EEC: Documentary Studies

What was so great about Blockbuster? A lot, say fans

Rose Conlon May 20, 2021
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David Friedman/Getty Images
EEC: Documentary Studies

What was so great about Blockbuster? A lot, say fans

Rose Conlon May 20, 2021
Heard on:
David Friedman/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

This interview is part of our series Econ Extra Credit with David Brancaccio: Documentary Studiesa conversation about the economics lessons we can learn from documentary films. We’re watching and discussing a new documentary each month. To watch along with us, sign up for our newsletter.


The writing was on the wall, but that didn’t make it any easier for fans to accept the demise of Blockbuster, the video rental giant and veritable millennial cultural institution.

Nearly two decades and one bankruptcy since the company’s 2004 peak with 9,094 stores around the world, Blockbuster has dwindled to one remaining franchise location in Bend, Oregon – the subject of a 2020 documentary, “The Last Blockbuster.”

Samantha Hoagland of Bonita Springs, Florida, still remembers the excitement Friday trips to Blockbuster would elicit in her family.

“Going to get pizza, stopping at Blockbuster, picking a movie, going home and just having a family night – it would make it so much more exciting than, ‘We’ll just find something on Netflix to watch, whatever,” she told Marketplace.

Jarrod Forgues Schlenker of Kansas City, Missouri, remembers the social aspect of trips to Blockbuster.

“You’d be looking at a movie and, inevitably, somebody would walk by and be like, ‘Oh, that’s a really good movie! Have you seen this one?’”

It was the kind of experience Forgues Schlenker wishes he could share with his kids.

“It’s something that was a lot of fun for me and I would have liked to have been able to share with them. And unfortunately I won’t have that opportunity, which is disappointing. But I guess that’s how things go,” he said.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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