Blockbuster Video website is live. Are they making a comeback?
- Blockbuster fans recently discovered that the company’s website has been updated.
- Customers now believe the business is reborn and have mixed memories of the movie rental industry.
- A look at the online archives shows that the website has undergone minor changes over the past few months, but there is no confirmation that a revival is on the way.
It’s 1999. The buttery aroma of popcorn fills your nose as you walk down each aisle, perusing the latest Blockbuster releases. Maybe you’ll choose a horror movie or something lighter like “Toy Story.”
It’s a memory fans of the movie rental company looked back on fondly this week after realizing Blockbuster’s website is still live with a new landing page.
The company’s website seems to be teasing something new without giving much information. When visiting the site, users are greeted by the company’s iconic ticket stub logo and the words “We are working on rewinding your movie”.
Blockbuster did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But the site has prompted some people to point out the late fees customers incur if they dare flip a movie past its due date. Others remembered the frustration of not finding the one movie they wanted to rent.
“Do you remember when you went to rent a new version and it was out?” tweeted a social media user. “So you started looking behind every DVD box just to make sure lol.”
Others had more sentimental memories.
“It makes me realize how many mundane moments in our lives would soon become nostalgic and iconic,” one wrote. Twitter user. “How they felt permanent but were only temporary. We didn’t know that when we lived there.”
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Blockbuster’s website has changed frequently over the past year
Blockbuster’s landing page has undergone periodic changes over the past few months, archive website Wayback Machine says.
- On July 26, a snapshot from the website shows a GIF of actor Wayne Knight.
- On August 21, a GIF of John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” was added to the page.
- And in October, the page appeared as it does now, complete with the company logo and a movie rewind message.
Blockbuster also tends to troll social media users or post playful messages, enticing the public to engage with the company on Twitter.
On March 15the company tweeted, “New business idea: we’re going to come back as a bank and use VHS and DVDs as currency. Time to go visit your mom.”
More recently on On Wednesday, a lawyer tweeted about Blockbuster’s comeback, and the retailer pushed the lawyer to make a business pitch.
The attorney compelled and suggested Blockbuster open a mini on-demand movie theater where he rents out movie theaters with couches, a big screen, and surround sound.
When did Blockbuster first open?
The first Blockbuster store opened in October 1985 in Dallas, according to History.com.
Stocked with at least 8,000 cassettes, the store was much larger than other video stores at the time, the website said. The video rental store had 400 stores nationwide by 1988.
But when on-demand movie services, pay-per-view services, and cheaper rental services such as Redbox began to gain popularity, Blockbuster struggled to retain its customer base.
In 2004, Blockbuster launched its own online DVD rental service to compete with Netflix, but that wasn’t enough to save the company. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2010.
Stores began to close and as of 2022 the last remaining store was in Bend, Oregon.
Sandi Harding, the store manager, also listed the store as an Airbnb in 2020, allowing customers to rent their favorite movies as well.
“When you call dibs for this stay, you book a night in the 90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror movie – we’ll give you the keys to the whole store !” Harding wrote in the listing.
Last year, she told USA TODAY the store was “doing well.”
“I think we’ve got a few more years left,” Harding said in November. “But you know, everything could change in the blink of an eye.”
Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She’s from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email him at email@example.com.