The Last Blockbuster

The last of its kind

by Andy Bassett Mar 10, 2019 at 7:55 AM

  • Movies & TV News


    The Last Blockbuster
    Sounding like a summer tent pole movie in it’s right ‘The Last Blockbuster’ is unlikely to get a sequel.
    At the end of March this year, Australia’s last Blockbuster store will close its doors and cease trading. This will leave one solitary Blockbuster store (technically in name only as the company no longer exists) in Bend, Oregon USA as the only reminder that large scale video/DVD rental outlets ever roamed the Earth.

    Back in 2004 the majestic movie rental store bestrode the entertainment world with a global herd of 9000 stores, employing 60,000 people and with a market value of $5 billion. It grew out of the technological advances that allowed most homes to have a video player and then a DVD player, and it too saw changes as VHS gave way to DVD, though strangely, Blu-ray never really took off in-store. Now it’s the turn of the beast itself to step aside as technological evolution renders it a pointless relic.

    There was the odd reprieve here and there - attempts to offer mail order and streaming services to try and keep up with the newer, fitter, faster competitors such as Love Film and apex predator, Netflix - eventually failed and the clusters of stores dwindled and died. The last known sighting of a Blockbuster store in the UK was 2013.

    With the closing of the Australian outlet, the last breeding pair of Blockbusters has gone and now the lone shop in Bend, Oregon will wile out its days tended by a flock of passionate and dedicated film fans.

    All joking aside, there can’t be too many movie lovers of a certain age who won’t feel a tinge of sadness as this announcement evokes rosy memories of weekend film marathons. A Friday evening trip to Blockbuster ran a full gamut of emotions starting with exquisite anticipation as the viewing itinerary of the latest releases was mentally planned followed by crushing disappointment that some other movie nerd had nabbed the evening’s last copy for their own lounge-based sci-fi festival.

    At least there was normally plenty of choice further down the release schedule and where else could one stock up on the accompanying drinks, snacks, chocolates and popcorn that were going to see you through the entire weekend.

    And if you’d lost your membership card there was no problem as the staff always recognised you anyway and welcomed you by name. It all helped to make you feel like a member of a community.

    It’s doubtful that many film fans would give up the benefits of immediate streaming or 4K UHD Blu-rays to go back to good old days but it does feel like a unique generational experience has now finally been lost to the relentless drive of innovation.

    So, no sequel then but if we wait long enough maybe there'll be a reboot!

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