Friday, July 12, 2019

Do You Dig on Busterverses? Vol. 2

by Adam Riske
What if Blockbuster Video didn’t go away? What would/wouldn’t rent well? I know.

Shaft (2019) – A title that will never be out of stock even in its first week (Don’t argue with me…I saw how Shaft (2000) rented). Blockbuster will really go for it with cross-sell/up-sell for Shaft (2019) by giving it a half shelf (heroes on a half shelf?) and the middle row will be fresh copies of the previous Shaft films ready again for consumer eyeholes. Those catalogue titles will see a temporary rental uplift; however, no one will watch them after they’re rented because they feel like work and the person also rented too many video games at the same time and didn’t have time to watch the older Shaft movies. Massive late fees will accrue, leading to conversations six months later where customers say, “I never rented Shaft (2000). You’re lying. Take off my late fee. This is why I never come here.” No one will rent Shaft (2019) by itself. It will only be checked out by the customers who rent seven movies at a time. One guy who rents the new Shaft will come in and say how great it was, ask if you’ve seen it, and then proceed to rail against PC culture and praise the movie for telling it like it is.
Anna – Two rows worth of copies. It won’t rent well overall, but one guy will come in and rent it constantly. Three months later, you’ll say to him “We have previously viewed copies of this one now for $6.99 if you’re interested.” You think you’re being nice, but you embarrass Anna-fan because now he feels “found out” over his Anna obsession and this will be the last you’ll see of him in the store. He’ll go to other Blockbusters, even though they’re farther away, to rent Anna. His account will show that he kept renting Anna at other locations but then it’ll just stop, and you’ll wonder if the guy is dead, moved on etc. Two years later, you’ll remember this guy and start singing “That guy was bananas for Anna-zzz” during a shift.
Late Night – This will get pushed on the Blockbuster in-store tape. Probably even one of those featurettes where the cast talk about how fun it was on set. We’ll get 1/3 of a shelf of copies and it will rent well before going to pasture as a $9.99 PVT title. Huge New Year’s Eve title as a new release. Also, a big hit with couples leaving the nearby Olive Garden, who will see it on the shelf and say:
Guy: “Want to rent Late Night?”
Girl: “Sure. I like Mindy Kaling. She’s on the B-list, but like the top of the B-list.”
Guy: “I really liked her on that show. I can’t remember the name, but it had the office in it.
Girl: “I just had an idea.”
Guy: “What?”
Girl: “We should rent Date Night too!”
Guy: “Late Night + Date Night = Great Night!”
Yesterday – This is going to rent like gangbusters. It’s a “Y” title so it’s going to be an impulse pick-up for people who hit the New Release wall backwards. Grandmas are going to stand by the Yesterday shelf and tell strangers how lovely it is and it’s not like the other movies that are filth with the nakedness. Couples are going to rent it, parents are going to rent it, older people are going to rent it, that kid who knows three Beatles songs but has a Beatles shirt he bought at Target is going to rent it. It will get a ¾ shelf, guaranteed in stock or it’s free for the first few weeks, popular sell-thru title after being a rare $12.99 PVT (it’s arguably a $14.99 PVT in $12.99 PVT’s clothing). People will stand outside the drop box waiting for a copy. The store will get a poster for it from Universal and it will go up in the manager’s office and stay there for 7 1/2 years. This is the type of movie that non-renters will rent because they got gift cards for Christmas, including the owner of the Subway franchise location next door and that guy never comes in. The sky’s the limit for this title.
A Dog’s Journey – You would think this title would rent, but it won’t and for very weird reasons. Two rows of copies will go on the New Release wall with the “D” titles and 77% of the people who want to rent A Dog’s Journey will think it goes with the “A” titles and not be able to find it. Of those 77%, 50% will be too embarrassed to ask at the counter for A Dog’s Journey and 50% will find Breakthrough with the “B” titles and get their FHDM (Faith Heartland Dog Movie) fix there. A Dog’s Journey will rent best with the Dennis Quaid home video die-hards, of which there are legions (we have key parties). One mom will rent this on a summer day for their kids, come in and complain about the dog dying over and over. You’ll try to explain that it’s the dog’s journey, but she’ll say that there should have been a sticker on the cover box saying the dog dies a bunch of times and it’s not for kids (in those words). $6.99 PVT title. Will end up in the kids’ section as a Blockbuster Favorite to be made fun of by hipster teenagers who don’t have a car because it’s right next to A Dog’s Way Home and did you forget your mom’s Blockbuster card in your skinny jeans?

Do you have a title you need to know about? Ask in the comments and I’ll tell you how well it would do in the Busterverse!


  1. Replies
    1. 9.99 PVT. Will rent ok in week one (but we all want it to do better). It won't be very popular with most Buster customers with some saying it's the worst movie they've ever seen. It will divide the store employees- the arty ones will think it's amazing, the more mainstream ones will think it's boring or a "Wicker Man wannabe".

  2. As BBV veteran (99-01, spanning two centuries!) this feels so accurate is to be feared.

    I don’t know whether to demand more Riskebuster columns or savor them as a rarity.

    I’d suggest that A Dog’s Journey might play, because My Dog Skip, a film out on tape within weeks of my start, did land office business, but we had a Family New Release section on the wall, and it was the first section... right next to “a”.

    1. At my Buster, My Dog Skip was with the "M's" and rented like an indie. It's a real good movie btw. Thanks for commenting!