It’s finally happening. After a long, protracted death spiral, Blockbuster Inc. is planning on filing for bankruptcy in mid-September. This isn’t the end of Blockbuster quite yet, as the company hopes the bankruptcy process will only last for five months, but things aren’t looking good. After filing for Chapter 11, the video store company plans on closing hundreds more stores (between 500 and 800) and deploying even more kiosks (it already has 6,000 out in the world). Blockbuster has lost over $1 billion since 2008 and despite renewed efforts by certain concerned shareholders to save the company, the future of the chain is looking more and more like it is kiosk-only.
To quote Gob Bluth, the tears just aren’t coming.
The LATimes has the story and explains that Blockbuster CEO, Jim Keyes, has been meeting with executives at all the major studios, including 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, Sony, and Walt Disney. Their primary stake in this is to make sure that a viable competitor to Redbox and Netflix exists. In a future that may be dominated by digital streaming and convenient in-store kiosks, it is prudent for studios to spur healthy competition in all their distribution channels.
It may have been months/years since I’ve actually set foot in a Blockbuster, but on a serious note, I am in fact saddened by their continuing struggles. Many of us who read and write for /Film have undoubtedly have spent a substantial amount of time in video stores, and even though Blockbuster has engaged in some fairly nonsensical business practices and been responsible for the death of many a mom-and-pop store, the closure of more stories will probably mean fewer options for people looking to get their movie fix.