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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment files for bankruptcy




By Sara Ruberg


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


In the filing, Chicken Soup listed debts of about $970 million, and total assets of about $414 million. It owes millions 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, with titles including “From Lemons to Lemonade” and “Angels Among Us,” contains collections of stories for specific audiences, for example new mothers or cat lovers.


Its original book, published more than 30 years ago, dispensed 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 the ill.”


The company, which has published more than 300 titles, has sold more than 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 the Redbox operation. The company declined to comment Sunday.


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


William Rouhana became the company’s CEO in 2008 and ran the company with his wife, Amy Newmark, publisher and editor-in-chief of the book division.


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


The company reported $636 million in net income loss in 2023, compared with $111 million in 2022, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. At the time that Chicken Soup for the Soul acquired Redbox, the movie rental company had more than $300 million in debt.

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