UPDATED with closing stock price. MoviePass parent Helios & Matheson, with its 3 million subscribers in an uproar and its stock cratering, put out the latest “all is well” message today, likening its position to Uber’s in its early disruptive days.
Investors didn’t buy the “we’re still here” claim, sending shares down another 56% today to close at 10 cents a share, far below the $1 threshold it needs to clear in order to stay listed on the Nasdaq. Not even 10 days ago, the stock was above $14 thanks to a 250-to-1 reverse split engineered as a way to prop up the moribund shares.
The subscription service has been a meme-worthy trending topic for the past week, ever since abruptly blocking ticket sales of Mission: Impossible – Fallout in response to a cash crunch. MoviePass, after conceding that dire move, said a wholesale strategic shift would soon take first-run releases on more than 1,000 screens off the table for the first two weeks of their theatrical runs. The price of subscriptions is also jumping from $10 a month to $15 in the coming days.
Judging by those moves, which follow waves of unsettling financial disclosures in 2018, industry vets, analysts and consumers alike have been pronouncing last rites for the service. The official message today waved away any suggestion it was done, repeating its earlier insistence that everything is going according to plan.
“This is exactly the attitude the taxicab industry took when Uber entered their market,” said the press release, which did not quote any executives. “Overall, we believe as much as 6% of the industry’s total box office receipts can be traced to our loyal subscribers. It’s clear that because of MoviePass, more people are seeing more movies at fair prices. Instead of wishing us away, the industry, particularly the independent film producers, should be congratulating and supporting us. Absent MoviePass, exhibitors are fighting to preserve profits in a declining box office environment. That’s the doomed strategy.”
It added, “Yes, we’re going through a rough patch not unlike what other disruptive enterprises experienced in their early days. Much of our issues can be attributed to the unprecedented growth in a business that just 12 months ago did not exist.”