MoviePass in danger following steep stock drops for parent company

In the most recent chapter of the MoviePass saga, cash shortages reported by parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics have resulted in precipitous stock drops over the past two days, perhaps endangering the future of the program entirely, Variety reports.

On Tuesday, May 8, Helios & Matheson stock began the day at $2.11/share. By the end of the day, shares had dropped by 66 cents to a meager $1.45. If that’s not enough, by the end of Wednesday, May 9, those shares had dropped another 66 cents, to just 78 cents per share. That’s a 4,200 percent drop from the October 2017 high of $38.86. The drops follow a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Helios and Matheson; the company currently has just $15.5 million available in cash, plus nearly $28 million in merchant deposits. Compared to MoviePass’ annual operating costs of nearly $22 million, it’s easy to see where changes might be on the horizon.

The filing states that “[Helios & Matheson] may be required to reduce the scope of our planned growth or otherwise alter our business model, objectives, and operations, which could harm our business, financial condition, and operating results.” Still, Helios and Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth isn’t planning on making changes unless absolutely necessary: “Our burn rate has been slashed by 35 to 40 percent by the implementations and abuse prevention measures we have put in place over the last few weeks,” he said. “We have always known that it was going to be a high cash burn business model. We are not changing our guidance on 5 million subscribers by the end of this year, which should make us profitable/cash flow-positive according to our business model.”

MoviePass pays theaters full price for the tickets its subscribers use, and Farnsworth claimed that the company would monetize customer data to make up for incurred losses. Following a promotion which temporarily limited users to four movies per month, MoviePass has returned to the popular $10 per month “unlimited” model. The service topped the 2 million subscriber mark in February.

The company has had its fair share of controversy over the past few months, including an issue where customers were restricted from seeing certain films (without any sort of notice) and questions over the nature of MoviePass’ tracking data.