Entertainment, Film, Movie Theaters, Moviepass, sinemia

Sinemia, a MoviePass competitor, abruptly closes down

Independent unlimited movie pass services seem to be coming to an end.

Image: Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

While moviegoers bask in the glory of a record-breaking opening weekend, film subscription service Sinemia announced it too was in the endgame now.

The abruptly on its website on Thursday that it was closing its discounted movie ticket subscription service operations in the U.S. immediately.

“Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US effective immediately,” said a message on the company’s website.

Sinemia offered a variety of discounted movie ticket subscription options in an attempt to compete with MoviePass and similar offerings from theater chains like AMC. Sinemia customers could see one movie a month for $4.99, two for $9.99, or three for $14.99 — although the pricing varied based on promotions.

When MoviePass started experiencing money problems and its customers began to flee the service, Sinemia attempted to capitalize. It rolled out an unlimited plan for $14.99 a month as well as a subscription-free up-front yearly payment option, which was essentially a discounted gift card.

“We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions,” said Sinemia’s statement. “However, we didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent movie ticket subscription service in the face of competition from movie theaters as they build their own subscriptions.”

With the sudden growth of subscription movie services like , the major theater chains jumped onboard. AMC, for example, provided a similar subscription service but in a more direct, integrated manner. Whereas MoviePass customers couldn’t reserve seats in advance, AMC Stubs A-List customers could.

But the real issue for MoviePass was that its customers were just going to the movies too much. The company offered an unlimited one-movie-per-day plan for $9.99 a month. For most locations, a customer going to the movies just one time would make that subscription a money-loser for the company. While MoviePass is still flailing about, trying to find a model that works, it never regained the hype — or customer base — it had in its glory days.

Sinemia faced many of these same problems, including legal issues. The company is facing a from customers for “bait-and-switch” tactics over processing fees the service would charge, on top of the monthly cost, each time a discounted ticket was purchased.

According to , Sinemia will continue operating a B2B service which enables theaters to run their own subscription ticket service. It’s unclear if Sinemia will continue its customer-facing subscription operation in the UK, Canada, Australia and Turkey.

Sinemia did not provide any information for U.S.-based customers who already paid for an annual subscription. Current users are out to their credit card companies for a pro-rated refund.

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