The company once viewed as possibly carrying to unlimited-movie-ticket-subscription torch from Movie Pass’s smoldering fire has completely ceased operation in the U.S.
Back in fall of 2018, when MoviePass nuked its $10 per month unlimited plan, Sinemia tried to fill the void by unveiling its own unlimited plan that cost $30 per month.
At the time, Sinemia CEO Rifat Oguz said the company had “spent four years testing and fine-tuning our unlimited tickets model and are confident this is the right price to sustainably offer such a plan.”
But since that announcement, Sinemia has struggled to remain sustainable. The company announced Thursday night in message posted on its website that “Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the U.S. effective immediately.”
Over the last several months, Sinemia has faced both a lawsuit from MoviePass, accusing Sinemia of stealing patented features in its app, and a class-action lawsuit from customers, accusing the company of being a “bait-and-switch scheme” after Sinemia added hidden fees.
In Sinemia’s announcement, the company cited these legal troubles as one of the primary reasons for its decision to shutter operations. “Despite the best efforts of our team, it has been difficult for us as a start-up to continue providing our services to the moviegoers in the U.S. without resources and enough capital to meet increased operations and legal costs,” the message reads.
Sinemia did not respond to Gizmodo’s questions about whether customers would be reimbursed, or whether Sinemia would continue to operate in other regions where it has been operating, like Australia, Turkey, and the U.K.
MoviePass unveiled a new unlimited plan in March that costs $20 per month, suggesting they had learned from their mistakes. Maybe they have, and this current plan will remain in place for long enough for subscribers to settle in and get comfortable. But without another major competitor in the theater-subscription industry, the future of this model is more uncertain than it has been in months.
The most likely reality is that the unlimited movie subscription model is here to stay but it will be relegated to individual theaters. AMC’s monthly subscription model appears to be a hit for the theater chain and smaller theaters like Alamo Drafthouse are getting into the game. If you live in a city with a lot of moviegoing options, this is a disappointment. But in smaller towns, it won’t mean much of a difference at all. For theater owners, running the business themselves means having the ability to keep an eye on customer service and expenses in a way that these third-party services just can’t offer. Now, we watch the clock as it runs out on MoviePass.