SALT LAKE CITY — Movie subscription service Sinemia — a top competitor to MoviePass — abruptly shut down its operations in the United States Thursday night.
“We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions,” company officials wrote in a statement posted to the Sinemia 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.”
The statement also said the company could not cover the cost of “unexpected legal proceedings” and continue operating at the same time.
The shutdown comes just before Friday’s opening of “Avengers: Endgame,” which is sure to be one of the biggest movies of the year.
The service started in 2014 and offered several types of plans that allowed users a number of movie tickets each month for a fee. It operates in other countries, including Canada, Australia and the U.K., according to Business Insider.
Like MoviePass, Sinemia was no stranger to controversy.
A class-action lawsuit alleging the company had hatched a bait-and-switch scheme for its users was filed last November, according to Indiewire. The lawsuit alleged that the company lured customers in with a promise of discounted movie tickets, but then added fees such that there wasn’t any discount, Indiewire reported.
Once dominant, MoviePass had its share of problems last year. On at least one occasion, the company had no money to buy movie tickets for its customers. At the company’s height it boasted 3 million users, but that number has dropped to just 225,000 users as of this month, according to Business Insider.
Although Sinemia and MoviePass might no longer be viable options for movie lovers, several theater companies, including AMC and Cinemark, still offer similar subscription services.
It’s not clear if subscribers in other countries where Sinemia currently operates will be affected by Thursday’s shutdown news. The company’s statement makes no mention of any potential refunds to users.
“We want to sincerely thank our customers that believed in us and helped us along the way for their love and support,” the statement reads. “We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our dream with you.”