From 9000 stores to one: the story behind ‘The Last Blockbuster’
Blockbuster Video, at its peak, had over 9000 stores worldwide, with more than half of these in the States. In 1989 a new store opened every 17 hours!
Of course, these were simpler times, before Netflix, Stan and Foxtel, with their drop-in-the-ocean catalogues, changed the way you got your movies. Back then, there was a need for a tangible product that you could touch, feel and absorb. The “video-store experience” was in full force. It was all in the thrill of the unknown, the chase of the “new release”, that carried from the quirky innocence of the 1980s and through the razzle-dazzle, popcorn-machine-and-Christmas-lit stores of the 1990s and early millennia.
The last-standing Blockbuster is located in Bend, Oregon, a modern town with high-speed internet and a mecca for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. There’s plenty to do all year round. How, in a place like this, does a Blockbuster store survive? The documentary asks these questions and many others. Who are the people who work here? What are their favourite movies? And how did a video rental chain grow so huge that it impacted the way Hollywood made movies – only to dwindle from 9000 locations to one?
People of all ages are visiting the store daily, taking photos next to the iconic Blockbuster sign, browsing inside like they would a museum.
What happens now? Well, time is of the essence. There’s no telling how long the last remaining Blockbuster will be around. And making feature-length documentaries is very expensive. So, the makers have launched a Kickstarter campaign for help “to pay those movie lawyers to make sure it’s OK to show you all the great things we’ve uncovered”.
To help things along check out the trailer and Kickstarter campaign here.