The world’s last remaining Blockbuster video store is giving people the chance to escape 2020 and indulge in a sleepover reminiscent of simpler times.
The last remaining Blockbuster is in Bend, Oregon and has been going strong since 2004, while all other Blockbuster video stores from around the world cease to exist.
For three nights only, residents in Deschutes County will be able to nab a one-night stay at the store through Airbnb.
“When you call dibs on this stay, you’re booking a night back in the 90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror flick–we’ll give you the keys to the entire store!” the listing on AirBnB says.
The exclusive sleepover is available only to locals in Deschutes County, and bookings are only available from September 18 until September 20.
To hire out a movie from Blockbuster these days it will cost you $3.99 ($A5.60), but just for a penny more, you can crash in-store for $US4 for the night.
Store manager Sandi Harding has been holding down the fort at the Oregon store and Airbnb says the reason behind the listing for the ultimate sleepover was the “ In appreciation for all that the local community has recently done to support the last-of-its-kind during these uncertain times”.
Earlier in August, Ms Harding said on Facebook she had received “an amazing amount of love and support” from all over the world in recent times, while the store was overwhelmed by online orders.
What can people expect from the Blockbuster sleepover?
Essentially, if you manage to secure a booking, the store is all yours for the night and Ms Harding will be hosting the evening and breakfast is being provided.
The store has been decked out with living room furniture, creating a homely experience. People should be booking with people from the same household to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.
“This private sleepover has been planned with safety in mind, and guests can rest assured knowing that the store will be cleaned and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines and consistent with the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol,” Airbnb said in a statement.
After the sleepovers have finished, people will be able to view the living room set up in-store and if people are eager for a movie recommendation, they can call the store to “take advantage of the store’s Callgorithm” and get a movie recommendation.
“Tell the staff what you like and don’t like, and a real human will give you tailored recommendations,” Airbnb said.
“So, we’re opening our store to three quarantine pods of Deschutes County guests for a socially-distanced movie night, just like those of decades past!”
The last Blockbuster loved by tourists and locals
In the early 2000s, there were around 9000 Blockbuster stores worldwide, but streaming platforms saw the franchise’s popularity decline.
Bend locals have remained loyal to the last standing Blockbuster store, coming into the store and looking around, taking their selection then slipping them back through the slit to return the movies.
“Over the past few months, we’ve been missing the regular visits from friends, neighbours and tourists from around the world,” the listing says.
Not only is the store loved by locals, but it has become a tourist-hotspot. Fans come from around the world to take a photo of the exterior, purchase sweets and check out the memorabilia the store has – including Russell Crowe's jacket from Les Miserables.
The Bend store is also the subject to a documentary coming out later this year, aptly titled ‘The Last Blockbuster’.
Last year, Australia’s last surviving Blockbuster shut it’s doors, it was the second-last remaining store in the world.
“We put in a pretty good effort to be the last one in Australia, I suppose, but it was going to happen eventually and now is the time,” John Borszeky said in March last year.
He and his wife, Lyn, owned the store in the Perth suburb of Morley, however the two were not surprised the store was forced to close due to the rise of streaming services such as Netflix.
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