I Ditched MoviePass for Sinemia, and I Really Like It

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As MoviePass has had a herky-jerky year of service — most recently suffering an outage when they ran out of money — competitors have risen to give users other options.

(Image credit: Sinemia)

While AMC Stubs A-List may be the most high-profile, I was curious about the longest-running competitor, Sinemia, which is as widely accepted as MoviePass and actually predates that service. Recently, I started testing Sinemia, which offers more options than MoviePass, but fewer tickets.

Sinemia vs MoviePass: Plans Compared

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PlanClassicClassic for 2Classic for 3StandardUnlimited
Monthly Price$3.99 ($38.88, billed annually)$7.99 ($95.88, billed annually)$12.99 ($155.88, billed annually)$7.95$9.95
Number of persons12311
Tickets per month (per person)1113Up to 31

Right now, while MoviePass is hitting users with surge pricing, Sinemia is looking to lure users away with a lower monthly rate than ever: $3.99 per month (previously $4.99 per month), though you pay for it in annual allotments of $48 per year. If you don't see this pricing enter the promo code 'SummerSale.'

Credit: Sinemia

(Image credit: Sinemia)

So, if you've been paying for years of MoviePass and not making the most of every month, you might want to consider Sinemia, which starts at less than half of MoviePass' $9.99 monthly fee.

Con: Fewer tickets

You get what you pay for, though, as that $3.99 per month gives you a single movie ticket per month, as opposed to MoviePass' one ticket per day. At the very most, Sinemia gets you three movie trips per month, but that plan starts at $13.99, which is 40 percent more than the MoviePass pricing.  

Pro: Plan in advance

My favorite part of testing Sinemia came while using its advanced ticket purchasing feature. This might not sound like a big deal, but MoviePass doesn't let you secure tickets until the day of the showing and makes you buy those tickets in person.

Sinemia, on the other hand, lets you buy tickets up to 30 days in advance, which allowed me to secure tickets for a Sunday showing of Won't You Be My Neighbor? on the previous Tuesday and to do so from the comfort of my own bed.

Sometimes, you need to plan ahead, and the inability to do so is one of the more-annoying problems with MoviePass. Some of my favorite theaters — such as the Alamo Drafthouse — feature reserved seating, and I'm getting tired of being worried that the seats I want might get sold while I'm taking the subway to the theater.

Con: Cumbersome ticket-buying experience

Buying an advance ticket with Sinemia is a little awkward, as you have to look up showtimes and check for available reserved seating (when applicable) in another app or browser. Then, you open Sinemia, tap the Planning tab, find the theater you're looking for, select the date of the screening, manually input the time, pick the format and choose the number of tickets.

Next, you get an on-screen credit card, with a number that you can't copy and paste. That means I had to keep switching between Sinemia and the app where I was buying the ticket for every four digits of the card number, then the expiration date, the ZIP code and the security code.

And then it works ... unless it doesn't. My first few attempts to reserve a ticket with Sinemia didn't work, and the purchase process got stuck on the final step of checkout. The Sinemia team told me I was experiencing a glitch that was fixed by version 3.1.12 of its app, which was related to its payment processor. Ever since downloading this update, I haven't experienced any glitches.

Pro: More options

Not only are there four Sinemia plans, but each can be customized for multiple moviegoers. Those start with the $47.88-per-year plan (which works out to $3.99 per month), which gets you one movie per month.  Another option is the $83.88-per-year ($6.99 per month) plan, which gives you two movies per month.

Then, for those who want to see movies in 3D, at IMAX or in other, pricier formats, there's the Elite plan, which starts at $107.88 per year ($8.99 per month) and provides two tickets per month (for only one person). Bigger spenders can get the three-films-per-month Elite plan, which costs $167.88 per year ($13.99 per month).

The two-person versions of these packages cost twice as much per month, while the three-person packages aren't as consistent. The one-movie-per-month deal for three people is $13 per month (again, billed annually at $155.88 a year), which is just over three times the price of the one-ticket-per-month package.

Inversely, the three-person version of the two-movies-per-month package costs $20 per month, billed at $239.88 per year.  That provides a savings of $12 when compared to the $251.97 that it would cost three people, on their own, to get that plan. More information on plans for groups of up to six people can be found here.

MORE: How to Book Movie Tickets with Google Assistant

MoviePass has only two options: one movie (for one person) every day for $9.99 per month, or three movies per month (for one person) for $7.95 monthly.

Con: Check-in required

The other hitch to Sinemia's ticketing process is that you need to check in, which you do via the service's app when you get to the theater. The app should send you a push notification, but if you're like me, you won't ever see it because you won't grant the ability to send notifications to any app that isn't truly important, because you're tired of being bothered.

If you don't check in, I'm told, "Sinemia may charge the user's credit card on file for the cost of the movie ticket(s) purchased or terminate the account." Fortunately, you can reach out to Sinemia and explain why you didn't get the notification, to alert the team not to take action. 

Is Sinemia right for you?

If you're the kind of user who was interested in MoviePass but hated how it pushed you to be spontaneous, definitely consider Sinemia. It's also a great option for those who always see movies in groups, and for those who love 3D and IMAX screenings.

Of course, Sinemia isn't for people who want to see a movie every week, or at a greater frequency. I'd also love Sinemia more if it could simplify advance ticketing, or if monthly billing were available, for greater flexibility. But if you're tired of MoviePass' surge pricing and want the cheapest option possible, definitely check out Sinemia.

Credit: Tom's Guide

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.