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The buyer of Moviefone has been revealed after the venerable ticketing and showtimes brand was auctioned off at a fire sale price of $1.075 million on March 19.
Los Angeles-based producer Cleveland O’Neal III stated on Wednesday that his holding company offered the winning bid at the the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Moviefone currently only has one staffer working for the website, and the new ownership did not disclose a hiring increase but said that it will evaluate plans for future hires.
O’Neal III will look to integrate Moviefone into his syndicated television franchise Made in Hollywood, which features celebrity interviews and film previews and has run for 15 seasons. (A recent episode included interviews with the cast of Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man.)
The addition of Moviefone to the producer’s Connection III Entertainment Corp., which operates out of its Wilshire Boulevard offices, marks the latest chapter for the long-running site.
Founded in 1989 as a phone service to find movie showtimes, Moviefone became a ubiquitous brand that at one point in the ’90s the company claimed that 100 million filmgoers used its service in a year.
Moviefone was acquired by AOL in February 1999 for $388 million in stock. After AOL’s sale to Verizon for $4.4 billion in 2015, the site changed hands again in 2018 when MoviePass parent company Helios & Matheson acquired it for $23 million amid a buying spree.
MoviePass, which became known for a $9.95 a month service that essentially offered moviegoers a film ticket a day, was unsustainable financially and Helios & Matheson filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
O’Neal III added of his company’s buy: “The integration of Made In Hollywood’s TV assets with Moviefone’s iconic digital/mobile/social assets is a perfect marriage of entertainment brands providing a 360 solution for our advertising, studio, broadcast and streaming partners across multiple platforms.”
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