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Sinemia: What You Need to Know About This MoviePass Rival

Update April 26, 2019: 
Sinemia has announced that it is ceasing operations. A statement on the company's website reads in part:

Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US effective immediately...

We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions. 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. Thanks to the cost advantage and cross-sell opportunities, movie theaters will be prominent in the movie ticket subscription economy. 

While we are proud to have created a best in market service, our efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and raise the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient. The competition in the US market and the core economics of what it costs to deliver Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately lead us to the decision of discontinuing our US operations. 

Going to the movies can get expensive, as tickets can start at upwards of $20 a pop depending on where you live. So, as movie-goers have begun to shout "the price of a movie is too damn high," alternative services have appeared.

MoviePass' popular unlimited $9.95 per month option — which gets you one ticket per day at a ton of theaters — is neat, but rival Sinemia looks to beat it with lower, annual pricing. The competitor just rolled out four tiers, and half of them are less than $9 per month, when you break them down. Here's everything you need to know about the new service.

What is Sinemia and how much does it cost?

Sinemia is a monthly movie ticket service that allows you to get discounted movie tickets. Thanks to its current "Biggest Sale Promo," Sinemia starts at $4.99 per month for 1 ticket per month, but you're actually paying annually, so it costs $60 for your first payment. If you go to the theater more often, you can get the 2 ticket plan for $83.88 per year (which works out to $6.99 per month).

MORE: What Is MoviePass, and Is It Worth It?

Are there any limits?

Unlike MoviePass, Sinemia can get you into 3D, IMAX and other premium screenings that come at higher prices. You just need to pay more for an Sinemia Elite account, which starts at $119.88 per year ($9.99 per month) for two movie tickets per month. You can get three tickets per month, including the pricier, more premium tickets, for $179.88, annually (which works out to $14.99 per month).

What about family plans?

On June 22, Sinemia announced its new family plans with pricing rates for up to six people. Those plans start at $107.88 per year ($8.99 per month) for a single trip for two people to the movies per month; $179.88 per year ($14.99 per month) for a movie trip for a family of three every month and $239.88 per year ($19.99 per month) for a trip to the movies every month for a family of four. Pricing for larger families and for more trips each month can be found here.

How is Sinemia so cheap?

First, Sinemia (just like MoviePass) is almost like insurance for theaters, as it helps make the most of every seat in the house. Also, Sinemia's entry-level package offers one ticket per month, rather than the one ticket per day you get with MoviePass.

Another factor that helps Sinemia's operate at a lower price than MoviePass is that its only memberships are annual. This way, the company gets $60 for a whole year up front, and doesn't have to hope users don't cancel between months, as it can take MoviePass half a year to collect that much money from subscribers.

How do you sign up?

At Sinemia.com, you sign up for an account. After they ship you a pre-paid debit card you need for making purchases, you'll set up that card in the app and you're ready to go down to the lobby.

How do you purchase tickets?

You can purchase tickets online at Sinemia.com or using the Sinemia app, which is available from Google Play and the iOS App Store. While MoviePass requires you to be within 100 yards of a theater for most of your purchases, Sinemia offers no such geofencing constraints, so you don't need to rush to the theater to lock them down.

Another one of Sinemia's best features is the option to select and purchase the ticket within 30 days, as opposed to the same-day limit imposed by MoviePass. After selecting a ticket, you have 2 hours to buy the ticket with your Sinemia card(within the app, kiosk or website of your choice), and that's longer than the 30 minute window you get with MoviePass.

How do I find out if a theater accepts Sinemia?

In the Sinemia app, and on Sinemia.com, you can plug in an address, or give access to your location to see the nearby cinemas that support Sinemia. In New York and Los Angeles, it's pretty widely accepted, with supporting theaters from a range of companies, including AMC and Landmark, as well as smaller favorites including Angelika, ArcLight, Alamo and Nitehawk.

Reserved-seating theaters are supported by all Sinemia plans, so you don't need a premium tier to get the seat you want. Of course, those seats may have sold out prior to your purchase, for films with greater demand.

How else does Sinemia differ from MoviePass?

Since Sinemia doesn't require you to be within a certain proximity to buy a ticket, you can avoid the location tracking that MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said his company uses "on an opt-in basis."

Can Sinemia change its policies?

Just as rival MoviePass repeatedly switched its offers over the last weeks, and how any company's terms of service and offers are always up for a change, Sinemia's terms are simply those available today. And when you consider its current pricing is titled "Biggest Sale Promo," it's clear that Sinemia could increase it any day now.

Is Sinemia worth it?

I went into this article skeptical, but I've realized Sinemia may be right for me. The annual, up-front purchase may not be the terms of service I prefer, but I personally think its $4.99, 1 movie per month plan (or 2-movie, $6.99 offer) is a good deal.

My movie-going habits are more based around buying certain movie tickets (for big films such as Avengers: Infinity War) well in advance, and going to see other movies on whims. I just recently started a MoviePass account, but if I don't wind up seeing more than 2 movies per month on that card, I'll definitely consider Sinemia.