MoviePass Owner Registers $1.2 Billion in New Stock, Debt

When a company’s share price drops by more than 99% in less than a year, it’s time to take desperate measures. Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY) could not be much more desperate.

The firm, which owns a controlling interest in theater subscription service MoviePass, announced Monday morning that it had filed a shelf registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to offer and sell up to $1.2 billion of either equity or debt over a period of three years. Now that’s optimism.

In addition to MoviePass, Helios owns MoviePass Ventures, a subsidiary established to invest in new movies; MoviePass Films, an original content producer; and Moviefone, a media content advertising platform.

In mid-June, MoviePass said it had signed up 3 million subscribers willing to pay $10 a month in exchange for the right to go to the movies as often as they wanted (with some restrictions). Because an average movie ticket costs about $9, it’s a little difficult to see how the company plans to make a profit. More subscribers — MoviePass forecasts 5 million by the end of the year — won’t solve the problem.

At the time the company announced its new subscriber total, Helios CEO Ted Farnsworth said:

Consistent growth in MoviePass subscribers means we can utilize our media companies in ways no one has seen before. With its considerable market share of moviegoers, MoviePass expects to influence its subscribers to engage with our other revenue channels throughout the entire film industry ecosystem.

Since then, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) has announced its own subscription service, Stubs A-List, that costs $20 a month and entitles moviegoers to three movies a week, tied to its Stubs loyalty program that has more than 15 million members.

Both MoviePass and Stubs A-List face the same problem: Americans don’t go to movie theaters much anymore. According to data from Statista, 54% of Americans prefer to watch movies at home while only 13% prefer to watch movies in a theater. Only 3% of Americans visit a movie theater at least once a week, compared with 22% who say they never go to a theater.

New efforts to create upscale movie theater “experiences” have had some success by adding plusher seats, a full-service food menu and drinks at a ticket price increase of $5 to $10, and that only adds to the competition for the still-small pool of frequent moviegoers.

Helios stock traded down about 15% early Monday morning, at around $0.24 in a 52-week range of $0.18 to $38.86.