The filing will likely wipe out the existing common shareholders, but it's not the end of the DVD rental chain itself. The company will make the most of the bankruptcy umbrella to work its way out of unattractive leases at underperforming stores. The immediate plan is to shutter hundreds of stores at the 4,430-unit chain. More may come.
Movie Gallery got a win in bankruptcy court yesterday, granted access to $140 million of its possession financing facility on its first day of Chapter 11 protection. The move wasn't in doubt, but holding back on the greenbacks would have killed the company. If you can't pay vendors for new releases or keep a reasonable payroll coming, you're toast.
The end result will be a Movie Gallery that is smaller and leaner, although it's not a prescription for a store-based platform that continues to fade in popularity. Blockbuster
Yes, drastic concept tweaks can still save the industry. Look at the success of a company like Hastings Entertainment
Creditors should demand change at Movie Gallery. Without a concept makeover, it will re-emerge with a cleaner balance sheet, but the same cash-sucking model that will find it tugging at the Take-a-Number machine at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in a couple of years.
So what happens if Movie Gallery comes out of this smaller yet smarter? A lot of that depends on the closings. Bowing out of one of its metropolitan Hollywood Video stores is not the same as bowing out of a rural Movie Gallery unit, where it may be the only game in town when it comes to in-store rentals. That would leave locals with little choice but to turn to mail-delivered providers like Netflix
In broadband-friendly markets, a smaller Movie Gallery would be an alley-oop pass to digital delivery providers like Amazon.com
It's important to keep an eye on all of the potential winners. Movie Gallery's shrinking isn't going to shrink the consumers' appetite for celluloid. Get to know the feeders.
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