Movietek/Blockbuster Video/For Lease – Surry Hills, NSW
Yet another dead video shop, this ex-Blockbuster has the distinction of having taken over the location from another video shop before running it into the ground. Are Blockbuster stickers and signs really hard to get off or something? Did they foolishly build them to last?
Ah, neon. This is the first and only instance of a Movietek outlet I’ve come across, so it must have been one of the independents back in the golden era of video shops. Also of interest at this location is the second floor, which until around 2007 was a costume shop (imaginatively named The Costume Shop). Pardon the pun, but it’s fitting, given that Movietek put on a Blockbuster costume to try and swim in the deep end.
Blockbuster Video/Snap Fitness Club – Roselands, NSW
Despite the sign, Blockbuster’s presence at 1206 Canterbury Road, Roselands is pretty much gone. In 1996, Blockbuster was one of the biggest brands, and now they just can’t eradicate it fast enough. It’s as if Betamax was reincarnated as the head of Bovis Lend Lease. This one in particular is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour gym, just in case you need to pump some iron at 4am.
Research shows that as late as 1946, this address was being used to sell retired show horses. The Subway on the lot is still going strong, keeping the tradition of hawking old livestock here well and truly alive.
Blockbuster Video/Rivers Clearance Superstore – Hurstville, NSW
In the beginning, there was Video Ezy. And it was good. The first Video Ezy store in Australia, it sat on the corner of Forest Road and Queens Road, Hurstville, and had a carpark out the back where each spot was done up to look like it was reserved for a particular 90s superstar. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were not beside each other. But the small space allotted to Video Ezy wasn’t big enough, so the Caltex petrol station across the road made way for BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO, the biggest, most explosive video shop experience the 90s had ever seen. It had it all – TVs built into the GROUND! Two storeys of videos, with the action and porn upstairs TOGETHER! Sonic the Hedgehog flying a plane IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOP!
Yes, you read that right. The shop also featured a drive-thru feature for those not extreme enough to handle the assault on the senses waiting inside. I always thought about how annoying it must have been to be the drive-thru operator at Blockbuster, especially in the 90s, and despite the helpful Top 10 Hottest Movies list they had outside:
45th CUSTOMER OF THE DAY: Hmm…The Specialist! What’s that about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Uh…Stallone–
CUSTOMER: No. Cliffhanger! What’s that one about?
BLOCKBUSTER GUY: Kill me.
These days, it’s pretty standard shoeshop fare inside. Even the floor TVs are gone. They went to a lot of effort to paint over things, but clearly only in the areas they knew the customers would be. Blockbusters everywhere are disappearing rapidly as the video shop ice age sets in. Rivers on the other hand are set for life – people will always need terrible looking ties.