Blockbuster Video officially went bankrupt back in 2010, but that wasn't the end of the one-time rental behemoth. A few intrepid franchise owners around the US managed to keep their stores open, most in remote areas of Alaska where internet is so spotty that a video store is still your only option if you want to revisit Chris Kattan's oeuvre or whatever. But alas, even those stalwart Blockbusters have begun to disappear, closing one by one over the years.
This week, the last two Blockbusters in Alaska announced that they too have succumbed to the slow march of time and will close, Deadline reports. Now, there's only one Blockbuster left in the US: A single, lone store operating in Bend, Oregon.
According to Deadline, the Oregon Blockbuster will officially become the chain's last remaining outpost Monday, when the Fairbanks and Anchorage franchises stop renting for good. The two stores will stay open to sell off their stock of onetime New Releases and orange Nickelodeon VHS tapes through August, but you won't be able to check out a three-day rental after this weekend. If you're desperate to rent a VHS of Corky Romano from now on, you'll have to drive way out west.
"It's exciting, it's sad, and a little scary," Sandi Harding, manager of the Blockbuster in Oregon, told Willamette Week. "It just is what it is. We're excited to still be here, and hope that we last out a little longer."
"I just really thought that Alaska would hold out longer than we would," she said.
Back in April, John Oliver graciously purchased Russell Crowe's leather jockstrap—along with a bunch of Crowe's other memorabilia—and donated it to the Fairbanks Blockbuster in hopes that it would bring in crowds curious about "what Russell Crowe's balls smelled like in 2005." Unfortunately, it doesn't look like those glorious scraps of Hollywood history were enough to keep the store alive for long.
It's unclear what the Alaska Blockbuster will do with the Crowe collectibles, but hopefully, the franchise's owners decide to ship them down to Oregon. The Bend shop is the last flickering flame of the Blockbuster fire, a light that once burned bright across 9,000 stores nationwide. It needs all the help it can get.
Godspeed, final Oregon Blockbuster store. May you absorb the power of all the past fallen stores like Jet Li in The One, and summon the strength to keep the Blockbuster name alive forever.
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