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In brief: Few things illustrate the evolution of technology quite like the demise of Blockbuster. Having once boasted over 9000 stores across the world, there will be only a single outlet as of next month.
Right now, there are just two Blockbusters left: one in the US and one in Australia. But the latter of these, located in the Perth suburb of Morley, is closing its doors forever at the end of this month. Owners Lyn and John Borszeky have stopped rentals and will be selling off stock, signs, and other merchandise until March 31.
The closure will leave just one final Blockbuster, in Bend, Oregon. There had been three stores in the US up until last summer when the two holdouts in Alaska closed. These outlets gained a slew of publicity after comedian John Oliver bought a number of movie items from Russell Crowe’s post-divorce auction, including a leather jockstrap from Cinderella Man and a vest from Les Miserables, and sent them to the stores. Sadly, the increased sales weren’t enough to offset the planned lease increases.
The general manager of the Oregon Blockbuster, Sandi Harding, said older movies helped keep the store afloat. "You can go to Redbox and you can get the new titles, but they don't have the older ones," she explained. "Netflix and Amazon don't have everything, either."
Blockbuster employed around 84,300 at the height of its popularity in 2004, but the advent of broadband and streaming services resulted in the company filing for bankruptcy protection in 2010. Three years later, parent firm Dish Network started closing US stores.
There are no plans for the final Blockbuster to close. Being the last of its kind could see more visitors traveling to the store, and the chain’s appearance in the Captain Marvel movie will likely bring more attention to the name.