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Why Helios and Matheson Stock Popped 43% This Morning

By Rich Smith - Updated Sep 24, 2018 at 1:56PM

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Helios wants to be a movie mogul.

What happened

Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY 10000.00%) stock is up 14.3% as of 1:30 p.m. EDT -- not a bad pop, if not quite as good as the near-43% run-up it enjoyed earlier in the day. So, what's behind investors' enthusiasm today?

Helios and Matheson is getting more deeply involved in the movie business -- as in, it's making them instead of just subsidizing viewers' ability to watch them through its MoviePass subscription service.

Man pointing movie camera at self

MoviePass wants to be the star of its own show. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Helios and Matheson announced this morning that its "MoviePass Films LLC" film production subsidiary has paid an unspecified sum to purchase an unspecified interest in two films, "Sundance award-winner Monsters and Men and Cannes award-winner Border." MoviePass Films teamed up with independent distribution company NEON Rated LLC to acquire its interest -- but it isn't saying how big that interest is, or what the payoff might be if the films are well received by moviegoers in the U.S.

Helios did say, though, that MoviePass will allow subscribers to see both these films as "bonus movies" that don't count again the now drastically reduced three-movies-per-month they're now restricted to watching.

Now what

The addition of two movies to MoviePass subscribers' menu of choices is likely to drive at least some incremental traffic to see them. Then again, with MoviePass paying full freight on any tickets sold, but receiving only an (unspecified) portion of those ticket sales in its role as these films' co-distributor, I fail to see how this will contribute to the company's bottom line at all -- except by reaccelerating MoviePass's losses.

Long story short: Today's stock rally looks like an overreaction.

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