Hollywood Gets Blockbusted



After an extended internal debate over staying old-school versus joining the 21st century, I decided yesterday that it was time to take my in-home entertainment to a new level: I signed up for Netflix.

Much to my dismay, my Monday morning read of the Wall Street Journal revealed that Hollywood Video, unable to rebound from a bankruptcy declaration earlier this year, announced plans to close all their stores in the United States. Incidentally, the Canadian locations of this Movie Gallery, Inc. chain are unaffected so far. I'm glad, since my neighbor across the street is Canadian, and it's not as fun to rib him about being a native of the 51st state when said state is faring better than we are on this side of the border. I blame my guilt-ridden Catholic upbringing for my tendency to draw extreme cause-and-effect relationships, in which my actions are solely responsible for the misfortune of others. Example: I signed up for Netflix on Sunday, therefore Hollywood Video closed its doors on today.

According to the Journal, the advent of online streaming, mail-order services and coin-op DVD dispensers like RedBox are contributing to the decline of once successful DVD rental stores. With a potentially paradoxical moniker, Blockbuster is probably next.

But I only signed up for Netflix because Hollywood deserted me first. About six weeks ago, I eco-consciously walked to the Hollywood Video on Broadway that has been a fixture in my neighborhood since before I moved in five years ago. Clutching a "rent-one-get-one-free" coupon that had been given to me for customer loyalty (how ironic, says the once-Catholic girl in me), I was shocked to arrive and find a veritable ghost town where I used to be overwhelmed by a vast selection of DVDs and video games. I walked home empty-handed and clueless, although you'd think all the movie-watching I've done would have helped me understand the concept of foreshadowing.

Wonder if Netflix is accepting ex-competitor's coupons?