The little Blockbuster that could

The Last Blockbuster (2020)

“Do I rent missing renting from a physical store, no, absolutely not. I don’t think anybody does.”

86 minutes, streaming on Netflix  (2020) Trailer

The giant of all video rental franchises has truly fallen, with one remaining store in Bend, Oregon.

I’m sure most of us are surprised to hear there would even be one left in the wake of home streaming.

Thankfully, filmmakers have documented Blockbuster’s rise to fame and the eventual aftermath called The Last Blockbuster which ironically is airing through Netflix.

Upsetting the norm

Blockbuster was founded in 1985 by entrepreneur David Cook.

Most video rental stores were operated by mom-and-pop operations at the time. Distributors that supplied the films charged an exorbitant amount of money for a single copy.

There was nothing more disappointing than visiting your regular video store to find out the flick you were jonesing for had not been returned or you just missed signing out.

Blockbuster came up with an attractive price sharing structure that allowed them to break the mold with the distributors and offer a vast selection of movies with multiple copies of the same titles.

This effectively pushed the mom and pops out of the game, many of which ended up deciding to franchise into Blockbuster to catch the wave.

What a ride

At its height in the 90s, the company consisted of over 9,000 stores and employed over 84,000 people; 58,000 of those alone in the United States.

The documentary brings back all the fond memories of the stale popcorn and plastic covered cases.

My first Blockbuster membership was logged in Lethbridge, AB.

At that time, you could go in and assemble six movies for $6 for six days. What a time to be alive!

The key to the system was getting the tapes back before the dreaded late fees kicked in and this discount was no longer a deal.

Beginning of the end

I won’t give away everything, but needless to say, Blockbuster was slow to the online services party.

By the time they realized this “internet” was really catching on and speeding up enough for people to watch movies at home, they had already passed on purchasing Netflix.

In the famous words Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

The film is centered around the last lone manager, Sandi Harding, and her locking in the fourth and final renewal option with the current owner of the brand, Dish Network

Will they be allowed to renew the lease on the franchise, will it live to see another day?

You’ll have to tune into find out.

Because my life revolves around commercial real estate, and frankly movies when I’m not thinking about real estate, check out these other cool finds I recommend.

Posted by Kelly Macsymic


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