What Will You Join After MoviePass? Here Are Some Alternatives.

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CC BY SA Hernán Piñera

This morning, MoviePass announced several changes to the program, including a price increase and limitations on what movies you can see. And it’s still not clear how much longer they’ll be able to stay in business. Personally I plan to stay on until that train fully derails (unless the terms worsen significantly), but a lot of people have gotten hooked on the theater-going high and are already looking for the next plan. Here are your options to keep supporting your movie habit without breaking the budget too much.

Closest to MoviePass: Sinemia

Sinemia saw a flood of new users this past weekend, briefly causing it to go down in a way that should have been quite familiar to recent MoviePass customers. But it’s back up, and it’s a pretty good deal if you understand the caveats.

Current pricing currently starts at $3.99/month for one movie ticket per month. That’s a far cry from $10 for a movie a day, but it’s still a pretty good deal. From there it goes up to $13.99/month for three movie tickets, which unlike MoviePass can include premium screens. They also offer family plans, but they won’t save you any money. They just make it easier to take the whole family to the theater.

What’s the catch? There are a few. First of all, you have to either commit for a year or pay a $20 fee to go monthly. And if you go monthly, it’s unclear when those “summer sale” prices they’re running right now will go up. Some reddit users report their prices increasing after a few months. Second, you Sinemia to buy tickets through a service like Fandango or Atom, and you still have to pay the convenience fee on those sites, so it ends up costing more than just the Sinemia membership. I’ve been watching the Sinemia subreddit for a while, and overall I’d say customer satisfaction is not stunningly high, which has been holding me back from making the switch.

For those who frequent the same theater

One of the things I loved about MoviePass was that it didn’t matter if I wanted to go to Regal or AMC, or if I was in a completely other city and wanted to go to Cinemark. It all worked. But if you always go to the same theater down the street, you may be best off with their offering.

AMC Stubs A-List seems to be the most popular of these. AMC Theatres is the world’s largest theater chain, so they’re easy to find, and the plan isn’t bad if you’re a frequent movie-goer. For $19.95/month, you can see up to three movies per week. You can also reserve seats in advance, see those premium screenings, and see the same movie as many times as you want. You also get a 20% discount on concessions. On the other hand, if you were averaging closer to two movies/month and don’t buy many concessions, you can probably do better just finding discount movie tickets (see more below).

Cinemark Movie Club is so bad that I’m not sure why they bothered to offer it. It’s $8.99/month, and you get 20% off concessions. But you get one 2D movie ticket/month. In areas where that’s roughly the cost of the ticket, that’s not really a deal.

Alamo Season Pass is the offering from Alamo Drafthouse, the darling of movie fans. Unfortunately there just aren’t that many of the theater, and Season Pass is currently only offered as a beta test in Yonkers, NY, anyway. On top of that, the invites to those who signed up for the waitlist were supposed to go out about two weeks ago, and nobody seems to have received one yet. So Alamo fans, keep holding your breath.

Regal Cinemas doesn’t have a plan announced yet, but rumors are swirling that they’re planning to, so if that’s your theater, I’d hold out a bit longer.

Discount movie tickets the old-fashioned way

Of course we had discounted movie tickets before any of these existed, and those options are still out there. Suggestions:

  • Join the rewards club. Earn points when you do go. Use them for tickets! If you were already a MoviePass member, you should have some points racked up. (Unless you’re like me and burned a lot of them on popcorn.)
  • If you attend a large school or work for a big enough company, they likely have discounts with various companies, and movie tickets may be one. For example, the current offerings to Perks at Work members are lower than the Cinemark Movie Club price!
  • Warehouse clubs. Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s have gift card discounts.
  • Go on Tuesdays. Or whatever the discount day is near you. Tuesday is frequently the answer, and tickets are often $5, such as at Stone Theatres and AMC. (For AMC you have to join the free version of AMC Stubs.)
  • Check Groupon for Fandango or theater-specific discounts. I’ve found both there.
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