It’s sort of amazing, in hindsight, to remind ourselves that discount movie ticket chain MoviePass managed to disgrace itself straight into the sun without the help of the global pandemic. Make no mistake: The company—which often had trouble fielding enough cash to cover a particular busy Tuesday, let alone the near-total shutdown of the industry it had attached itself, remora-esque, to the flank of—would have imploded roughly six seconds into the COVID-19 lockdown. But MoviePass managed to demolish itself way before the coronavirus was even a glimmer on most people’s nightmare radar, during one of the healthiest periods of operation in the entire history of people going to see movies. That’s the sort of talented, multi-billion self-own you have to really be trying to achieve.
And now that legacy of truly epic own-foot-shooting can be yours, reader, for a price that might go as low as a meager $250,000. Per Variety, MoviePass’ parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics—currently in the middle of a bankruptcy liquidation that mostly stems from their decision to, well, buy MoviePass—is getting ready to auction off the company’s assets, such as they are. Minimum bids for the property are expected to start at $250k, so if you and a hundred of your closest friends have ever wanted to own a defunct and dilapidated movie subscription brand, now’s your chance.
Hilariously, the offer doesn’t even include the one part of MoviePass that might actually be worth some cash: The list of email addresses and contact information for its subscribers, a grouping that once numbered upwards of 2 million people. (Although to be fair, plenty of that data was already made publicly available during a data breach last year, because it’s rakes all the way down with these guys.) So what does your money buy you? Plenty! There’s all the tech and patents for the company’s notably awful app, for instance, plus some polling data that (we’re going to assume) is mostly about how people are increasingly unhappy with their MoviePass subscription. You’d also be getting the moviepass.com domain name, to do with as you please—a gardening blog, a Letterboxd competitor, maybe some kind of subscription movie tickets site?
What you’re really buying, though, is peace of mind. With MoviePass out in the wild somewhere, you’d always have to worry that someone was on the verge of disrupting its vaunted “going out of business” business strategy. It’s kind of likea vampire hunter keeping Dracula’s ashes in an urn on their mantle; you might not necessarily like owning it, but you love knowing exactly where it is.