×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sinemia Shuts Down U.S. Movie-Ticket Subscription Service

Sinemia, a would-be rival to MoviePass, is closing down its U.S. operations — telling customers it could not find “a path to sustainability” amid legal headaches, competitive pressures and the challenging economics of the business model.

The company announced the shutdown in a notice on its website Thursday.

“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,” Sinemia said in the statement. “The competition in the U.S. market and the core economics of what it costs to deliver Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately [led] us to the decision of discontinuing our U.S. operations.”

From the notice, it’s not clear whether Sinemia will be extending refunds that may be due to subscribers.

Among other legal problems, MoviePass has sued Sinemia, alleging patent infringement. Sinemia also has been targeted by customer lawsuits accusing the company of charging hidden fees and shutting down accounts without warning.

MoviePass, meanwhile, itself has been teetering on the edge of folding. The service killed its own one-movie-per-day plan last summer after its parent company’s losses mounted and was forced to borrow more money to stay afloat. Since then, MoviePass’ customer base has reportedly plummeted over 90%, to 225,000 members, with minimal uptake of its recently introduced $14.95 monthly “unlimited” service that carries a number of restrictions. (A MoviePass rep disputed the 225,000-subscriber figure but declined to say what its current customer count is.)

Just a month ago, Sinemia rolled out a new Always Unlimited plan, which was supposed to let subscribers to see one movie (in 2D) every day for $14.99 per month. According to Sinemia, its Always Unlimited plan gave moviegoers the flexibility to choose any movie theater and any showtime. It also offer tiered plans offering one, two or three movies a month, with options for 3D and IMAX tickets.

Turns out, the cost of Sinemia’s too-good-to-be-true offers was unsustainable, the company admitted. “Despite the best efforts of our team, it has been difficult for us as a startup to continue providing our services to the moviegoers in the U.S. without resources and enough capital to meet increased operations and legal costs,” Sinemia said in the April 25 statement.

In addition to competition from MoviePass, Sinemia cited ticket-subscription plans from theater chains as a reason it’s tapping out of the U.S. market. AMC Theatres’ Stubs A-List now has over 700,000 subscribers for the $19.95-per-month plan that lets customers see three movies per week, the exhibitor announced in February.

Sinemia, which says it is based in Los Angeles, also offers movie-ticket subscription plans in countries including Canada, the U.K., Australia and Turkey. The company has raised $2.2 million in funding from investors including Turkish VC firms Revo Capital, Nexus Ventures and Aslanoba Capital, according to Crunchbase.

In March, Sinemia said that after it conducted a fraud-detection analysis, it canceled 3% of its U.S. user accounts “due to misuse or fraudulent activity.” Examples of unauthorized activity included using a Sinemia membership to buy tickets for other people. According to the company, it issued a full refund for the difference between a user’s membership payment and the value of previous movie tickets purchased with the service to the user’s payment card.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Paul Downs Colaizzo

    'Perfect Nanny' Movie Adaptation Taps 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Director (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leila Slimani’s critically acclaimed, international bestseller “The Perfect Nanny” — aka “Chanson Douce” — is coming to the big screen. Legendary has closed a deal for Paul Downs Colaizzo to adapt and direct the English-language adaptation. Legendary will produce the pic alongside Pascal Caucheteux of Why Not Productions and Philippe Godeau of Pan-Européenne. The story [...]

  • Sterling K. BrownVariety and Women in

    Sterling K. Brown to Narrate Disney Plus Documentary 'One Day at Disney' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sterling K. Brown is set to lend his voice to the upcoming Disney Plus feature documentary “One Day at Disney,” Variety has learned exclusively. “One Day at Disney” will highlight the people who work on some of Disney’s most beloved stories. The film will highlight 10 specific people and their role at Disney through the lens [...]

  • Mehrdad Oskouei on IDFA Opener ‘Sunless

    Mehrdad Oskouei on IDFA Opener ‘Sunless Shadows’: 'Giving a Voice to Voiceless People'

    Documentary film festival IDFA opened Wednesday with Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei’s “Sunless Shadows,” the latest in a series of films about incarcerated teens in his homeland. Developed with help from the IDFA Bertha Fund, the film takes viewers inside an Iranian juvenile detention center, where a group of underage girls are serving time for very [...]

  • Stephen Curry John Legend

    Stephen Curry, John Legend Team on Sports Drama 'Signing Day' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media production banner, John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and Sony Pictures are teaming up for the sports drama “Signing Day.” The project, which has tapped screenwriter Adam Hoff, marks one of the first films to be put into development under the NBA superstar’s first-look deal with the studio, which he signed [...]

  • The Banker

    Apple Pulls 'The Banker' as AFI Fest Closing Night Film

    In a last-minute decision, Apple has canceled a planned gala screening of “The Banker,” one of the tech company’s flagship original films that was meant to close AFI Fest on Thursday in Hollywood. Netflix has stepped in and will screen Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed “Marriage Story” in its place. “We purchased ‘The Banker’ earlier this year [...]

  • 'Cats' Will Be Done in Time

    'Cats' Will Compete for Golden Globes After All (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Cats,” one of the most puzzling offerings of this holiday movie season, will likely be competing for the Golden Globes after all. Earlier reports had suggested that the film based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical about Jellicle cats would not be vying for end-of-year awards because it isn’t done yet. But sources tell Variety [...]

  • Nederland, Amsterdam, 20-11-2019-Opening Night in CarrÈ

    Gender Parity, Inclusion and Young Talent Take Center Stage at IDFA Opening

    The 32nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) opened Wednesday with gender parity, inclusion, and young talent front and center. Twenty-one year-old Canadian-Vietnamese director Carol Nguyen — whose short “No Crying at the Dinner Table” screens at the festival — kicked off the evening, reflecting IDFA’s commitment to young talent and women filmmakers. Nguyen said [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content