MoviePass has a little less competition after rival service Sinemia announced that it’s shutting down. (Photo: Getty Images)
As moviegoers rush to the theaters in record numbers to find out which Marvel heroes will be resurrected from the dead in “Avengers: Endgame,” the movie subscription service Sinemia announced that it’s game over for the company’s U.S. operations – effective immediately.
The MoviePass competitor announced on its website Thursday that it’s calling it quits just as the latest Avengers movie began breaking box office records on its first day.
“Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US,” a notice on the company’s website reads. “We want to sincerely thank our customers that believed in us and helped us along the way.”
Why the sudden shutdown?
Sinemia, which billed itself as a sustainable cinema subscription service, cited “unexpected legal proceedings” and a lack of “funds required to continue operations.”
The movie-subscription company has been beleaguered by lawsuits in the past year, including a class-action suit from customers saying they were the victims of a “bait-and-switch” scheme involving hidden processing fees.
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Sinemia also faces a lawsuit from rival MoviePass, which accused the Turkish company of stealing patented features in its app.
“We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions,” Sinemia said in a statement on its website.
“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.”
What are my other options?
PreShow, the new venture from the co-founder of MoviePass, is designed to get you free movie tickets just by watching an ad.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY
As movie lovers look for thrifty ways to save money on cinema tickets, theater chains have smelled blood in the water, devising their own cash-saving subscription plans to please customers.
Cinemark Movie Club, for instance, costs $8.99 per month and provides 20 percent off concessions, rollover and companion tickets, reserved seating and no online fees.
AMC continues to gain traction with its multiplex subscription service AMC Stubs A-List, which gives film lovers a way to see three screenings a week for roughly $20 a month.
Meanwhile, MoviePass has experimented with a range of subscription schemes in the past year. Most recently it rolled out an “uncapped” movie-per-day plan that costs $9.95 a month if you pay for 12 months upfront.
Ok, so can I get my money back?
Sinemia’s announcement does not say whether customers who paid for yearly plans up front would get partial refunds.
However, a Reddit thread says some users who paid annual memberships are receiving pro-rated refunds from Chase.
Still, you may not get your money back directly from Sinemia for the time being, seeing as though the company has just filed for bankruptcy in Delaware. In the filing, Sinemia listed $1.2 million in assets and $158,000 in liabilities (as well as the pending cases).
USA TODAY reached out to the company to get more information about refunds. This story will be updated accordingly.
What’s next for Sinemia?
An earlier report by Bloomberg suggested that shutting down the service allows Sinemia to focus their business on helping existing theater chains build subscription plans.
For now, Sinemia still operates in Canada, Australia and the U.K. It’s not immediately clear what the company’s plans are for those other countries.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin _Brown.
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