When Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy protection in February, the beleaguered movie rental chain shuttered 760 stores.  Now a U.S. bankruptcy court has approved the closing of 391 more stores.  Together the closings have reduced the size of the rental chain, which had 2,400 stores when it filed Chapter 11, by 48%.


Meanwhile Blockbuster’s shares plummeted 29% after the company warned that it might have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The biggest U.S. movie rental chain warned that it was suffering “significant liquidity constraints.”  Blockbuster, which currently operates 3,500 stores in the U.S., has already closed nearly 1,300 outlets.


With nearly $900 million in debts, Blockbuster has been unable to expand its multi-platform capabilities to compete successfully with Netflix, the rental-by-mail giant or with Redbox’s increasingly popular kiosks, or to develop the kind of digital download presence that is becoming increasingly important as Internet bandwidth increases.


While the video rental store is not quite extinct, it appears to be heading for the endangered species list.  Hollywood may not care, but with the passing of the video store it is losing a training ground of sorts for future writers and directors like Quentin Tarantino, who spent his formative years as a video store clerk.