R.I.P. Blockbuster Video 1985-2014
As technology changes faster and faster than ever before, things we have gotten used to being a part of our daily lives are gone forever: rotary phones, tube televisions, rabbit ears, and now the video store. Blockbuster Video, the biggest chain of movie rental stores in America, will be closing it's final 300 physical locations as well as it's Netflix style mail service at the beginning of 2014. DISH Network, who owns Blockbuster, made the announcement that it will retain the Blockbuster name and logo but the stores will be no more. As VHS tapes have disappeared and consumers have turned away from physical DVDs and Blu-rays in favor of on demand entertainment, the need for such a company has become irrelevant.
DISH CEO Joseph Clayton issued this statement:
"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment. Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings."
Movies were a big part of my childhood and there was nothing better than going to the video store on a rainy day and picking out something new from the shelves. I remember pre-ordering MICHAEL JACKSON: MOONWALKER as a kid as well as STAR WARS when it hit VHS. I remember the days when you had to wait for a previously viewed copy of a movie to go on sale because movies were priced for rental and not purchase. It wasn't until DVDs were priced to own on the day of release that things changed.
I worked for years in high school and college as a manager of a local Blockbuster and related to Randall in CLERKS with the stupid questions customers with no taste in film would ask. I saw my first horror movies from video store rentals. This was a part of my life and I am sure a big part of all of yours. The next generation will have no clue what a video store means or what impact it had on sleepovers, date nights, and snow days.
I will miss Blockbuster and what it meant to venture out to decide on a film and not have it queued in the cloud at a moment's notice. Things change and that is okay and I cannot complain about the access to so many more titles, but it feels like something is being lost by not having a physical place to browse, like a book store, and stumble across something new that could change your outlook on movies forever.