The end of renting movies from a store is nigh, as Blockbuster announced Wednesday that it will close its last 300 retail stores across the United States by early January.
The death of Blockbuster comes as Netflix is seeing a massive resurgence, proving once again that on-demand and online entertainment and media have overtaken physical distribution methods.
For many years Blockbuster was a Friday-night staple for many Americans, as they would stop by their local shop to grab a DVD -- or VHS tape in an earlier day -- or two to pop a physical DVD player or VCR hooked to their television.
But now there are far too many easier options for folks looking to enjoy films, from Netflix and Hulu to Amazon and the successful Redbox movie stations posted at gas stations, grocery stores and elsewhere. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010, and was purchased in 2011 at auction for $320 million, according to Bloomberg.
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And Blockbuster has finally succumbed to market forces, leading to Dish's inevitable decision to close its remaining 300 storefronts, though about 50 franchise locations will still remain open. Dish also will keep the rights to Blockbuster's brand and library and will continue to maintain its streaming and on-demand properties, the Chicago Tribune reported. On a sadder note, the closings will lead to up to 2,800 Blockbuster workers losing their jobs.
"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," Dish President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said in a statement. "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings."
Americans seem unsurprised by the news of Blockbuster's retail demise, as Twitter users were more often dismayed over the loss of a store they loved or shocked to learn Blockbuster still had retail shops in operation than they were about the announcement itself.
"Blockbuster announces plans to close remaining stores. America responds by asking, 'You still had stores?'" tweeted @THEJordanBrown.
"Apparently, Blockbuster still has 300 retail stores. Makes you wonder if whip & buggy repair stations still exist," @AdamSinger posted.
But some Twitter users were still depressed about the closings, seeing it as the end of an era.
"Remember when we all use to go to blockbuster just to rent movies, now [we] rent movies by pushing a button," tweeted @jackswithasmile.