Blockbuster Bend, the last remaining Blockbuster Video store in existence, will open its doors to members of the local community who supported the store through the recent pandemic in a surprising way: as an overnight destination. With popcorn, a pull-out couch, and a VCR on hand, Blockbuster Bend is offering three AirBnB-style overnight stays, costing just $4 each (that's the cost of a rental in 2008 or so). Reservations are only available to people who live in Deschutes County, where the store is located, so unfortunately there's little chance of managing to sneak into the event. They're also going for a '90s throwback vibe to their "hotel" room, with an old TV and entertainment center, fully stocked with VHS tapes.
One of those tapes, at least according to at least one photo shared online, is the VHS copy of The Last Blockbuster, a documentary film made about Blockbuster Bend, which recently had its premiere at a local drive-in. The film's director, Taylor Morden, spent some of his quarantine overseeing the Project 88 film.
"It's our 20th year as a Blockbuster, we were hoping to celebrate that this year, but with Covid throwing a wrench into everybody's plans, we were really excited to be able to pull this off," Sandi Harding, who manages the store, told CNN.
In addition to being local, anybody wanting to stay at Blockbuster Bend will have to adhere to their Covid-19 restrictions, and the AirBnB will be thoroughly cleaned between guests.
According to the documentary's official website, "The Last Blockbuster is a feature length documentary film about the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video and how one small town store managed to outlast a corporate giant."
"It started last year, and there were still a dozen or so Blockbuster locations left," director Taylor Morden told me when the film was in production in 2018. "We started filming this thing and I thought, 'It's a cool story, there's not many of these stores left, and we'll maybe start watching as one by one they start closing.' And that did happen and then it got sprung on us that the one here in Bend, Orgeon, where we live, is going to be the very last one left, and that gave us a sense of urgency and a renewed sense that this was going to be a great story. Yeah, we were already working on it, but the story has changed since then."
You can check out the (likely already sold out) AirBnB page here.