In just one year, MoviePass has gone from Most Likely to Save Movie Theaters from Extinction to Least Likely to Survive 2018. To say it's been a rollercoaster ride is to understate rollercoasters.
Never mind that one ticket per day for $9.95 per month -- the much-ballyhooed plan that debuted in August 2017 -- was overkill and unsustainable. The company quickly turned loyal customers into angry ones by11 times in its relatively brief history, most of those in the past 12 months. And don't forget the time it or blocked all movies but a select few.
Assuming you're still willing to trust this company with your money (a questionable decision given thateven if you prepaid for an annual one), the current deal is three movies per month for $9.95 -- but you're limited to a "rotating select number of films." No thanks.
If you still like the idea of a movie ticket subscription service, however, Sinemia is currently offering three movies per month for $9.99 -- with no restrictions on which films you can see or when you can see them, other than they're regular 2D movies. What's more, the company just introduced an unlimited plan for those who really like going to the movies. It's $29.99 per month, a price Sinemia says is "sustainable in the long run."
But let's talk about the $9.99 plan, which I suspect is the more attractive choice for most moviegoers. That price is based on an annual Classic subscription. If you prefer to go monthly, you can, for the same price -- but you have to pay a $20 "initiation fee." If you amortize that out, it raises your monthly rate to around $11.65. What's the smarter option? I say go monthly, if only because Sinemia could run into the same sustainability problems as MoviePass (its claims to the contrary).
And, make no mistake, $11.65 per month is still a solid deal, assuming you go to the movies at least twice. Obviously it's even better if you go three times.
Sinemia has other plans available as well. For that same $9.99, you can opt for two movies per month without the 2D-only limitation: It would allow you to see 3D, Imax and other specialty screenings. On the other hand, you can pay just $3.99 or $7.99 per month for one or two 2D tickets.
You can also choose family plans for as many as six people, though unfortunately the rates aren't as good: It's $52.99 per month for four people, for example. (Shouldn't it be $40, which would at least match the Classic three-ticket rate?)
Finally, there's the new unlimited plan: $29.99 for 30 tickets per month. OK, maybe "unlimited" isn't the right word, as you are indeed limited to 2D movies, but it still works out to just $1 per ticket if you were to go every day. For the moment, however, this is a single-user-only option; there's no family-plan version.
I've been a Sinemia subscriber myself since early this year, and for the most part I've found it to be a fine service. As with MoviePass, you receive a credit card that you use to buy your tickets. But this one can be used with any ticketing site, like Atom or Fandango. Consequently, you're able to earn rewards like you normally would, and you're able to buy tickets in advance and, where available, choose your seats.
I continue to find the app a little awkward when it comes to this advance-purchase option, as you have to manually input the date, time, screen format and number of people. The entire process could be more user-friendly.
Even so, although Sinemia has made a number of changes to its plan offerings and prices over the past year or so, they've all been targeted to new customers. As an existing customer, I haven't encountered a single WTF change like with MoviePass. (Here's hoping I didn't just jinx it.)
Bottom line: If you're a frequent moviegoer and have had enough of MoviePass' shenanigans, Sinemia is worth a look.
Originally published on Aug. 29.
Update, Sept. 17: Added latest pricing information.
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