Is Blockbuster Returning? Plus Confessions From a Former Blockbuster Manager
You may have noticed that trends from the ’90s and ’00s seem to be coming back lately … now is one of the most nostalgic and almost gone forever brands making a comeback? Some fans seem to think so! While there is currently only one Blockbuster Video store left in the world, in Bend, Oregon, some fans think the brand might be coming back because their website recently came back online.
The website now features the Blockbuster logo front and center and the words “be kind while we rewind” on mobile and “we are working on rewinding your movie” on desktop. In addition, their social media websites became active in recent months, often making fun of themselves for being shutdown. Blockbuster was an incredibly popular spot in the ’90s particularly. Everyone can remember the thrill of seeing what new releases were available, scanning Bob or Carol’s (insert your local Blockbuster employee name here) picks for the week on those designated shelves, or waiting at the drop box to see if the title you desperately want was returned by someone. Kids these days don’t know the stress of trying to get to your nearest Blockbuster to rent the newest movies just to find out that they’re already sold out for the night.
Is Blockbuster Video coming back and saving our Friday nights?
At one time, there were 9,000 locations but by 2010 they filed for bankruptcy. By 2014, only one store remained and still functions. The Blockbuster website is actually now owned by Dish Network (we didn’t even know that and our sister division publishes their magazine OnDISH Magazine) so it could be some marketing tactic, but fans are hopeful that something new is in the works for the brand. Last year, Netflix released a sitcom called Blockbuster centered around a fictional version of the last remaining store, starring Randall Park and Melissa Fumero. However, it didn’t really live up to the hype and got canceled after one season. Seemingly Netflix canceled Blockbuster twice now.
As fans begin to tweet about the potential return of Blockbuster, its official Twitter account has been replying with cryptic messages. It seems that for now, we can only speculate what Blockbuster has up its sleeve. While some hope for brick-and-mortar locations to return, others suggest that Blockbuster might be throwing its hat in the ring with streaming services somehow. Only time will tell and we will keep you posted!
Confessions from a former Blockbuster employee
In the meantime, did you ever work at a Blockbuster? We know someone who did and they are telling it ALL!
Did you ever panic that you forgot to rewind your VHS tapes? Well, many employees didn’t actually charge a rewind fee. Our source says, “Don’t tell my bosses, but I never charged anyone a rewind fee! In fact, most of the employees I worked with didn’t. We had a rewinder (or two) under the counter, and after checking each individual tape we would put the ones that needed help in there.”
Before the Internet, we couldn’t just Google our favorite actors or remember who was in which movie. Luckily, we had Blockbuster employees. Our source said they got really good at figuring out what people wanted. For example, “‘You know that one movie with that guy’ – one of the better ones was ‘Do you have any copies of when Harry Met Seattle?’ – my response was we do have Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally – both romantic comedies and both with Meg Ryan… and proceeding to explain what they were.”
Did you ever lose a VHS tape or turn it back late? You probably remember those horrible fees… even employees got charged with them! Blockbuster had no mercy. Our source explains, “Tapes in the stores used to wholesale for anywhere from $55-$75. Retail was ($89-$99) – so imagine the surprised look on people’s faces when they would lose a tape and have to pay to replace it. That eventually changed, but slowly and only for select titles in the beginning.” They added, “Yes employees even got charged late fees. Sure we could rent titles for free at my store, but the late fees counted. The dollars I paid to NOT watch Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman could have funded a store. I had a promotional T-shirt that was sent to me, but it took many rentals and those fees before I finally saw it.”
Prior to streaming, there just wasn’t another option to watch movies… even famous people had to stop in from time to time, too! They shared, “The aisles did have a variety of famous people that stopped in. Professional athletes, actors and more. There was even a stuntman that was a regular in my location and when he would be home between shoots he would stop in frequently. He countlessly asked for me to allow him to take his car up on two wheels in the parking lot which I always declined, insurance purposes and all. But he was awesome.”
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