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MoviePass Has 500 Problems but a 1-for-500 Split Ain't One

By Rick Munarriz – Nov 14, 2018 at 9:30AM

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Helios and Matheson is giving up on a reverse stock split, but it's not the end of movie-subscription services.

MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) didn't fare so well after its last stock split, and investors aren't warming up to the notion of giving it another shot. The reeling multiplex buffet operator is calling off plans for a 1-for-500 reverse split, realizing that it wouldn't generate enough shareholder votes in favor of the move this week after burning investors with a 1-for-250 split this summer. 

Helios and Matheson faces exchange delisting if its stock is still trading below a buck come mid-December -- as safe a bet as the New England Patriots taking the AFC East again this season -- but that's the least of its problems right now. AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC) is thriving with its rival AMC Stubs A-List platform, the MoviePass model just isn't working, and mounting losses for the cash-strapped renegade find the once-promising movie theater subscription service on borrowed time. 

MoviePass app on a smartphone and a MoviePass debit card.

Image source: MoviePass.

Closing credits

Critics of the move to nix the reverse split may argue that the stock maneuver would have bought MoviePass some time, but who are we kidding? The last split propped the stock price higher than a 1-for-500 move now, yet the stock still broke the buck just four trading days later. Four days!

Printing penny stock certificates to raise money is a recipe for dilution -- and disaster. A lack of liquidity doomed Helios and Matheson long before the lack of liquidity that comes with a delisting. With new streams of financing drying up, it's not as if MoviePass and its unsustainable model really had much of a chance with or without an exchange.

The future of movie subscription services now belongs to AMC Entertainment, which is up to 500,000 A-List members since its early summertime launch. AMC and the smaller rivals that will inevitability follow its lead with multiplex-specific plans own the future in this niche. They're the ones that can control the costs and score the high-margin concession sales. 

There's no turning back to piecemeal movie purchases. AMC Stubs A-List has been around for less than five months, and those members are already accounting for 10% of the tickets being sold. MoviePass got the ball rolling. It let the genie out of the bottle, and while it's a shame that it will now be AMC and others to cash in on the three wishes, the genie will grant those wishes. The clock is ticking on the disruptor. The disrupted are now the feature attraction.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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