End of an era: DISH to close remaining US Blockbuster stores

The company that once was the biggest force in the video and game rental business is officially shutting down retail operations in the U.S. DISH, which has owned the Blockbuster stores and brand in the U.S. since 2011, announced today it will close the remaining 300 or so retail Blockbuster stores in the country by early January. The few remaining franchised stores will remain open.

The announcement states that the Blockbuster By Mail DVD rental service will also shut down in mid-December. This follows the closing of all Blockbuster stores in Canada in 2011 and last week's announcement that Blockbuster U.K. was entering into administration.

DISH president Joseph P. Clayton stated in the press release, "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings." That includes the Blockbuster @Home service on the DISH satellite network and the Blockbuster On Demand streaming video service.

Blockbuster Video was founded in 1985 and quickly grew its massive chain of VHS video rental stores to become the single largest such company in the U.S. with as many as 4,000 stores. It also became a big way for gamers to rent console titles and even whole console systems. However, the company was slow to react to the DVD rental business in the late 1990s and lost a ton of its customers, especially when Netflix started its DVD rental-by-mail service. In 2010, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before being acquired by DISH in 2011 for a mere $320 million.

Source: Dish | Image via Dish

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21 Comments

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Not once did I ever rent anything from them.

That sure is closing a lot of stores in a very short amount of time though.

I think this was my fault. About 5 years ago I went to sign up with the local Blockbuster but I walked out wishing them dead after they said no to my business because I could not provide a landline number and only a mobile number.

At one point I had both Blockbuster and Netflix. I would return Netlfix and Blockbuster movies on the same day and Netlfix would receive, send my new movies, and I would receive them before Blockbuster even acknowledged my returns. They did not keep up with the competition.

dsl55dsl said,
Reason I hated blockbuster.... NO PORN!!!!

I'm sorry, but Lackluster Video takes a strong moral stance against pornography

neufuse said,

I'm sorry, but Lackluster Video takes a strong moral stance against pornography

Well, when I worked there they had soft core porn, like Skinemax. lol

Yeah I know they even took a stand against extremely violent movies. I remember at the time like 10 years + ago I wanted to see Irreversible (French movie with Monica Bellucci) and they told me we dont hole that movie due to violent content.

By the time they woke up and got around to doing DVD's by mail, Netflix was already the Google of rentals.

Too bad, lots of memories being excited as a kid and your parents renting a video game for doing good on a test or chore. Sign of the times though, there are just better services that have replaced them.

Are there any US based alternatives for renting console games apart from Blockbuster? For Games by Mail, are there any good services apart from Gamefly?

Sad but inevitable. There's a rental store near my house that's still in business but I have no idea how. They charge four dollars for an overnight disc rental. I'd love for them to be replaced by a Redbox