Film and TV

Slowly But Surely, Blockbuster's Stock is Rising. Why? The Little Things Count.

A few days ago, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Renaissance Tower-based Blockbuster sent word: It's pushing back its shareholders meeting one month, to June 24. Said Tom Casey, the video-rental company's exec veep and CFO, "We believe the additional time will provide us with the greatest opportunity to successfully complete one or more of our ongoing recapitalization initiatives prior to the annual meeting, possibly resolving our NYSE non-compliance and avoiding the need for a reverse stock split," which was first mentioned last month.

When the reverse stock split first came up in March, the company's stock was worth a quarter, give or take. But since then, the stock price has seen quite the turnaround: At the time of this posting, Blockbuster's stock sits at around 50 cents, up almost 4 percent from this morning's opening. But it's been fluctuating wildly in recent days -- it was even a few cents higher earlier this week, and headlines once touting inevitable bankruptcy were filled with words like "soars" and "hope."

To what, then, do observers attribute the good news? Nothing big, really, just the dribs and drabs of optimism coming from downtown HQ -- like its deals with Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox and Sony that keep those studios' new titles out of Netflix and Redbox customers' hands for the first 28 days of release. Or news that NCR, which manufactures those rental kiosks for Blockbuster, will start selling new titles from those branded boxes in coming days. Or its streamability on those HTC HD2 phones from T-Mobile. I hope, before the week's out, to talk to Jim Keyes -- who told us back in December that Blockbuster wasn't dead, it was just "a football team that's rebuilding."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky