1,700 Blockbuster stores hang in the balance

Former movie and video game rental giant Blockbuster struggled for years to compete in a changing marketplace. Last September that struggle finally caught up with the company: it declared bankruptcy.

Blockbuster’s recent acquisition by Dish Network, however, gave the crippled company a new lease on life — even as 1,700 stores potentially lay on the chopping block. A new request by the company is asking for one simple thing to help decide the fate of those stores: time.

Following talks of liquidating locations and selling inventories prior to the Dish deal, Blockbuster has now filed for an extension on when the company must decide just what it will do with 1,700+ stores reports Home Media Magazine. The Dallas, Texas-based company asked that courts shift the original deadline of April 20th to July 20th.

In its announcement of the $320 million acquisition, DISH Network touted those brick-and-mortar locations as complimentary to other home entertainment facets Blockbuster has its hand in, including the Blockbuster Express rental kiosk program the company previously discussed expanding.

Tom Cullen, DISH Network’s executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Programming said, “With its more than 1,700 store locations, a highly recognizable brand and multiple methods of delivery, Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for DISH Network.”

What this all means for the more than 1,700 stores involved is still unclear, though Blockbuster continues to shutter locations. According to a new Daily News report on store closings in New York, Blockbuster once boasted around 9,000 stores; now, that number hovers in the 2,000s.

Disregarding store closures and the growing pains that come from being under a new corporate umbrella, some believe Blockbuster may eventually go toe-to-toe with Netflix in the online streaming video space.

Considering that many credit Netflix as a major contributing factor for Blockbuster’s fall from grace, it would be an ironic battle for consumers.