It’s true. Blockbuster Video has returned to Detroit in the form of a free rental box. Filmmaker Jon Toscano has opened what is called Michigan’s first free Blockbuster Box, joining one of only 16 of its kind in the United States. The idea stems from Brian Morrison establishing the first Free Blockbuster Box in Los Angeles, California, inspiring others to do the same in other parts of the country.
“I found an old box of newspapers in a dilapidated shopping mall,” Toscano said. The Detroit News, explaining how he created the box. “I actually had a beer can inside when I went to check it out. I resurrected it and made it the Blockbuster Box. The box really needed a lot of work. We had to sand the old stickers, paint, add new Plexiglass, along with some templates “.
The Free Blockbuster Box concept works in a similar way to mini libraries which have become quite common. Instead of “take a book, put down a book”, it is “take a movie, put down a movie.” It’s meant to mimic the classic feel of going to a video store and browsing the available titles to choose from, but without the pesky late payment fees or membership card requirements. By offering VHS tapes, DVDs, and laser discs, everyone is free to take what they want or donate what they can.
“People love the movie box,” Toscano said, as the Blockbuster logo only brings back nostalgic memories of navigating the aisles in the past. “People hang around the box and talk about movies with each other. It’s like the old days of video stores.”
Toscano also says this is a great avenue for filmmakers to get their work done by donating copies of their movies to the Blockbuster Box. Toscano, a filmmaker, explains: “It would be great to see B and C movies inside the box. Also, it would be great to see independent movies inside it. This box can be a new stream for independent filmmakers to get the support they need to. market your movie. “
If you are looking for the classic brick and mortar experience, there is literally only one place you can go. Blockbuster comes down to one final video store that remains open, located in the city of Bend, Oregon. Last year, the location was rented out as an Airbnb rental for a ’90s-themed sleepover on three separate nights. The location also serves as a popular tourist attraction for visitors from all over, and locals frequently support the business to help keep its doors open.
Toscano’s Free Blockbuster Box is located on Riopelle St. in Detroit’s East Market. Because this is definitely something we need to see a lot more of, hopefully Toscano’s story will help inspire others to build Blockbuster Boxes in their own local areas as well. Nothing can replace the original experience of picking up a few movies to watch on a Friday night in the ’90s, but using the brand to trade in free movies is a great way to keep Blockbuster alive. This information comes to us from The Detroit News.
Topics: Blockbuster Video, VHS