City Desk

Predictions Come True on Blockbuster’s Death Spiral

Another Blockbuster Video location is closing. With the once-mighty national chain shuttering its Adams Morgan location on Columbia Road, the District will be only left with one store, on 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill.

While Prince of Petworth reacts with "Woah, Big Adams Morgan News," Blockbuster's closure isn't really that big a shock, now is it?

The demise of Blockbuster has been anticipated for years. (In fact, Washington City Paper's Mike Madden, while writing at Salon last year, noted that Blockbuster's "plight today doesn't seem like a management problem so much as it does the inevitable result of a paradigm shift in the way Americans consume entertainment.")

Over the years, the District has lost a number of Blockbuster locations. (Fun fact: The former Glover Park location is now a service center for the embassy of El Salvador!)

While City Desk can't immediately think of any major national political controversies linked to the Adams Morgan Blockbuster, this might be one of our last chances to bring up City Paper's infamous 1987 article dissecting Robert Bork's video rental habits—an article which led to Congress passing the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988.

Palisades-based writer Michael Dolan obtained a hand-written list of the movies Bork, whose controversial U.S. Supreme Court nomination was up before the Senate Judiciary Committee, rented from the Potomac Video location on MacArthur Boulevard. "Never mind his writings on Roe vs. Wade. The inner workings of Robert Bork’s mind are revealed by the videos he rents," City Paper declared at the time.

While the closure of the Adams Morgan Blockbuster will likely pass unnoticed by many, some in the neighborhood will miss the place, despite "water leaking from the ceiling" and the long lines.

Video stores, like book stores, are going the way of the dodo. Another sign of the times: the original Borders Books location in Ann Arbor, Mich., will soon become the latest outpost of Arlington-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Maybe Blockbuster's replacement in Adams Morgan can be another burger emporium. Or better yet, a new cupcake place! Think of the possibilities!

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