Support us with Kachingle!
August 12, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST
About 15 years ago, if you wanted a movie, Blockbuster was the most likely option. But times have changed. With computer-operated kiosks, mail-in services, online rentals and cable and satellite on-demand options, the closing of movie rental giants has become a trend. Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery have closed. According to The Wall Street Journal, Blockbuster is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and the future of other brick-and-mortar rental places is a mystery. With the options for watching unlimited movies, businesses are gearing toward video rental practices without human interaction. Vox examines the perks of going to a video store versus sitting on the couch and clicking away.
Where: 10 Hitt St.
When: Mon. through Sun., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: $3 for three days or $3.50 for a week; $1.50 per disc for TV shows for three days. New releases are only available for two-day rental periods.
Call: (573) 875-4112
The local store has a hometown feel that cannot be replaced by computer-operated machines. It has aisles of movies — DVDs including documentaries, foreign films, classics and more, all at your disposal. The store also has smiling employees such as Bill Bellinghausen to greet you. He believes 9th St. Video has an advantage over impersonal rental options because it provides customer interaction. Although it is more expensive than Redbox’s, the machines can’t replace 9th St. video as a cultural hub. With movies from Ragtag and True/False, 9th St. Video is a safe haven for local cinephiles. Plus, no other rental place in town offers free condoms from a jar labeled “Babies Are Expensive.”
Where: 3910 Peachtree Drive, 3305 Clark Lane; Express: 518 Hitt St.
When: Mon. through Thurs., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to midnight; Sun., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Express: Mon. through Sun., 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $3.99 for new releases (two-day and weeklong rental periods); 99 cents for older movies for a week; Express: $1 (plus tax) per day; By mail: $8.99 to $19.99 per month
Call: (573) 442-7180, (573) 886-9917
Blockbuster is the video rental icon. Although the video store has become a rollercoaster with pricing and late fees, Blockbuster is still standing. One advantage of physically going into the blue and white store: candy. None of the new movie kiosks are adorned with aisles of alluring treats, and what’s a movie without a snack? In addition to this, Blockbuster has a 28-day exclusivity window with many major studio releases, which gives it a head start on Netflix and Redbox. Blockbuster also offers options from “employee pick” counters and actual employees to assist with your movie selection. Blockbuster does offer a computer-based video rental option, the Blockbuster Express kiosk, which works the same way as Redbox but doesn’t come with blue-shirted employees or recommendations.
Like Netflix, Blockbuster also has a stake in the by-mail rental service. It offers both game and movie rentals as well as in-store exchanges but only allows a maximum of three discs out at a time.
Where: Your mailbox and screen
When: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Cost: $8.99 to $47.99 per month
Netflix is the ultimate money-saver if you plan to rent many movies. Subscriptions allow customers to rent as many as eight DVDs at a time as well as unlimited streaming from its online selection. But Netflix isn’t for those who lack patience. Unlike other brick-and-mortar movie rental establishments, Netflix comes in the mail with a one- to two-day waiting period for shipping. “I prefer Netflix because it’s cheaper and you get more movies,” Columbia resident Demaris Webster says. “I can rent maybe seven to eight movies a month without late fees for the price of two in a video store.”
Where: All local Gerbes, Hy-Vee, Schnucks and Walmart locations
When: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Cost: $1 (plus tax) per day
Redbox is the dollar menu of video rentals. It’s a cheap bargain with longer hours and more locations than other options. Although the kiosk frequently runs out of new releases within the first fcouple hours of distribution, Redbox offers the amenity of convenience. “I love Redbox,” MU senior Kamaria Gboro says. “I haven’t been to a Blockbuster or Hollywood in years. I mean, it’s cheap and always in close proximity to my home.” As an added convenience, customers can return DVDs to any Redbox.