Blockbuster

Six Years After Last Tweet, Blockbuster is Making a Comeback

The video rental chain made a surprise return to social media Tuesday.

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AP

Remember Blockbuster Video? The chain of video rental stores that served as something of an analogue precursor to Netflix?

Blockbuster is back -- at least on social media.

Six years after its last tweet, which announced the closings of its remaining stores, the once-mighty home video champion set Twitter ablaze with three words and an emoji:

"Just checking in," the tweet reads, followed by a waving hand emoj.

Within hours, the tweet had more than 250,000 likes and 40,000 replies, many from top brands attempting to join in on the fun.

Redbox, the distributor of DVD and Blu-ray rentals via vending machine-style kiosks, took a friendly jab at its erstwhile competitor:

Some popular food brands joined in on the fun:

Major names in video games played along:

And several former customers sheepishly admitted they may be a tad late with returns:

The Blockbuster tweet appeared to be related to a promotion announced Tuesday by San Francisco-based Airbnb, which is offering vacationers the chance to spend the night at the last remaining Blockbuster Video store in the world, an independently-owned location in Oregon. Airbnb is asking just $4 per night for the opportunity.

Earlier this year, NBC News reported on the last, lonely Blockbuster, and how this relic from the 1990s is actually thriving during the pandemic, thanks to a boost in home video viewing interest.

Blockbuster Video was once a ubiquitous presence in American cities, with 9,000 stores offering video rentals worldwide as recently as 2004. In 2000, it turned down an offer to buy a competing DVD-by-mail service for $50 million. That competitor, of course, was Los Gatos-based Netflix, which is now worth $205 billion.

If Tuesday's reaction on Twitter is any indication, though, thousands of people are longing for a return to the simpler times of "Be Kind, Rewind" and dropping off tapes and DVDs through a slot in the door after hours, just in time to avoid late fees.

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