Beginning with a first shot on social media, an entity calling itself Blockbuster DAO is trying to generate $5 million to acquire the intellectual property rights to the Blockbuster Video brand from Dish Network, its current owner. The plan is to rebuild Blockbuster as a streaming service that they hope will revolutionize the film industry. A DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, would run on the Blockchain and automate most decisions, ostensibly putting more power into the hands of viewers to determine the future of licenses and original programming on the streaming service and eliminating human error. But nostalgia fans, don't get too excited. This is far from a sure thing.
Blockbuster DAO wants to raise $5 million to acquire the Blockbuster IP from Dish Network, but FX Empire, who first reported the plans, says that the DAO, plans to "use a PR campaign to build pressure on Dish Network to sell Blockbuster." In other words, Dish has not expressed an interest in selling the IP, and Blockbuster DAO is hoping that by putting an offer out there, they can get consumers to put pressure on Dish to sell. It's not an impossible task, but hardly a foolproof plan.
The problem? Well, Dish would likely see $5 million as too low an offer. The company bought Blockbuster for $320 million in 2011, and closed its remaining stores and DVD-by-mail service in 2014. But by 2011, the collapse of the video rental industry was already well underway, so it's likely a not-insignifcant chunk of that purchase price was the value of the Blockbuster name and brand.
Until fairly recently, there were a handful of Blockbuster franchise stores, still paying Dish for the rights to license the Blockbuster name for video rental. Now, there is only one, in Bend, Oregon, but that one (and its story, as told in the documentary The Last Blockbuster) seems to have created a spike in nostalgia directed at the former corporate monolith.
In recent years, Dish has licensed the Blockbuster name and logo for t-shirts (you can get them at Target), puzzles (available at numerous retailers, including Target and Dollar General), and tabletop board games (available in stores and online). Most recently, Netflix announced that they are developing a sitcom set in a fictionalized version of the last Blockbuster, starring WandaVision's Randall Park.
Regardless of these obstacles, Blockbuster DAO hopes to finance their attempt via the sale of BlockbusterDAO NFT mints priced at 0.13E each. So if you want to own a piece of what they are hoping is the future of the film industry, you can check out the BlockbusterDAO Twitter account for details and updates. Nothing is yet available, so if you see someone offering the sale of an NFT, it isn't them.
ComicBook reached out to Dish Network for a comment. If they provide a response, this article will be updated to reflect that information.