Arts Desk

With Closing of Adams Morgan Blockbuster, Only Eight Video Stores Remain in D.C.

IMG00016-20100816-1403News broke on e-mail lists over the weekend that the Blockbuster on Columbia Road NW is shuttering—hardly a surprise, since the former behemoth announced last fall its plan to close as many as 960 stores nationwide by the end of this year, reported the AP.

It means that there's just one Blockbuster left in the District, at 410 8th Street SE, as DCist reported today. Beyond that, there are seven more video-rental stores in the District—for a total of eight, by our count, which isn't quite as dire as the figure of four that TBD came up with today. Beyond the Blockbuster, they are: two locations of Potomac Video; Lamont Video in Mount Pleasant; two Capital Video Sales on Connecticut Avenue NW and off 8th Street in Southeast; Royce's Video (specializing in adult, family and oldies) off Georgia Avenue in Northwest; and Woodner Video in Columbia Heights.

Blockbuster seems to be scaling its effort down to kiosks—why pay $5.30 for a video when a beer costs the same? Blockbuster currently has 23 kiosk locations within a 10-mile radius of the City Paper, with $1 daily rentals. Redbox, meanwhile  already has over 50 locations in the District in various grocery stores, 7-Elevens and McDonald's.

The main problem with those wonderful boxes? They mostly offer recently released films. As for Netflix and Amazon, they've got just about anything you want, if you don't mind waiting (or streaming). But there’s something sweet about being able to run to the store and browse films from the archaic to the new to the dreadfully awful. So the closing of any video store is a shame, even a Blockbuster. Or even worse, the shuttering of a place like Alexandria's Video Vault, which housed 60,000 titles and specialized in cult films. It closed this spring.

Photo by Jonathan L. Fischer.

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  • Northwesterner

    I don't find anything at all sweet about the old way of renting movies. I always disliked it. As soon as I understood how netflix worked I switched over.

  • Kim Chi Ha

    I suffer from perpetual nostalgia. Forgive me.

  • skizzle

    ...I never enjoyed the trips to, from and to the video stores but the lack of diversity in the red boxes sucks. Once again we've all gone for something cheaper and more convenient at the cost of quality (quality in this case being the depth of choices available at video stores). There's probably a bell curve showing that 70% of people only rent the horrible hollywood crap anyway so now they're the only ones represented in the red boxes. I would say this is another example of technology cheapening our lives rather than improving them.

  • blue penn

    Red Box does suck.

    And CP, there are NINE video stores. You left off one on Columbia Road, Video King, in Adams Morgan.

  • Sean

    Yeah I preferred the old way of renting movies too. I think the stores are more important (for me) now that alot of movies are Direct to DVD. Without the store, I wouldn't even know some of the movies I'd seen were even released, like BRICK, which is a GREAT movie. And then there are all the Asian action films and kung fu flicks, with actors I normally wouldn't have heard of, so I wouldn't know how to look for them. Yep, I'm gonna miss the big Rental stores like Blockbuster (sigh). I guess I'm old school, cuz I'd never buy a Kindle either, as long as real books are being printed. And I think Video King makes more money off of porn than anything else. Their new movie selection is only a fraction of what they have.

  • Steve Kolowich
  • Kim Chi Ha

    @blue penn Video King was listed as 'closed' on yelp and their number was d/c. Thanks for letting us know they still exist!

    @steve I tried calling Video 2000 and their number was d/c so I couldn't figure if they still existed or not.

  • Chris

    I live half-block from that Blockbuster and the staff were slower than syrup on a winter morning. If the staff perfromed better, I would have rented movies all the time, but you spent forever in line.