Oasis Ventures Entertainment, a Dubai-based investment fund, sued MoviePass on Monday, alleging that the loyalty-card company stole film titles to create its film unit.
Oasis has had a joint venture with action movie producers Randall Emmett and George Furla since 2013. In 2018, Emmett Furla Oasis went into business with Helios and Matheson Analytics, the parent company of MoviePass, to launch MoviePass Films.
In the lawsuit, Oasis alleges that Emmett and Furla entered the MoviePass deal without Oasis’ consent, in violation of their agreement. Oasis alleges that the terms of the deal were unduly favorable to Helios and Matheson, at Oasis’ expense, and provided generous producer fees to Emmett and Furla.
“Helios and (CEO Ted) Farnsworth knew that the Oasis Companies would never give their consent to such self-dealing and corporate greed, so they secretly entered into these agreements to squeeze out the Oasis Companies,” the lawsuit states.
MoviePass rocketed to success in late 2017, when it offered subscribers the ability to see one movie per day for $9.95 a month. The deal proved too good to be true, and MoviePass quickly collapsed amid hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. The firm recently announced that it would discontinue its service for remaining subscribers.
Farnsworth recently stepped down, and is now trying to buy MoviePass — including MoviePass Films.
According to the suit, Emmett and Furla approached Oasis in 2018 and tried to get them to sell back their stake in the firm for $5.5 million. The suit states that Oasis agreed, but then Emmett and Furla went quiet. The next Oasis knew, Furla and Emmett had entered into the deal with MoviePass.
The suit alleges that Emmett and Furla turned over the company’s rights in various films — including “Escape Plan 3,” “10 Minutes Gone,” and “A Vigilante” — to MoviePass without Oasis’ knowledge or consent. The company also guaranteed a $1.6 million loan to MoviePass for production expenses on “Axis Sally,” again without Oasis’ approval, the suit alleges.
The suit accuses Farnsworth and Helios and Matheson of intentional interference with Oasis’ contract with Emmett and Furla, breach of contract, and violations of California’s unfair competition law.