MoviePass has emerged this year from obscurity as an app-based subscription service for those seeking to see movies for a low price. MoviePass grabbed headlines on Dec. 20 when it announced that it had passed the 1 million mark in paid subscribers, after it unveiled a pricing plan in August that allows subscribers to purchase a single movie ticket per day for a flat monthly subscription fee of $9.95 per month.
Though theater owners have long fought the idea of discounting movie tickets, the service has quickly gained traction as the movie business confronts the growth of streaming and lower ticket sales. Two other services — Cinemark’s Movie Club and California-based Sinemia — are offering subscription services, but neither offers the generous one-a-day policy of MoviePass.
Here’s how the three services stack up.
What is MoviePass?
MoviePass allows subscribers to purchase a single movie ticket per day for a flat monthly subscription fee by using a mobile app. It slashed prices in August to $9.95 per month, then offered a one-year subscription plan at $6.95 a month that required users to pay for the full year in advance.
It works with a special debit card good for one ticket per day at many theaters, though premium theaters such as the ArcLight aren’t included. But that’s only for day-of purchases and only for 2D movies. There’s also no family or couples option, making it difficult to book seats together.
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Finally, the future of MoviePass is a bit murky, given AMC’s threat to take legal action and the question of whether the business model is sustainable. MoviePass pays theaters the full price for a ticket, so it is in essence subsidizing its users’ moviegoing and losing money each time they go to a film.
What is Movie Club?
Earlier this month, Cinemark launched a MoviePass competitor called Cinemark Movie Club that lets customers buy one movie ticket a month for a discount price of $8.99, with the option for additional discounted tickets. Unused tickets can roll over to the next month.
In addition, there’s 20% off on concessions, which can add up to big savings for members. The obvious limitation is that the pass works only at Cinemark theaters. Movie Club membership credit can be used for versions other than just 2D, with members incurring a slight upcharge from the $8.99 price, if applicable for the chosen showtime at the chosen theatre — still offering members a discounted price for premium viewings.
Cinemark notes that Movie Club offers members exemption from online booking fees, no-hassle seat reservations and the option to purchase a companion ticket at the member price.
What is Sinemia?
The service sells for $9.99 per month for individuals and there’s a couples plan that starts at $18.99 per month. Subscribers gets a debit card for two tickets per month at most theaters.
Sinemia is currently offering a New Year’s promotional plan for three tickets a month for $16.99.
It can also be used for advance ticket purchases and with third-party ticket operators such as Fandango. Only one ticket per month can be used for “premium” screens and there is no rollover for unused tickets.