The following story was sent to me by Sean Christopher, a reader of my blog. Sean’s story is a fascinating one, it demonstrates how Moviepass really made a difference for consumers by making moviegoing affordable again. Unfortunately, it also chronicles the pain of investing in HMNY. With Sean’s permission, I am posting his story here.
I was 19 years old when our country suffered one of the worse disasters of modern history. Imagine just starting your adult life and waking up to witness an event you would only see in movies. I never realize how much that day affected my life until today with 9/11 just days away and being sober for the first time in 16 years. In those 17 years, I suffered from depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. In all that time I tried everything from AA to therapy, but on August 15th, 2017 I came up with a different plan. This is the story of how MoviePass changed my life.
The only thing that truly helped me was going to the movies because movies for me provided an escape from the struggles of my daily life. Whether the film was based on a fantasy or based on a true story, it made me feel like parts of it were made just for me. They would capture my attention as I compared my own struggles with scenes from the movie I was watching. On August 15th, 2017 HMNY acquired MoviePass and made it’s $9.95 unlimited one movie a day monthly subscription debut. My last drink was coincidentally on that very date, August 16th, 2017 I started to change my life. Depression is the first thing to hit you when you stop using anything that you’ve used for a long time. But now I had a secret weapon that wouldn’t put a hole in my family’s budget. MoviePass!
Every time I had a bad day and felt like having a drink I’d open my MoviePass app to see what was playing. Even if I didn’t go it made me feel better to know I had options to see a potentially good movie without worrying about wasting money. In the first few weeks, I must have seen every movie that was playing in all sorts of theaters in NYC or wherever I was at the time (P.A, N.J). I started to feel much more in control of my life, so I started to go to the movies less and worked on myself more.
I got my income tax refund and had the bright idea of throwing half of it into the stock market via my Robinhood app, I didn’t know that much about stocks and was excited to learn. Boy did I learn when I decided to put my money into a stock that was near and dear to a service that I had grown quite fond of, HMNY. I jumped in at a little over $3 per share and was more than happy to continue to average down as the stock plummeted to spare change levels. Then came the dreaded 250/1 reverse split and my 13,000 shares became 52, I was devastated, to say the least. I lost over $15,000 – more money than I had ever put away for any reason that didn’t involve a crapload of alcohol. Uh oh, I was now in relapse territory and the depression and anger hit me like a brick to the side of the head. But I didn’t drink. Instead, I chalked it up to a “you live you learn” scenario and started thinking about everything I gained and not what I lost.
I remembered when I looked into the eyes of Ted Farnsworth at the Special Shareholders Meeting on July 23rd, 2018 and he spoke to me directly I knew in my heart that if you don’t want to get eaten by sharks, you don’t swim in the ocean. I hold absolutely no grudges because of my new found wisdom, and I am holding an even larger position in HMNY than I was before at the bottom average. Thus I’m still prepared to lose it all, (as crazy as that may sound) because I am a believer in MoviePass. I want to be there no matter what happens in the end.
I loved movies ever since I was a kid and now MoviePass has made it possible for anyone on a tight budget and a movie lover to see new releases without breaking the bank and have money for concessions.
I was still going to the movies 5-7 times a month but was so much more involved with my own life than I ever was. I only went to see my pay “for’s” and a few “never pay for’s”. But I was still getting a chance to see more movies than I normally could afford to so it worked out. After a summer of great Disney films like Infinity War, Guardians of the GalaxyVolume 2, Black Panther and Christopher Robin, Solo “wasn’t bad” and other Hollywood summer hits like Deadpool, I find myself wanting to watch more Indi films. But the new plan only offers 3 movies monthly now, so I must choose carefully, but still feel no disappointment no matter the outcome.
Three movies a month is more than enough to keep this alcoholic from going picking up a drink, so the new plan doesn’t set me back considering all my life change. If I’m having a busy month and there really isn’t anything I want to see, skipping a month wouldn’t bother me because hey, it’s only $9.95 a month.
So I believe that the new business model could be profitable for both the company and the consumer in the long term and me? For the first time in 17 years, I haven’t had a drink (1 year), I have money in the bank and lost 25 pounds all because movie theater subscription became a reality.
I love Sean’s story and hope that he continues to have awesome success with his recovery. I hope and pray that HMNY will also recover and deliver a great return for Sean and others.
If you have a story about Moviepass you would like to share – feel free to contact me at – @bvisse on twitter.