suprised this isn't being discussed here I have a feeling no one will be crying BB a river maybe Ebert's words are more powerful than we ever thought http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=113018 Associated Press Blockbuster Issues Earnings Warning Wednesday December 18, 6:29 pm ET Blockbuster Issues Earnings Warning As Video Rentals Slow; Shares Fall 32 Percent DALLAS (AP) -- Shares of Blockbuster Inc., the nation's largest video rental chain, fell 32 percent Wednesday after the company lowered its fourth-quarter and full-year sales forecasts. "The unprecedented number of movie titles available for sale at deeply discounted prices, this year's DVD gift-giving phenomenon and a compressed holiday season" contributed to the weaker sales, Blockbuster Chairman and Chief Executive John Antioco said. The company now expects a revenue percentage increase in the "low-single digit range" versus the "low- to mid-teen range" previously forecast for the fourth quarter. The company reported revenue of $1.36 billion for last year's fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. One analyst surveyed by Thomson First Call expects the company to report revenue of $1.71 billion for the quarter. For the year, Blockbuster expects revenue of more than $5.5 billion, resulting in profit percentage point growth in the "low-single digits" and earnings of $1.03 to $1.10 a share. Blockbuster, a unit of Viacom Inc., had been expecting 2002 profit percentage point increases in the "mid-single digits," and earnings of about $1.31 a share. Analysts were expected full-year earnings of $1.31 a share and revenue of $5.99 billion, according to First Call. Blockbuster reported cash earnings, excluding charges, of $1.01 a share on revenue of $5.16 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2001. The company's loss for 2001 was $240.3 million, or $1.35 a share, including items. "Blockbuster has experienced a significant slowing of movie rentals since Thanksgiving, as consumers are attracted to the discounted prices offered by mass merchants on new DVD titles," said SWS Securities analyst Harry Katica. Katica, who doesn't own stock in the video rental company, lowered his investment rating on Blockbuster to "market outperform" from "strong buy." Shares of Blockbuster closed Wednesday at $13.13 on the New York Stock Exchange, down $6.27, or 32 percent. The day's weakest level of $13.10, at that point, was a new 52-week low, surpassing the prior low of $17.25 set on July 24. Blockbuster's warning dragged down rivals Hollywood Entertainment Corp., the No. 2 video store chain, Movie Gallery Inc. and Netflix Inc. The three video rental chains issued statements, reaffirming their earnings forecasts.