From the distinctive blue and yellow color scheme to the oddly comforting smell of rows of plastic video boxes, anyone growing up in the 90s will remember the thrill of a trip to Blockbuster in search of a movie.
While the video channel flourished in the 1980s and 1990s, it was killed by streaming services and by 2014 Blockbuster had closed the last of its company-owned stores, and today none remain. one, in Bend, Oregon.
And now, a new Netflix comedy follows the fictional lives of workers employed by the movie rental chain’s “last remaining store”.
Titled Blockbuster and out November 3, the series stars Fresh Off the Boat’s Randall Park as store manager Timmy Yoon and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Melissa Fumero as his longtime crush Eliza.
Here, Femail takes a trip down memory lane that will strike a wave of nostalgia in anyone who remembers walking the aisles, rewinding their tapes and trying to dodge late return charges.
A new Netflix comedy (pictured) follows the fictional lives of workers employed by Blockbuster’s ‘last remaining store’
Go hard: This Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon is the world’s latest Blockbuster location
In 2000, Mr Randolph offered to sell Netflix to established rival Blockbuster, but the offer was rejected. The Netflix founder revealed in his 2019 book that Blockbuster CEO at the time of the offer, John Antioco (seen in 2006), almost laughed when a $50 million price tag was mentioned.
The once successful video library giant has its roots in a single store that opened in October 1985 in Dallas, Texas.
Company founder David Cook used the proceeds from the first stores he opened to build a massive warehouse and expand his growing empire.
In the late 1980s, the business was sold for $18.5 million to former Waste Management executives John Melk and Wayne Huizenga, who expanded the business considerably, opening a store every 24 hours.
In 1992, Blockbuster was the leader in video rentals, with over 2,800 stores worldwide. The company’s growth was driven by acquisitions of other retailers such as Ritz in the UK and US chains Major Video and Erol’s Video.
Blockbuster’s turning point came in 1997, when Silicon Valley executives Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph launched Netflix, which went public five years later as a DVD-by-mail service.
In 2000, Mr Randolph offered to sell his business to established rival Blockbuster, but the offer was turned down.
Blockbuster was once the leading video rental franchise with 9,000 locations worldwide before going bankrupt in 2010. By 2017, there were 10 left in the US (the last remaining store, above, has become something of a tourist place)
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings sits in a cart full of DVDs ready to ship in 2002. Hasting offered Blockbuster to buy his company for $50 million, but was turned down.
The Netflix founder revealed in his 2019 book that Blockbuster CEO at the time of the offer, John Antioco, almost laughed when a $50 million price tag was mentioned.
At the time, Blockbuster was the dominant player in the DVD and video rental market. The company reached its peak in November 2004, with 84,300 employees and 9,094 stores worldwide.
However, while Netflix introduced its streaming service in 2007, Blockbuster failed to adapt and its decline was rapid. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
The following year, Dish Network bought Blockbuster’s remaining 1,700 stores before the last company-owned stores closed in 2013. Blockbuster’s 528 stores in Britain were among those forced to close.
Meanwhile, starting in 2007, Netflix’s popularity skyrocketed, with the company expanding its usability to Xbox360, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes in 2008.
In 2019, a manager at the world’s last Blockbuster store said it continues to survive thanks to its loyal pool of older customers who “can’t use Netflix.”
The Chester branch of Blockbuster in the UK, pictured on January 16, 2013
The Bend franchise in Oregon became the latest after the world’s second-to-last Blockbuster announced it would close in Perth, Australia that year.
And among the reasons for its continued success, along with a community spirit and excellent customer service, is the fact that some of the older regulars don’t have access to or can’t use online streaming services such as Netflix, said an employee.
“Some of them just don’t want access to the new culture of technology, and some don’t have laptops or devices to stream the sites,” said service manager Dalton Chambers, who agreed that it made sense for the store to continue to thrive. Only DVDs due to technology gap.
“That goes for things like Blu-ray DVDs as well,” Dalton told DailyMail.com. “Many older generations also choose regular DVDs because they don’t want to mess with Blu-ray. They don’t want to risk it not working for them.
But Dalton also pointed to its unique location and customer base as another reason for the store’s historic success.
Titled Blockbuster and out November 3, the Netflix series features Fresh Off the Boat’s Randall Park (pictured) as store manager Timmy Yoon and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Melissa Fumero as his longtime crush Eliza
Speaking to Pop Sugar about his new series, American actor Randall confessed he has mixed feelings about streaming. Pictured is Tyler Alvarez as Carlos on the show
“We’re in Bend, Oregon, and here in Oregon a lot of things are thriving,” he explained. “We’re a mecca for craft brews, we’re a really outdoor town, we’re just in the right niche that can make things happen.
“People are like ‘oh, there’s the last surviving Blockbuster – let’s keep it going!’ – that’s the personality of everyone here – that’s our mantra.
The Bend Shop has remained open for over 20 years, with most of its sales being made through old classic movie titles.
Speaking to Pop Sugar about his new series, American actor Randall confessed he has mixed feelings about streaming.
He said, “I love the convenience of streaming. I will say there is something really special about having to do a little work for your content and make an event out of the actual choice.
“I long for the simplicity of this time and, as Timmy says, the human interaction that comes with it.
“Talking to the store clerk, getting recommendations, giving recommendations, all of those things, in real time. I think it’s fun. And that’s something we no longer have, unfortunately.
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