In most of the country, the abandoned shells of former Blockbuster Videos stand empty as makeshift memorials to physical media (or limp on as blue-and-gold head shops). The death of Blockbuster after a long and painful illness was widely reported on November 9, 2013, when a Hawaiian store checked out its last, thematically appropriate title. That was the end for Blockbuster’s corporate-owned stores, but according to Yahoo! Movies, a rogue band of independently-owned Blockbusters continues to operate in predominantly rural areas of the U.S. (and El Paso, for whatever reason).
Many of the remaining locations are in Alaska, where high broadband prices make streaming services too expensive for most residents. Alan Payne, president of Border Entertainment and proprietor of 23 Blockbuster stores (down from 26 in 2013) says Alaskans “can’t afford to binge-watch on Netflix, so you’ll binge-watch by renting a season of something on DVD for a few dollars.” Payne also says, “As far as I know there is no Blockbuster Inc. anymore,” and that he alone sets prices for rentals and decides which titles to stock in his stores. (New releases still make up the majority of rentals at Payne’s stores, although he says the market for older movies has remained steady as new DVD rentals decline.)
However, oversight or no, someone still cashes Payne’s licensing checks every month, meaning you’re probably technically still on the hook for that copy of Zombieland you left in your ex-boyfriend’s apartment.