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Blockbuster Video Makes Mysterious Online Return (But What Does It Mean?)

The mention of Blockbuster Video is enough to stir the nostalgic hearts of anyone who remembers spending a '90s-era Friday night in the store browsing through the new releases. But upon the undeniable rise of Netflix, the video rental chain went under. Still, Blockbuster isn't completely dead. In a bit of irony, Netflix released and then shut down a sitcom based on Blockbuster. And as "Family Guy" fans learned, there's still one lone store operating out of Bend, Oregon. However, some online rumblings have got everyone wondering if the Oregon store may soon have to get rid of its title as the "Last Blockbuster."

Recently, folks discovered that Blockbuster Video made a mysterious online return, as its official site greets visitors with a message that says, "We are working on rewinding your movie." The message has garnered some buzz and questions on whether the former video rental business is staging a comeback. With Blockbuster still lingering in a lot of people's minds and hearts, the stage is right for a surprising return in some form. But with no other official word from Blockbuster or its owner, Dish Network, it's best not to expect too much.

Don't call it a comeback just yet

If anything, the Blockbuster website could only be a test for reactions and nothing more. One interesting tidbit to keep in mind is that while folks have just now discovered the website with its mysterious new message, apparently, it's already been up for quite some time. According to 10 WBNS, the phrase, "We are working on rewinding your movie," has been up on the site since November 2022. In addition, despite a relatively active official Twitter account, there's been no mention of the site's latest message or any comment from owner Dish Network, which usually keeps the brand alive these days through T-shirts and collectibles.

Blockbuster's alleged online return doesn't even really line up with any potential anniversary dates, as the first store officially opened on October 19, 1985. Furthermore, reports on this supposed return were published dangerously close to April Fools' Day. But why bother to feature a site with that message initially several months out? That's bad timing for a cruel prank. In any case, if there were no plans for anything special before, we can bank that Blockbuster and Dish Network may consider doing something now. All of this attention the site is getting from fans and the media isn't going to go unnoticed. Just don't be too disappointed if the result is just another exclusive collection of blue and yellow merchandise.

A Blockbuster comeback shouldn't mean another streaming service

Let's say that Blockbuster Video is planning a massive comeback. What does that look like? Despite some speculation steering in the direction of another streaming service, we have to hope that wouldn't be the case. The brutal streaming wars between behemoths like Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and Disney are already congested enough. And whether it's gaining exclusive streaming rights on the biggest films or creating new series from their in-house studios, their streaming services already have an iron-tight stranglehold on viewers hungry for content.

For Blockbuster to make it in streaming, they'd have to cater to a niche audience in some way. And even then, strictly streaming would cause them to become lost in the shuffle. Instead, maybe a proper Blockbuster Video comeback means a return to those brick-and-mortar rental stores. A nationwide return on every corner is doubtful. But building a few and adding them in some cities could make for something special. 

Some fans who sing the late store's praises are really fawning over the unique experience of going into the building and browsing through the selection. It's got a similar vintage vibe to shopping for vinyl in a record store. But even with the lure of nostalgia in mind, we can all agree that the chain's infamous late fees can still remain back in the '90s.