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Blockbuster video rental stores are thriving in Alaska

on November 02, 2017, 12:45pm


There’s no shortage of nostalgia for the video rental store among Generation X and even older millennials. Budding film buffs once wandered their aisles, strolling past the new releases to peer through fingers at the horror section’s VHS covers and browse the employee picks, which more often than not included your next favorite movie. But the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu caused video rental juggernaut Blockbuster to file for bankruptcy in 2010, with many independent locations closing soon after. As Indiewire notes, only 10 franchise-owned Blockbuster stores still exist in the U.S., and you’ll find more than half of them in Alaska.

A new Vice documentary visits one of the state’s thriving Blockbusters, discovering that the chain’s survival up north is due to the fact that Wi-Fi is pricey up there. Small towns are spread out and unlimited data is not a viable option for many of the families living there. The concept of streaming video, then, is untenable. The locals seem happy, however; many cite themselves as old-school types who still own VHS players and enjoy the routine of renting videos for less than a buck. Hey, maybe the next great American filmmaker is strolling those aisles as we speak.

Watch the full documentary above.