Moviefone Is Bankrupt, Now Being Run By Only One Employee

Truth is often stranger than fiction, and the real-life saga of Moviefone certainly is a strange one. The entertainment brand has been kicking around since the '80s, reaching its zenith in the '90s as the hottest call line in town for listings of local movie showtimes. But following its acquisition by the parent company behind the also-doomed MoviePass, Moviefone is no longer. Helios & Matheson have declared Moviefone bankrupt, laying off all employees of the once-popular telephone service — except one. But no, Seinfeld fans, it's (probably) not Kramer.

Variety reports that Moviefone has officially been declared bankrupt by Helios & Matheson, the parent company that acquired the entertainment brand in April 2018. Now worth only 1% of its former valuation of nearly $400 million when AOL bought the company in 1999, Moviefone is all but closed down — with only one employee sustaining the service:

Meanwhile, tucked away in the bankruptcy filing was the disclosure that the net book value of Moviefone's intellectual property is estimated to be $4,379,504. That's just 1.1% of AOL's $388 million stock deal for Moviefone in 1999, right before the internet bubble burst.

While Moviefone is now worth just a pittance of its erstwhile valuation, it's actually one of Helios and Matheson's most valuable assets: The company reported total assets of under $10 million in the Chapter 7 filing.

Moviefone was a staple of the dot-com bubble, becoming the go-to telephone service for cinephiles who were too lazy to look at their local showtimes in the newspaper. It was so ubiquitous at one point, that it became the subject of a Seinfeld episode, in which Michael Richard's Cosmo Kramer poses as Mr. Moviefone after a wrong number fiasco.

When Variety's report (which even makes reference to the Seinfeld episode) hit, everyone naturally began making the joke that Cosmo is that last employee keeping the lights on at Moviefone. As far as we know, this isn't the case. But what is Michael Richard up to these days, anyways?