Randall Park To Star in Sitcom About Blockbuster Video Employees
Ant-Man and the Wasp star Randall Park is set to star in a Netflix original sitcom set in a Blockbuster Video store. The series, titled Blockbuster, hails from producer Vanessa Ramos (Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and will reportedly take place in a fictionalized version of the last Blockbuster in the world, which in the context of the series is in "a dying strip mall in a dying town." This reads a little bit like the idea behind the @LoneBlockbuster Twitter account, a popular parody account that is supposedly run by depressed employees at the last Blockbuster where everything is always awful and the customers are a ragtag group of lunatics.
There actually is one, single Blockbuster Video still in business, in Bend, Oregon. Like most Blockbuster stores, it's in a stand-alone building rather than a strip mall, and the staff and customers seem fairly normal, if the 2020 documentary The Last Blockbuster is any indication. That movie was a big hit on Netflix when it arrived there last spring.
"The irony of our indie movie about Blockbuster Video and VHS renting being available to stream on Netflix is not lost on us," The Last Blockbuster director Taylor Morden told ComicBook. "Someone at Netflix clearly has a good sense of humor about the whole situation, but I guess as they say, history is written by the winners. It's fun to think about a fantasy world where Blockbuster and Netflix can peacefully coexist."
The Bend Blockbuster was also referenced in a 2020 Legends of Tomorrow fan film, which starred Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renee and was released during the pandemic. Written by ComicBook's Russ Burlingame and Hentschel, that film was directed by Morden.
The management missteps that led to Blockbuster's demise -- the most well-known, but certainly not the only one, was the decision to pass on an opportunity to buy Netflix early in its lifespan -- are enumerated not only in The Last Blockbuster but also in Built to Fail: The Inside Story of Blockbuster's Inevitable Bust, a new book out this week from longtime franchise owner Alan Payne, who appears in The Last Blockbuster. Payne is sharply critical of the parade of executives who followed after the retirement of longtime Blockbuster chief H. Wayne Huizenga, who bought Blockbuster shortly after it was founded and built it up into an entertainment juggernaut, then cashed out when it was at the apex of its power and value.
That mismanagement seems like a great source for humor in a Blockbuster sitcom, although at this point it's impossible to say what the plans are for the show's sensibilities. You can see the synopsis below.
It's an ensemble comedy, placed in the last Blockbuster Video in America, that explores what it takes - and more specifically, who it takes - for a small business to survive in a dying industry, in a dying strip mall, in a dying town.
No word yet on what directors are involved, or an official release date, but keep your eye on ComicBook for updates.
Is the Blockbuster sitcom something you're excited to see? Leave a comment below, or hit up @russburlingame on Twitter to talk all things comics, and ask about his collection of Blockbuster Video paraphernalia. There's a lot of it.