Remember the old days? Before Netflix, Hulu, & all our favorite streaming apps? When there was a Blockbuster at every corner?
So how did Blockbuster first come about? There was a married couple David and Sandy Cook. Sandy Cook had wanted to dive into the video industry and David Cook made that happen by buying a video store franchise that went by the name "Video Works" located in Dallas, Texas.
Video Works isn't the company we know and love though, so how did Blockbuster really come about? David opted out of Video Works and opened up his own video store "Blockbuster Video Inc" when the franchise would not allow him to make the store blue and yellow. The first Blockbuster Video store opened its doors on October 19, 1985, in Dallas. They had 8,000 VHS tapes plus 2,000 Beta Tapes in their store.
Not The Original Plan
Owning a video store was not the first business David Cook started, his original goal was to sell software services to the oil and gas industries located in Texas. The company name was Cook Data Services, he created this business in 1978 although it did not pick up much business. He used his earnings from this company to open the first Blockbuster store.
Blockbuster had over 9,000 video stores all over the United States resulting in the company having to hire a lot of people, they are said to of had had over 85,000 employees.
The company earned around $800 million dollars just from customers returning their videos late. This was on top of the 65 million people around the United States that had a membership with their local Blockbusters.
The video store was worth 3 billion dollars back in its glory days.
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Blockbuster was such a huge name at the time that they even hosted their very own award show on well-known networks such as CBS, United Paramount Network, and FOX. The live award show included many big named Hollywood stars such as George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Kurt Russell, and many more.
To participate in voting for the awards, Blockbuster had a set up in their stores where the customer had a chance to cast ballots to vote for their favorites.
The actor to collect the most awards over the years was Nicholas Cage who won three awards including favorite actor for drama and romance, and favorite actor for action and adventure twice.
The award show first started back in 1995 and had its final year in 2001. They decided to cancel the award show due to the events that occurred on September 11th that year for security reasons.
In 1993 Blockbuster took a huge leap and invested over 10 million dollars into an entertainment company called Discovery Zone that made entertainment centers geared towards children. These locations had activities such as ball pits, arcade games, slides, and everything else that would keep a child entertained for hours.
When April 1995 came along Blockbuster took full control of the entertainment center. They had big plans with Discovery Zone. In fact, they were already in the works by expanding the entertainment centers so that they weren't just for children but fun for the whole family, they were hoping to compete with companies like "Dave & Busters". They planned to have many activities such as arcade games, drinking, VR games, and so much more fun entertainment. The name in mind was "Metro Zone".
Sadly, the plan did not end up turning out so well. A year later in March of 1996, they were forced to say goodbye. The company had to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. They were in over 300 million dollars in debt.
The company closed down its locations so quickly that they did not even have the chance to let their customers with reservations already booked know that they were going to be shutting down. The big-time entertainment and restaurant business Chuck - E Cheese purchased 13 Discovery Zone locations. They even took the opportunity to give customers from Discovery Zone with canceled reservations the chance to reschedule their event with them.
Not only was Blockbuster well known in the United States, the leading video industry at the time, Blockbuster video popped up all over the world. The company had stores in many different countries, including Australia, Brazil, Peru, Norway, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and there are many more on the list.
End of The Line
As the world changes it can be hard for companies to keep up with the newest companies and trends. Sadly, that's exactly what happened to everyone's favorite video store, Blockbuster. A company that was once worth well over 3 billion dollars ended up in 1 billion dollars in debt.
In 2010 it was getting easier and more convenient to rent movies and games. With companies like Redbox that you could rent DVDs at many store locations or get the ability to have them delivered straight to your doorstep through Redbox and or Netflix. Streaming companies were not far behind as being the newest way to watch TV.
The company had no choice but to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010.
The Last Blockbuster
Here's some good news, there is still one Blockbuster store remaining. This store is located in Bend, Oregon. If you are looking for a little taste of the past you can watch a whole documentary about the last Blockbuster standing, this movie was released in 2020. You can also get more information on the rise and fall of the video store.
You can also live out the past by checking out their online store where they have a large variety of Blockbuster merchandise you can purchase. T-Shirts, Socks, Sweatshirts, Keychains, and even a replica video card!
The Blockbuster video store is still talked about today and the company will forever go down in history.
Please Be Kind, Rewind.