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Physical media suffers another blow as Redbox kiosks go the way of the dodo after Chapter 7 liquidation

Redbox, the DVD kiosk rental service, is shutting down after several attempts to revitalize the platform and keep physical media alive.

Physical media suffers another blow as Redbox kiosks go the way of the dodo after Chapter 7 liquidation

Grab a glass of something nice and pour one out for Redbox, as the DVD kiosk rental service is shutting down. The shuttering of Redbox is terrible news for Chicken Soup of the Soul Entertainment employees, as 1,000+ of them become unemployed. Redbox, a staple in the physical media game for more than two decades, is dismantling 24,000 DVD rental kiosks alongside the teardown of its streaming services after the platform’s parent company, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, transmuted its Chapter 11 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 liquidation initiative on Wednesday. Worse, the 1,000+ employees who lost their jobs won’t receive severance or extensions to much-needed benefits.

For years, cinephiles have been able to find Redbox kiosks in supermarkets and outside convenience stores such as 7-Eleven. For the low price of $1, customers could rent film titles from Redbox while praying the discs haven’t become scratching posts for housepets or coasters for dear old dad’s room-temperature can of Schlitz beer. The upkeep for Redbox titles could have been better, so more often than not, you’d spend your money on a title that displays an error message part of the way through. It was the Wild West when renting a movie from Redbox. Still, the service was convenient and much more accessible than fighting Friday night crowds at Blockbuster Video.

On June 28, CSSE filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, listing total debts of $970 million and consolidated assets of $414 million as of March 31, 2024. Many of the film industry’s top names in film distribution provided movie titles for Redbox, including Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and more.

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On Wednesday, Judge Thomas M. Horan of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware granted Chicken Soup’s request to move its bankruptcy case to a Chapter 7 filing, saying there is no more money to pay its employees or bills. Before closing the book on the matter, Judge Horan said a bankruptcy trustee would investigate the handling of funds to see if any misappropriation occurred before the liquidation. “1,000 people are about to lose their jobs and they’re not even going to be paid for work that they did,” the judge admonished.

According to Variety, Chicken Soup failed to pay employees for an estimated four weeks before its Chapter 11 filing. Redbox’s shuttering joins what feels like a neverending string of closures across the entertainment industry, with video game studios taking a severe hit despite having a year of killer titles on the market. Companies affected by mass layoffs include Playstation, Microsoft Gaming, Snapchat, Riot Games, Take-Two, CNN, Vice Media Group, Rooster Teeth, SiriusXM, Marvel, Buzzfeed, and more.

So long, Redbox, and thanks for all the fish.

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