USA TODAY International Edition
Live Blockbuster website has fans replaying nostalgia
It’s 1999. The buttery aroma of popcorn fills your nose as you walk down each aisle, browsing the latest Blockbuster releases. Maybe you’ll pick up a horror flick, or something lighter like “Toy Story.”
It’s a memory the movie rental company’s fans looked back at fondly this week after realizing Blockbuster’s website is still live with a new landing page.
The company’s website appears to tease something new without giving away much information at all. When visiting the site, users are greeted with the company’s iconic ticket stub logo and the words “We are working on rewinding your movie.”
Blockbuster didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
But the site prompted some people to recall the late fees customers incurred if they dared to return a movie past its due date. Others remembered the frustration of not finding the one movie they wanted to rent.
“Remember when you went to rent a new release and it was out?” tweeted one social media user. “So you started looking behind each dvd box just to make sure lol.”
Others had more sentimental recollections.
“It makes me realize how many mundane moments of our lives would soon become nostalgic and iconic,” wrote one Twitter user. “How they felt permanent but were only temporary. We didn’t know it at the time we were living in it.”
Blockbuster’s website has changed over the past year
Blockbuster’s landing page has undergone changes periodically over the past few months, the archive website Wayback Machine shows.
● A July 26, a snapshot of the website shows a GIF of actor Wayne Knight.
● By Aug. 21, a GIF of John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” had been added to the page.
● And in October, the page appeared as it does now, with the company’s logo and movie- rewinding message.
Blockbuster also has a tendency to troll social media users or post playful messages, prompting the public to engage with the company on Twitter.
On March 15, the 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.”
Most recently on Wednesday, a lawyer tweeted about Blockbuster making a comeback, and the retailer nudged the attorney to make a business pitch.
The attorney obliged and suggested Blockbuster open an on- demand mini movie theater experience in which it rents theater rooms 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 tapes, the store was much larger- scale than other video stores at the time, the website
said. The video rental store had 400 stores around the country in 1988.
But when on- demand movie services, pay- per- view and cheaper rental services such as Redbox began to gain popularity, Blockbuster struggled to retain its customer base.
In 2004, Blockbuster started its own an online DVD rental service to compete with Netflix, but it 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’s manager, also listed the store as an Airbnb in 2020, allowing guests to rent their favorite movies as well.
“When you call dibs on this stay, you’re booking a night back in the ’ 90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror flick – we’ll give you the keys to the entire store!” Harding wrote in the listing.
Last year, she told USA TODAY the store was “doing all right.”
“I think we have a couple more years,” Harding said in November. “But you know, everything could change in a heartbeat.”