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Matt Levine

Of Course MoviePass Is Back

Also ESG MBAs, Elon Musk sales, stablecoin leverage ratios and Meta’s board.

Obviously if MoviePass hadn’t gone bankrupt in January 2020, but had instead limped along until January 2021, it would be a $50 billion company right now. How could it not have become a meme stock? It has everything. Its product — you pay MoviePass $10 a month, and in exchange you can see as many movies as you want, in theaters — has the retail-focused, nostalgic, pandemic-scarred appeal of other meme stocks like AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and GameStop Corp. Also its business model made no sense: You could see all those movies because MoviePass would buy tickets for you, at full price, generally $10 a ticket or more; it lost money on most of its customers every month. This led people to short the company (technically its parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc.), which would no doubt have infuriated Reddit meme-stock traders and led them to short-squeeze it.

Also I guess … I guess that Covid-19 would have been really good for MoviePass? Its main risk was that people would use its product, and in a pandemic they’d have to stop. (For a while, pre-pandemic, MoviePass dealt with this risk by changing people’s passwords so they couldn’t use the product, an incredible power move that surely would have appealed to Reddit?) It just seems perfectly set up for 2021, and it’s a shame we never got to see what happened, because its business model  did not work, it ran out of money, and Helios & Matheson filed for bankruptcy in 2020.