Just as video killed the radio star, Netflix killed the video-store star. Or something like that. Point is, brick-and-mortar retail chains are on the verge of extinction, and now the once mighty giant that was Blockbuster has finally toppled over. Its owner, DISH Network, announced today that every single Blockbuster store in the United States will be closing.
But not only is Blockbuster shuttering its 300 or so remaining stores, it's getting out of the physical distribution game entirely. One of the ways Blockbuster tried to stave off Netflix's inevitable domination was to open its own movies-by-mail service called Blockbuster@Home. That too will be closing by the end of the year.
So what's left for Blockbuster? Well, it still has a Blockbuster On Demand streaming service that DISH Network will keep operational, and some stores in Europe, but that's about it. And considering how many streaming rental services there are out in the marketplace these days, don't be surprised if Blockbuster backs out of that game in the not-too-distant future, too.
It's a shame, really. As easy as it is to make fun of Blockbuster as a relic, it was a relic that meant a lot to several generations of movie fans. Its own business practices may have doomed it in the long run, so we're not exactly going to call its shutdown in the year 2013 a tragedy, but it's silly to pretend like there weren't several decades where the retail chain had a significant impact on not only an industry, but millions of people on a daily basis. Hell, Blockbuster had more of an impact on who I am today than some human beings did, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
In honor of the chain's passing, here's one of our favorite bits of Blockbuster product placement in a movie. Fun fact: the man who gets eaten by the T. rex while trying to get into the blockbuster is none other than Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp.
And another favorite (from a truly underrated film):
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