Earlier today, to celebrate the news that the last surviving Blockbuster on the planet was going to let some lucky Bend, Oregon residents stay in the store overnight as part of a "thank you" to the community for supporting the store through the pandemic, the long-dormant Blockbuster Video Twitter account, which had not tweeted since Blockbuster corporate stores ceased operation in 2014, sprang briefly back to life, igniting excitement among nostalgic cinemaphiles and reviving memories -- good and bad -- of the franchise that made home video rental an everyday event -- and then more or less single-handedly collapsed the industry when it fell.
As quickly as it arrived, though, Blockbuster's Twitter account vanished again, both entering and exiting the Twittersphere today with jokes about checking in and checking out. (Get it? Because of the AirBnB?)
The exit tweet provoked just as much -- if not more -- nostalgia, passion, and snarky humor as the return tweet did. While the brands that sprung up to talk with "Blockbuster" again mostly ignored the farewell tweet, fans had plenty to say.
Blockbuster was a household name for decades, with thousands of stores nationwide at one point. Now, it's down to one -- after years of several franchise stores hanging on by a thread long after Blockbuster had closed its corporate stores in 2014. The Bend store, the subject of the documentary film The Last Blockbuster, also trades on its status as the last vestige of an iconic American brand by selling branded merchandise for what has effectively become a tourist destination.
That's the appeal, in part, of the Blockbuster/AirBnB partnership, which serves dually as a thank-you to locals who have kept the store open during the pandemic and a sign to the rest of the world that Blockbuster Bend is not going anywhere.
The documentary itself, crowdfunded on Kickstarter, debuted at a local drive-in theater and will likely start fulfilling to backers soon. Among the possible backer rewards is a VHS copy of The Last Blockbuster dressed to look like an '80s or '90s-era rental tape.
You can see some of the fan reactions (as well as Blockbuster's tweets) below.
So long as you stay outta the Midwest, we'll have no problems... pic.twitter.com/eveuTE4Npp— Family Video (@FamilyVideo) August 11, 2020
Greetings from Bend
just stopped by this weekend 👋👋👋 pic.twitter.com/h7bzkfNKX5— Ashley Brasier (@AshleyBrasier) August 11, 2020
LOTS of variations on this one
...EVERYBODY wanted Blockbuster to know that they're still taking good care of the movies they never returned.prevnext
Ok, we've seen enough. Checking out.— Blockbuster (@blockbuster) August 11, 2020
Does Wakanda still have Blockbuster?
NO COME BACK pic.twitter.com/xn29WpRZh4— Brandon (@FantasmicEars) August 11, 2020
Hard to say goodbyeprevnext
This might be overstating it a littleprevnext
Time waits for no one
Come back pic.twitter.com/kKcsyC1hnq— ((Fitzy)) 🐝 (@TheFknLizrdKing) August 11, 2020