Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Files Chapter 11

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the parent company of movie rental company Redbox known for its distinctive red kiosks, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on Friday.

In the filing, Chicken Soup reported debts of about $970 million and total assets of about $414 million. It also owes millions of dollars to entertainment and media companies including Universal Studios, Sony Pictures and BBC Studios Americas, as well as some retailers such as Walgreens and Walmart, according to court filings.

Chicken Soup for the Soul was founded in 1993 by two motivational speakers, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. The company's inspirational book series, titled “From Lemons to Lemonade” and “Angels Among Us,” contain collections of stories for specific audiences, for example for new mothers or cat lovers.

Its original book, published more than 30 years ago, offered life advice and stories of overcoming obstacles, with the hope that it would heal readers' souls, just as “chicken soup has a healing effect on the body of a sick person.”

The company has published more than 300 books and sold over 500 million copies worldwide.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is separate from its book-publishing arm, which is unaffected by the bankruptcy filing. It was not immediately clear whether the Chapter 11 filing would affect Redbox operations. The company declined to comment Sunday.

In 2022, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment acquired Redbox, a business founded in 2002 and known for its bright red DVD rental kiosks outside supermarkets and pharmacies. Redbox has approximately 27,000 kiosks across the US.

William J. Rouhana Jr. became the company's chief executive officer in 2008 and runs the company alongside his wife, Amy Newmark, who is publisher and editor-in-chief of the book division.

Mr. Rouhana tried to expand the company into different products, including a line of soups, which ultimately failed. He founded the entertainment division of Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2016.

The company had sought relief to pay its employees, which it has been unable to do “for a two-week period ending June 14, 2024.” Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has about 1,000 full-time and part-time employees.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported a net income loss of $636 million in 2023, compared to $111 million in 2022. At the time Chicken Soup for the Soul acquired Redbox, the movie rental company was more than $300 million in debt.

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