×

MoviePass Parent Company Files for Bankruptcy

Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns the defunct MoviePass cinema-subscription service, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

The company disclosed the move in an SEC filing dated Jan. 28, when Helios and Matheson filed the petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code dissolves an entity, whose assets are sold off to repay creditors (unlike Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which a company seeks to renegotiate with creditors).

In its bankruptcy filing, Helios and Matheson listed the estimated value of assets at between $1 million-$10 million and $60.9 million in total creditor claims.

The bankruptcy filing comes after MoviePass in September 2019 notified remaining subscribers that it would be shutting down indefinitely because “its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date.” Ted Farnsworth, the former Helios and Matheson CEO who engineered the 2017 acquisition of MoviePass, subsequently submitted an offer to buy the New York-based company but obviously that didn’t come to pass.

MoviePass executives had positioned the service as a trailblazer ahead of its time, allowing moviegoers to see multiple movies for a flat monthly fee. The startup did prompt theater chains including AMC Theatres, Regal Entertainment and Cinemark to launch their own rival subscription plans.

Popular on Variety

But ultimately, MoviePass’ cash-burning business model proved unsustainable. For full-year 2018, according to its most recent financial filing, Helios and Matheson’s reported net loss more than doubled — to $329.3 million — versus the year prior on revenue of $232.3 million.

Originally MoviePass launched with a one-movie-per-day plan for $30-$40 per month then cut that to the too-good-to-be-true $9.95 monthly for a daily movie. Then in August 2018, MoviePass switched that to just three movies each month for $9.95, prompting a wave of cancellations. Last year, it rolled out a refashioned “unlimited” option, for $14.95 per month, to again allow customers to see one movie daily but warning that movie choices would be restricted based on “system-wide capacity.”

With the bankruptcy filing, Helios and Matheson board members Prathap Singh, Gavriel Ralbag, Muralikrishna Gadiyaram and Joseph Fried resigned. In addition, interim CEO Parthasarathy Krishnan, interim CFO Robert Damon resigned.

Helios and Matheson also owned Moviefone, which it bought from Verizon, and the company estimated the value of its trademarks at $4.38 million.

As disclosed in its bankruptcy filing, Helios and Matheson was being investigated by the SEC, the FTC, and attorneys general for New York and California. The company also is the target of several pending shareholder lawsuits.

More Film

  • Kevin Hart'Jumanji: The Next Level' film

    Kevin Hart to Star in Action-Comedy from 'Broad City' Alums (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is developing an untitled action-comedy based on an original idea from “Broad City’s” Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs with Kevin Hart attached to star. Aniello and Downs will write the script as well as executive produce. Malcolm D. Lee is on board to direct the film with Will Packer and James Lopez [...]

  • Jeremy Saulnier John Boyega

    Netflix Sets Ensemble for Jeremy Saulnier's 'Rebel Ridge' Starring John Boyega (EXCLUSIVE)

    Don Johnson, James Badge Dale, Zsane Jhe, James Cromwell and “The Crown” breakout Erin Doherty are set to join John Boyega in Netflix’s “Rebel Ridge,” a thriller from “Green Room” writer-director Jeremy Saulnier, Variety has learned. Like the 2013 crime drama “Green Room,” Saulnier’s upcoming movie is said to be a high-velocity thriller that explores [...]

  • The Indoraptor prepares to strike in

    'Jurassic World 3' Director Announces New Title

    Director Colin Trevorrow announced via Twitter on Tuesday that “Jurassic World 3” has started principal production, and he also slyly revealed that the sixth film in the “Jurassic” franchise has a new title: “Jurassic World: Dominion.” The new title — which appears on the slate for the film in Trevorrow’s tweet — evokes the biblical [...]

  • Chuat Reymond

    Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond on Berlin’s ‘My Little Sister’

    Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond’s “My Little Sister” (“Schwesterlein”) premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Tuesday to strong critical and audience receptions, with particular praise heaped on lead actors Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger. In his Variety review, Guy Lodge praised: “This is bright, unaffected naturalism with a fluidly roving camera, but also a [...]

  • Miriam Haley and Tarale Wulff

    Women Who Testified in Harvey Weinstein Trial Slam His Lawyers for 'Victim Blaming' 

    Six women testified during the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, and now that the former movie mogul was found guilty of two felony charges, those women are speaking out with newfound freedom. Miriam Haley, who was assaulted by Weinstein in 2006, resulting in him being convicted of a criminal sex act (which carries a maximum sentence [...]

  • E. L. James

    Movie Rights to 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author's 'The Mister' Land at Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following the massive success of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, Universal and author E. L. James are reteaming on the scribe’s next novel as the studio has optioned the rights to “The Mister,” James’ 2019 best-selling romance. Rights for the book, which recently hit the market, sparked a heated bidding war. James, who produced [...]

  • Bad Tales

    'Bad Tales': Film Review

    At a surprise party for his daughter, a randy Italian homeowner studies a neighbor’s wife through the sliding glass door and describes all the ways he’d like to violate her. In the bathroom, his 14-year-old son sits with his best friend, studying the hardcore porn sites listed in the browsing history of Dad’s cellphone. A [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content