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Is Blockbuster video about to make a comeback?

The mysterious reactivation of the long-moribund brand’s site, accompanied by a cryptic message, has fans asking if a mighty return is on the cards

A few days ago, something strange happened in a forgotten corner of the internet. The website for Blockbuster, the long-dormant obsolete VHS rental chain, twitched back into life. It doesn’t always work – there’s more than a fighting chance that you’ll be taken to an error page – but if the winds are blowing in just the right direction, you’ll see a brand new landing page, accompanied by the text “We are working on rewinding your movie”. To all intents and purposes, it seems to be a sign that the universe isn’t quite done with Blockbuster yet.

Which is fairly preposterous, of course, because the universe is absolutely done with Blockbuster and has been for some time. A world-conquering behemoth in its day, a juggernaut that crushed the necks of smaller independent video stores, Blockbuster took over the world in the 90s and early 2000s. But its glory was short-lived. Netflix came, first in its DVD-by-post guise and then as an unstoppable streamer, and custom disintegrated overnight. If Blockbuster exists in any form now it’s as a punchline, a reference to anything too bloated and arrogant to notice the looming shadow of imminent catastrophe. Which raises the question: what is this new website, exactly?

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