtimes.

Personally, I’m a fan of just using Google, but the Flixster app may have won me over. The IMDb app is just too crowded, and the ads and outdated look from Fandango rule it out for me.

But we’d like to hear from you. Which app is your favorite, and why? Or is there a different app you prefer? Let us know down in the comments!

  1. Scott Hanlon
    November 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for writing this! Have you seen Atom Tickets? And also the Google search results now offers ticket options in their one-box between Movietickets.com, Fandango or the theatres own website depending on availability.

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