Image Credit: Grave: Daniel Smith/zefa/CorbisYou may want hold off on renewing that membership card — according to a Wall Street website called 24/7, Blockbuster Video could well disappear by the end of next year. Blockbuster’s business model of making its customers actually get off the sofa and go to the store to rent a movie has been rendered hopelessly obsolete by the Internet and mail-delivery rivals like Netflix. Some of Blockbuster’s competition, like Movie Gallery, have already thrown in the towel, announcing that they’re shuttering all their shops. All this, figures 24/7, means you only have till the end of 2011 to return that old copy of Kindergarten Cop that still sitting in your VCR.
Personally, I’m not all that broken up about Blockbuster’s theoretical impending demise. Not to dance on anyone’s grave, but I always resented the chain’s prissy attitude about movie ratings. If I want to rent Showgirls or Henry & June or any of the other NC-17 rated movies, shouldn’t that be my choice? Why would I go to a store that didn’t even offer me the option? Even more annoying, though, was Blockbuster’s wacky inventory philosophy, which stocked the shelves with dozens of redundant copies of the same latest releases, no matter how crappy. You could always find Pirates of the Caribbean, but try digging through the shelves for a Kubrick flick, or even an old Humphrey Bogart movie. Part of the fun of going to an indie video store — like the dear departed Mrs. Hudson’s in Greenwich Village, or Vidiots, still going strong in L.A. — is the serendipity of poking around the boxes, hunting for the unexpected gem. At Blockbuster, there were never any surprises, no reason to linger in the aisles.
Maybe I’m just cold-hearted, but I won’t be sorry to see Blockbuster go. But what do you think, Popwatchers? Will you shed a tear?