Ted Farnsworth: Where is the Ex-Chairman of MoviePass Now?

If there’s one thing we believe, it’s that cinematic experiences are arguably the best way to consume entertainment despite online subscription services making access incredibly easy. This much is actually something countless individuals across the nation back too, as explored in HBO’s ‘MoviePass, MovieCrash,’ a documentary delving into the titular subscription movie ticketing service. The truth is this company’s sole admirable objective is to lure people back into theatres, but alas, it nearly burned down shortly after Theodore “Ted” Farnsworth got involved in its workings.

Ted Farnsworth is a Man of Many Hats

While not a lot of details regarding Ted’s early years, upbringing, or initial professional endeavors are publicly available as of writing, we do know he has always been quite business-minded. It, hence, comes as no surprise his entrepreneurial ideas go way back to at least the early 1990s. Yet, neither he nor his organizations managed to garner any recognition in those initial years. In fact, not only did his unwavering efforts fail, but he was also sued around a dozen times for myriad reasons by the time the mid-2010s rolled around, just to reportedly settle a vast majority of them.

According to official records, Ted has registered roughly 50 companies across various industries in Florida over the past three decades, but only a mere handful remain active today — if that. He has dabbled in everything, whether it be biometric facial recognition, energy drinks, or farming, all the while having once established a psychic hotline with LaToya Jackson. Then there was Ted’s stint as a film producer, too; he ostensibly became the principal owner of Emmett Furla Oasis Films in 2018, following which he even launched Fortress Entertainment Group.

This latter aspect was all the while Ted was already serving as the CEO of Helios & Matheson Analytics New York (HMNY) as well as a Chairman at MoviePass — positions he’d obtained in 2016 and 2017, respectively. We should mention he was brought into the former firm after they’d acquired Zone Technologies, the brains behind the RedZone Map app, which he’d purportedly founded. As for his association with the latter, that began owing to his ties with CEO Mitch Lowe and their decision for HMNY to purchase a majority stake in MoviePass to give them financial backing.

No one could’ve imagined the funds would essentially get blown up in promotional parties to grow the user base instead of being distributed to manage both that and core operations. So, in the end, per the documentary, while Ted apparently led a carefree lifestyle while vacationing as much as possible, MoviePass ran out of possible funds by the time late 2018 rolled around. The organization, thus, announced its complete closure on September 14, 2019, with the chairman resigning three days later while also placing an offer for all its related businesses. He also quit HMNY.

These enterprises included Moviefone, production corporation MoviePass Films, the film co-acquisition unit MoviePass Ventures, etc., every one of which ostensibly stemmed from Ted’s ideas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if he was able to get the rights to these firms. Yet, he subsequently managed to expand his own entertainment group and even co-founded ZASH Global Media and Entertainment in January 2021. This was seemingly before the Federal Trade Commission as well as the federal authorities separately charged him with knowingly using deceptive practices during his relatively brief stint at MoviePass (2017-2019) for self-benefit.

Ted Farnsworth is Detained and Awaiting Trial

Although MoviePass, Mitch Lowe, and Ted Farnsworth settled their case with the Federal Trade Commission in 2021, the matter was far from over because then they were criminally charged. On November 4, 2022, these two executives were indicted on one count of securities fraud plus three counts of wire fraud by the Department of Justice for their roles in a scheme to defraud investors/users. They allegedly did so by putting forth “false and misleading representations relating to HMNY and MoviePass… to artificially inflate the price of HMNY’s stock and attract new investors.”

Ted and Mitch reportedly “also allegedly made false and misleading representations about the positive impact that multiple revenue streams (other than subscription fees) were having on MoviePass’ profitability and self-sufficiency” while no such stream existed. Instead, they were losing money owing to MoviePass’ $9.95/month “unlimited” plan. Furthermore, they reportedly lied about their declining subscriber use as well as the cost of goods, whereas they were apparently instructing employees behind the scenes to change user passwords/restrict access to save money.

Therefore, today, at the age of 61, Ted is detained at the Administrative Security Federal Detention Center-Miami and awaiting trial. He was initially released on a $1 million bond, only to be arrested again in 2023 for reportedly displaying a “marked disregard” for law enforcement and the court. He “consistently violated his conditions of release in a manner of a person that does not believe the rules apply to him,” so a judge ruled he is to remain detained until his case goes to trial in the fall of 2024. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years behind bars for each count.

Read More: Mitch Lowe: Where is the Ex-MoviePass CEO Now?