by James A. Martin

3 Free iOS, Android Apps for Summer Movie Season

Jul 05, 20123 mins
iPhoneSoftware Development blogger James A. Martin spotlights three mobile apps for iOS and Android that help you find new movies, buy tickets, and most importantly, alert you whenever there’s a good "bio break" opportunity during a film.

When’s the best time for a quick restroom break during a showing of a big Hollywood summer blockbuster? Generally speaking, it’s any moment when nothing’s being blown up, no one’s being chased or thrown out of a window, and there aren’t any CGI effects. That usually equates to, oh, about two minutes out of 120 to make a run for it.

But there’s a mobile application that helps you be more precise about when to step out of the theater without missing the action. It’s one of my three must-have apps for people who still like to watch films on the big screen, especially during the prime summer movie season.

Flixster for iOS, Android

First up: Flixster, a free app for iOS (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) and Android phones and tablets. Flixster is where I usually start figuring out my movie plans. The app combines movie show times, Rotten Tomatoes scores, audience reactions, links to critics’ reviews, trailers, and, in some cases, the ability to buy tickets. You can also see which films are coming up and coming out on DVD, among other things. My only complaint is that lesser known or indie films sometimes don’t show up in the listings; I have to do a keyword search to find them.

Flixster iPad app

Fandango for iOS, Android

The free Fandango app for iOS (small iDevices and iPads) and all Android devices is probably the best one-stop app for buying movie tickets. Something else I really like about Fandango: You can use the apps to filter listings by genre and MPAA rating. For instance, after nearly two months of mind-numbing “tent pole” movies, I’ve been hungry for what I call “tadpole” films—the small-budget independent productions that swim outside the Hollywood mainstream. Fandango’s Art House filter can help you quickly identify these gems. However, the filter failed to list my two favorite indie flicks this summer: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Hollywood to Dollywood. Admittedly, the latter film, a charming, funny and touching documentary about twin brothers who travel cross-country to try and hand-deliver a script they wrote to Dolly Parton, has thus far been making the festival rounds (and won tons of awards) but doesn’t yet have a distribution deal. Even so, through a keyword search, I found Hollywood to Dollywood among Flixster’s listings.

Fandango iPad screen shot

RunPee for iOS, Android

The free RunPee app for all iOS and Android devices is sheer genius, and it’s a blessing to bladders everywhere. It identifies the best times for “bio breaks” during currently showing movies in two key ways. You can read about the suggested pit stops in advance of the movie and then just remember when they are. Even better, if you start the app’s timer at the beginning of the film, you’ll get a vibration alert whenever those “make a run for it” breaks occur. RunPee even tells you how long the break should be and what you’ll miss while you’re gone. The app also lets you know if it’s worth sticking around after the credits and provides an easy way to search Twitter to see what others are saying about the movie.

RunPee screen shot Android

Do you have a favorite app for going to the movies? If so, let’s hear about it.