Discussing 15 rare facts about Blockbuster video feels like a trip back in history. Do people still remember video stores?
Believe it or not, Blockbuster opened because of oil prices.
Back in the mid-80s David Cook, a Texas entrepreneur, was having a tough time with the oil collapse. So he took advantage of the booming VHS rental market and voila, Blockbuster became a thing.
The cost became a deterrent for thieves.
Stores back in the 80s had a serious issue with theft. By keeping the tapes behind the empty boxes showing what they were, the Cooks allowed people to see what was in stock, and the cost was low enough that people could rent and didn’t need to buy.
Blockbuster video wasn’t a part of the porn industry.
How many people remember the mom-and-pop shops that had a restricted section that sold adult movies? The Cooks had nothing against pornography, they just didn’t feel like peddling it.
The store had a serious issue with Nintendo.
At one time game rentals made up around 10 percent of their revenue. But Nintendo firmly believed that Blockbuster was attempting to photocopy game manuals, which meant less profit on their end.
Late fees brought in a fortune.
Unless you can find a mom-and-pop shop these days that still rents VHS and DVDs, you won’t worry about late fees. Back in the day, late fees could, and did, get insanely expensive.
The Cooks did think about creating their own mini-amusement park.
The concept never caught on, obviously, but there was an idea to create an adult-themed amusement park. No, not like that. This would include laser tag, mazes, and motion simulator rides.
They tried to ban male workers from having long hair.
If you’re thinking that the workers who banded together and sued won this case, think again. They lost on appeal in 1998.
The store did have exclusive rights to various movies.
Some movies belonged to Blockbuster, which meant other shops couldn’t pick these titles up. That sounds a little petty, but it did work in some instances when it came to bumping up their profits.
They placed advertisements in unusual places.
Seriously, these days seeing ads everywhere isn’t a big deal. But Blockbuster’s attempt to place advertisements on clothes hangers did work, kind of.
They mailed Netflix a curious package.
In 2004 Netflix and Redbox were taking a huge toll on Blockbuster’s business. The company threw everything they had at Netflix, but the shipment of a literal kitchen sink kind of took the cake.
Blockbuster attempted to buy out Circuit City.
Remember Circuit City? It was the Best Buy 1.0, sort of. But the chain went bankrupt despite Blockbuster’s attempt to buy them out in 2008.
The stores were in high demand.
The empty stores, I should say. They were in prime locations and thereby were able to pull down a few great prices from other strip mall occupants.
It’s ironic to realize the last movie that was rented at Blockbuster
The last official location closed in 2013. Guess which movie was the last to be rented? This Is The End.
Pride came before the fall.
When the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, offered to handle Blockbuster’s online efforts, he was laughed at. Unfortunately, Blockbuster would end up closing eventually.
There’s still one left in Bend, Oregon.
While it’s adrift and on its own, there is one more Blockbuster video store left. Bend, Oregon has hung onto this landmark and has even used it as an Airbnb.