Screenshot: Sinemia

The first time I saw that MoviePass requires you to be at the theater to buy tickets I did a triple take. I mean, holy shit. Ignoring that fact for a moment, MoviePass also doesn’t grant you access to premium showings like IMAX or Atmos... which are the only reason to go to the movies. Sinemia, while far from perfect, at least makes up for those shortcomings.

Sinemia has one and two-person monthly movie plans with access to two or three movies, of which one per month can be premium. Plans start at $11/month and go up to $31/month, and you can save a bit more if you pay annually. The sweet spot for me was the two-person, two-movie plan for $21, and I started out paying monthly to test the waters. My Black Panther IMAX 2D tickets came out to $55 at checkout, more than the cost of two months of Sinemia.

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Sinemia not only covers premium theaters, but also theaters like Nitehawk Cinema and Alamo Drafthouse, though not BAMcinématek. The former two theaters make most of their money on food, so the tickets are cheap to begin with, but having options is always good.

You probably knew this was coming, but the Sinemia app is a horror show. Here’s how to buy tickets for a movie:

  1. Find the movie, theater, exact showtime, and screening type you want, and manually plug that information into Sinemia. This allows you to use your Sinemia card to pay for said movie.
  2. Navigate to Fandango (or wherever) and buy your tickets using your Sinemia card as the payment method. The billing zip code is not yours. I’m assuming it’s the one from where Sinemia is based.
  3. Claim your tickets based on the methods offered by wherever you bought them from, not through or with the Sinemia app.

Additionally, you cannot buy more than one set of advance tickets in the same day, and you can only buy tickets using the smartphone app, there’s no desktop option. If you were looking to, for example, get tickets for the opening night of Solo, this process is going to slow you down to say the least. The best strategy is to get to the last step of checkout on Fandango, then clear your Sinemia card, then check out, to ensure you’ll have seats next to each other, etc.

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You won’t look forward to buying tickets with Sinemia, but if you like occasionally going to the movies and attending premium screenings, you’ll save a ton of money.