In case you thought the MoviePass saga would remain a smoldering heap of yesterday’s news from here on out, guess again. Helios and Matheson Analytics, the theater subscription service’s parent company, has at last filed for bankruptcy, according to The Wrap. While that may sound like it signals the complete end of all things MoviePass, there’s one interesting wrinkle: the company may owe subscribers a total of more than $1.2 million.
“As a result of filing the Petition, a Chapter 7 trustee will be appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to administer the estate of the Company and to perform the duties set forth in Section 704 of the Code,” reads a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That means MoviePass’ assets will all likely be sold off in an attempt to pull together the money it owes customers for unused services, as MoviePass was actively charging users up until it suddenly shut down last September.
According to The Wrap, MoviePass may owe $1.2 million to roughly 12,000 subscribers, or $100 each. It’s not clear if that group includes a certain class of MoviePass subscriber, like an annual user that was precharged for the service prior to its shutdown, or if that was the total user base of MoviePass at the time it closed its doors.
At one point, after dropping its price to a dangerously low $9.95 a month in the summer of 2017, MoviePass amassed around 3 million subscribers. But many of those users (myself included) fled after the company began doing everything it could to restrict how its service could be used, because its unlimited plan in its original form was directly contributing to immense company-killing quarterly losses. According to separate filings with the SEC last year, MoviePass and its various other businesses, including a film production and distribution arm, cost Helios and Matheson more than half a billion dollars.
The last we heard from MoviePass was that Ted Farnsworth, the financier who swooped in to become Helios and Matheson’s CEO in 2016 and acquired MoviePass the following year, was trying to salvage the business using his own money and money from fellow investors. Helios and Matheson had also set up a “strategic review committee” to “identify, review, and explore all strategic and financial alternatives” for keeping the business alive, which included selling its assets like MoviePass, movie listing service Moviefone, and the production arm MoviePass Films. But it looks like none of that really panned out.