Canadian Blockbuster forced into receivership
A Blockbuster sign on a store is seen in Barre, Vt., Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. (AP / Toby Talbot)
TORONTO - Video store Blockbuster's Canadian operations have been placed into receivership by an Ontario court after the chain missed payments on its debt.
Documents filed with Ontario's Superior Court say the Canadian affiliate of the U.S.-based Blockbuster chain owes more than US$67 million to a number of movie studies that supplied the company.
The documents say the Canadian company acted as guarantor for Blockbuster's U.S. operations, which went into bankruptcy protection last September then subsequently sold off its assets last month.
The chain has about 400 stores in Canada, which remain open.
The U.S. side was bought by Dish Network Corp. last month for US$228 million in cash.
Blockbuster is already a shadow of its former self -- when the chain filed for bankruptcy protection, it was down to 3,000 stores in the U.S., less than a third of the peak of 9,100 in 2004.
There are about 2,400 currently open with plans to close about 700 more by mid-April.
Blockbuster used to dominate the U.S. movie rental business. But it lost money for years as that business declined because customers shifted to Netflix Inc., video on demand and DVD rental kiosks.