A cryptic message that's been on Blockbuster's website for months has people wondering if it'll make a comeback

·3-min read
Screenshot of the Blockbuster website.
Blockbuster's website received a new wave of attention — and nostalgia for the brand — this week.Blockbuster
  • People recently noticed a message on Blockbuster's website: "We are working on rewinding your movie."

  • It's been there since at least August of last year, according to Internet Archive screenshots.

  • The message sparked speculation of a possible comeback and nostalgia for the defunct rental stores.

The Blockbuster you used to visit may be no more, but the brand's website is showing signs of potential life.

People recently noticed that a message greets you when you visit Blockbuster's website.

"We are working on rewinding your movie," it reads. Discussion around the message has ranged from people wondering if a potential comeback could be in the works — and what that could look like — to a wave of nostalgia for the defunct movie-rental stores.

The message could mean nothing. For starters, it isn't exactly new, as the Washington Post notes. Screenshots from the Internet Archive reviewed by Insider show that it's been there in some form since at least August of last year.

Before that, the website showed a message from its current owner, Dish Network, directing people to Dish's on-demand service.

A screenshot of Blockbuster.com in July, from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
A screenshot of Blockbuster.com in July, from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.The Internet Archive

But the change has stirred up speculation around the possibility that the brand could make a return. "Is Blockbuster really coming back?" reads the headline from a recent MarketWatch report. Vox Media's gaming publication, Polygon, made the argument that it could rent out games and gaming consoles.

When the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after famously passing on the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million a decade earlier, the writing seemed to be on the wall — its best days were behind it.

Dish Network ended up acquiring Blockbuster in 2011 and closed down the brick-and-mortar stores, save for one lone Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon.

So far, Dish hasn't commented on whether the message on the website means anything, and the company did not respond to Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.

Largely gone, but not forgotten

Blockbuster nostalgia has flourished online in recent years. Videos on TikTok pay homage to the movie-rental chain, with some people re-enacting childhood experiences going to their local Blockbuster on the weekends.

Netflix even debuted a series titled "Blockbuster" last year about employees at a fictional last remaining Blockbuster struggling to keep it alive.

Blockbuster netflix
Timmy (Park) and Eliza (Melissa Fumero) are a will-they-won't-they duo in the series.Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix

In 2020, the actual last Blockbuster store, located in Bend, Oregon, teamed up with Airbnb during the pandemic to offer a $4-a-night stay inside the store which was transformed with beanbags, video games, and, of course, VHS tapes into a '90s living room.

The lone store has said its loyal customer base keeps it running, but it's also become a tourist destination, equipped with Blockbuster hoodies and memorabilia. The store has also attracted interest on TikTok, where its account has accrued over a 100,000 followers. In February, the store even released a Super Bowl commercial on its Instagram.

In December, there was a Blockbuster pop-up bar in Los Angeles, created by entertainment companies Bucket Listers and New Gold Empire. Customers were given Blockbuster membership cards. The pop-up closed its doors this February, but its Instagram page suggests it will be heading next to New York City.

For now, it's not clear if Dish has any future plans for the brand. But in the meantime, it's fun to imagine what that could look like.

Read the original article on Business Insider