Final Blockbuster

We all knew this day would come. Hell, some of us thought it had already happened. There were two Blockbuster Video stores left in the entire world: one in Perth, Australia, and one in Bend, Oregon. Now, the Australian store has confirmed they’ll be closing by the end of the month, which will make the Oregon location the final Blockbuster on the planet. If you’re lucky enough to still frequent the Oregon location, please be extra kind and rewind, because they’re the only one hanging on.

Raise a glass to the soon-to-be-last Blockbuster Video on earth, located in Bend, Oregon. The Australian Associated Press has confirmed that one of the two remaining Blockbusters, located in the Perth, Australia suburb of Morley, is shuttering. “We put in a pretty good effort to be the last one in Australia, I suppose, but it was going to happen eventually and now is the time,” said co-owner Lyn Borszeky.

Founded in 1985, Blockbuster Video rose to become the world’s leading video store chain, with more than 9,094 stores in total, and more of 4,500 of these in the US. If you’re my age, you can distinctly remember the old days of traveling to Blockbuster and scanning the shelves for something new to watch. Blockbuster had its detractors – the company put a lot of smaller, better, mom and pop video stores out of business. But it still had its iconic place in the world of VHS, and eventually DVD and Blu-ray rental. The party could only last for so long, though. By the 2000s, mail-order movie rental, and then streaming, began to take hold of the market. Blockbuster tried to hold on as long as it could, but by 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

Most of the stores closed up shop, but there were a few lingering locations. As recently as last year, there were three Blockbusters remaining in America – two in Alaska, one in Oregon. But in summer 2018, the two Alaska locations announced they would be closing, leaving only Oregon standing in the United States.  Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, the Australian location held fast…until it didn’t.

Here’s hoping the Oregon location remains, if only for historical significance. That location still attracts a steady stream of customers, and the store even brewed their own beer recently. On top of that, the owner of the Oregon location owns half the building, which means rent isn’t an issue. Perhaps this is what’s kept the store alive while the others have died, and perhaps that will keep it going. In the meantime, be sure to look for the Blockbuster Video cameo in Captain Marvel when it hits theaters this weekend. Now feel free to listen to this while daydreaming about renting videos.

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