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Blockbuster Lives!

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Blockbuster Lives!

Old 04-24-17, 08:35 PM
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Blockbuster Lives!

Just a nice little news release-blast from past

Be kind, rewind: Blockbuster stores kept open in Alaska

We have a real BLAST FROM THE PAST: Conor Knighton has spotted a retail survivor in a surprising place:

“I can’t tell you how many business cards I’ve given out to people ‘cause they literally do not believe that I’m from Blockbuster,” said Kevin Daymude. He’s the manager of a Blockbuster Video outlet in Anchorage, Alaska.

The new releases are new, and the candy is fresh, but it feels like a place from another era.

Daymude has been there for 26 years, since the days of people returning VHS tapes and having to rewind them. “’Be kind, rewind’ -- we had stickers on there!” he laughed.

Despite the company’s bankruptcy and the rise of Netflix, there are still a handful of Blockbuster stores open for business. CBS NEWS
Maybe we should rewind for a minute …

You’ve seen the headlines: Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010; it closed its last 300 stores in 2013. So how is this even possible?

“For a lot of people, they haven’t seen a Blockbuster store in, maybe, five or six years,” said franchise owner Alan Payne.

Back when Blockbuster shut down, Payne decided to keep HIS doors open. Today, he owns nine of the last 12 Blockbusters left in the entire country. (There were once over 9,000 worldwide.)

“At its peak almost half of the families in the entire country were going in a video store every week,” Payne said.

“I don’t know of any other industries that have gone from nothing, to an integral part of the culture that fast.”

The first Blockbuster opened in 1985. By 1989, one was opening every 17 hours.

1990s Blockbuster Video Store Commercial by TheRetroTimeMachine on YouTube
The stores were racking up millions of dollars of profit in late fees alone. In 1999, actress Rene Russo and a guy dressed up like a giant videotape rang the opening bell for Blockbuster’s IPO.

But two years earlier, another video rental company was founded: Netflix. Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix in 2000 for $50 million. Today, it’s worth $60 BILLION.

Payne explains: “Blockbuster was convinced at the time that they could compete with Netflix, and rather than buy them, they wanted to compete with them.”

But by the time Blockbuster launched its own DVD-by-mail service, it was too little, too late. Netflix and Redbox had already moved customers away from the stores ... and when high-quality streaming video came along, they never had to leave the couch.

There were once close to 60,000 employees wearing the blue and yellow. Now, Kenai Malay is one of just a handful left at a Blockbuster in Wasila, hometown of Sarah Palin. Here, there’s something you don’t normally see on Netflix: restocking shelves.

Kenai Malay restocks the shelves at the Blockbuster video store in Wasila, Alaska. CBS NEWS
And here, like in the rest of Alaska, Internet is expensive. When you’re getting charged by the gigabyte, the video store can actually offer a better deal.

And during the cold dark winters, they can be community gathering places.

“I feel like a lot of the customers just want to come in and feel like they’re someone special,” said Daymude. “They love the customer service, they love the interaction.”

It’s a chance to get a recommendation from a person instead of from a computer, to stroll instead of scroll.

“The shopping experience of looking for a movie on a screen versus coming in here and seeing literally 10,000 titles, there’s no comparison,” said Payne.

At these last few Blockbusters in the last frontier of Alaska, the employees all know how this movie ends; they’re just trying to pause and enjoy it while it lasts.
Old 04-24-17, 09:08 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Fitting name for the OP as the one to be telling us about surviving Blockbusters. Nice to know that there are a few out there even if I no longer have any real interest in renting movies like that.
Old 04-24-17, 10:10 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Let's not cross post especially in an entirely irrelevant subforum. You may be legend but you sure as heck can't use a forum.
Old 04-25-17, 09:29 AM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

This isn't really news, it was always known that some Blockbusters would stay open. Alex Payne was even interviewed back when the closings were first announced in 2013:
Blockbuster customers in Alaska and southern Texas, for example, will still be able to rent videos, said Alan Payne, who owns the franchise locations there.

"We're operating independently," he said. "We have no plans to shut down."
There were some articles last August/September about a video taken in a Blockbuster in Texas:

A March 2016 article about the closing of some of the Texas stores:

An article from 2015 about the 9 open Blockbuster stores in Alaska:


The number of stores are dwindling though. Alex Payne owned 26 Blockbuster franchises in 2013, then 23 in 2014, then 19 in 2015, down to 9 now.

Family Video still has 759 locations:
Old 04-25-17, 11:07 AM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Very funny twitter feed:

Old 04-25-17, 04:19 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Parents surprise son who has autism with mini ‘Blockbuster’ store

Old 04-25-17, 06:09 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

I believe I still have an old Blockbuster card. I've been hanging on to it for just this very reason.
Old 04-26-17, 10:07 AM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Originally Posted by Jay G.

Family Video still has 759 locations:
My city has two Family Videos, and the one near by house seems to do fairly well. I get haircuts next door sometimes, and I'll always see people inside.
Old 04-26-17, 02:51 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

There are quite a few Family Video stores in Canada now -- and I've seen decent size crowds in at least three (including one in my old home town), especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Some of the elitist knobs I know here in Toronto scoff, but as with most big city dwellers, they don't seem to understand how things work in smaller urban markets, or why many people in them still prefer to simply -- and honestly -- rent a disc (quite cheaply, too), or that the average Family Video store actually has a better, broader selection of titles (especially new stuff) than either of Canada's anemic streaming services.
Old 04-28-17, 04:15 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Yea. I believe that video rentals aren't as dead as people think. Hollywood Video and Blockbuster collapsed because they had so many locations, with such high overhead. It was good for them to get out while they had a chance. Think if people gave up on coffee/Starbucks. Same effect. There's definitely a remaining market for video stores.

Streaming will take over eventually. But everyone has to have the right device. And the lag/resolution problems need to get to 0%. I fucking HATE when I'm involved in a good movie, and then it starts lagging or Netflix downgrades the video. It's not much different than having someone in the movie theater shouting at the screen and kicking your seat.
Old 04-28-17, 05:42 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

I was browsing Family Video just last weekend. And was surprised that they rent 4K & 3D movies. Plus there was something very comforting in the familiarity of a video store. Renting a movie seemed like a mini-event when you had to put some effort into it.
Old 05-12-17, 02:01 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

I just wanted to share that I made a short film that takes place in a video store. It's really my love letter to video stores. Please check it out! I'm interested in the fact that video stores today some of them are getting non profit status. It's really awesome!

Anyways, if you have the time please check out my film. Inspired by Kevin Smith's Clerks.

It's called "I Hate the Color Red" and it's on youtube. I can't post the link because I haven't posted 30 posts yet. Its about a pair of siblings who inherit a video store but because of "red boxes" and "red envelopes" they find that their store will be obsolete. It's a comedy.

search "I Hate the Color Red - Short Film"
Old 05-18-17, 10:20 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Looks good but don't have time to watch all of it right now. Added to favorites so it'll show up on my TV's YouTube app.
Old 05-14-20, 10:19 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Still thriving even in the era of Covid-19.

The Blockbuster video store in Bend, Oregon, is the last of its kind in the entire world, and it’s miraculously surviving not just the streaming era but also the coronavirus pandemic. In a new interview with Vice, the store’s longtime general manager Sandi Harding said she’s keeping the lights on by making the store as safe as possible. Because the local DVD distributor is closed, Harding ventures to major retailers with her mask and gloves on to purchase new films for her store.

“The big title for next week is ‘Call of the Wild,” Harding told Vice. “I usually start out with 30 copies on DVD, and 12 to 14 Blu-Ray. I’ll go to Walmart, Target, Fred Meyer, every retailer we have here in town, and I’ll only get five or 10 from each one. They don’t like me very much if I come in and just wipe out their shelves, so I try to be conscientious of that, and make sure that I leave movies for their regular customers as well.”During the early days of the pandemic, Harding was forced to close the Blockbuster store because it was impossible to prevent overcrowding in the new releases section. The store reopened by offering curbside pickup for the first time in its history. Buyers could rent or purchase movies over the phone and a Blockbuster worker “would clean the DVD case with Clorox wipes, put it in a Ziplock bag, and take it to their car.”

The Blockbuster closed for a second time so Harding could make the store safe enough to let customers inside. The store’s owners continued to pay the entire staff. To make the Blockbuster as safe and social-distance friendly as possible, Harding and her team “started taping social distancing markers and directional arrows on the floors, DIY-ing their own Clorox wipes out of heavy-duty shop towels, and stocking up masks and gloves.”

Old 05-15-20, 05:47 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

Good for them, I'm glad they are managing to stay in business during all this. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, if you manage to keep a movie rental shop a viable and profitable business in this day and age, you have to be a smart businessperson, which she seems to be.

Interesting that she buys more than twice as many copies on DVD compared to Blu-ray. Blu-ray has been around for nearly 15 years now but for the majority, DVDs are still "good enough". I guess I shouldn't be surprised about that either.
Old 05-15-20, 05:54 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

What surprises me is that there's enough demand to support buying 40 some odd copies of Call of the Wild. New releases aren't cheap anymore. Is she really going to turn a profit on those?

That's also probably why she buys more DVD's than Blu-rays. Could she rent more Blu-rays than she does? Probably, but would it justify the cost? Probably not.
Old 05-15-20, 06:55 PM
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Or people that still go to the video store watch DVDs and probably still have those wooden TVs

I could see some of the nostalgia but don't miss the days of all the new releases checked out.

You can get that at Netflix with "Long Wait" and "Extremely Long Wait"
Old 05-17-20, 06:50 PM
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Re: Blockbuster Lives!

I've been enjoying this twitter account

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