Yesterday, Blockbuster Video finally filed for bankruptcy. The move likely represents the last nail in the coffin for brick-and-mortar video stores, which have been replaced over the past decade by Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, On-Demand TV, and my personal favorite: copyright-infringing P2P downloads.
Blockbuster’s slow dissolve into failure comes three years after Movie Gallery, owner of Hollywood Video, also filed Chapter 11.
(As a former employee of Movie Gallery—back in the heyday of my Afro-puffing high school shenanigans—I couldn’t have been more pleased with its demise.)
Blockbuster’s bankruptcy filing comes almost on its 25th anniversary; the chain opened its first store in Dallas on October 26, 1985.
Even though it was apparent that Blockbuster was fading into obscurity, the chain didn’t go down without a fight. To ward off the threat posed by Redbox, which offers $1-per-night rentals, Blockbuster birthed its own DVD kiosks. But the move—like the attempt to replicate the Netflix model—was too little too late.
According to the filing, Blockbuster will keep all of its stores and services up and running for the time being—but if the shuttered stores and bright GOING OUT OF BUSINESS banners in Boston are any indicator, I doubt these locations will be open long. So get your dirt-cheap DVDs now, kids.
I won’t miss Blockbuster. Their selection sucked—skewed towards stocking 800 copies of the newest Matthew McConaughey pistol-swallower and dismissing indies, documentaries, and pretty much everything else worth watching.
My interactions with their employees always left a bad taste in my mouth, too; they were so condescending when informing me about my late fees, as if they derived sadistic pleasure from loudly proclaiming that I’d kept Child’s Play 2 past its prime.