The World’s Last Blockbuster Is Now Listed on Airbnb

by Ronald Johnson

With COVID-19’s widespread cancellation of travel plans, 2020 likely won’t go down as Airbnb’s most successful year. It also doesn’t take a business guru to realize that the proliferation of streaming services over the past decade-plus (including one now dedicated solely to design ) has made the concept of a video store like Blockbuster obsolete.

Despite all that, it’s entirely possible that the most coveted Airbnb listing next month will be a Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon . Not just any Blockbuster, but the only functional Blockbuster left anywhere in the world. And on September 18, 19, and 20, three lucky groups of up to four local residents will spend a night at this monument to ’90s nostalgia, tailor-made for the ultimate movie marathon or sleepover for just $4 a night plus taxes and fees.

A peek inside the world’s last Blockbuster, which will soon be available for rental through Airbnb.

“Over the past few months, we’ve been missing the regular visits from friends, neighbors and tourists from around the world,” the listing reads. “So, we’re opening our store to three quarantine pods of Deschutes County guests for a socially-distanced movie night, just like those of decades past!” Looking like a living room straight out of a ’90s sitcom, the space has been lovingly transformed to showcase design touches that evoke nostalgia for a time when movies were physical things that you rented from a brick-and-mortar location. That means beanbag chairs, a pullout couch with zany sheets, and a rug with wacky, busy, and bright patterns. Of course, it wouldn’t be a “Blockbuster night” without a bulky, big-screen TV hooked up to a working VCR. Guests will have complete control over the space once they get the keys (in a safe and socially distant manner), giving them access to enough classic movies to watch until sunrise, plus all the snacks they can handle.

The Airbnb will include the iconic design of the Blockbuster store, which included row after row of movie selections.

Though the Airbnb listing is new, Bend, Oregon’s Blockbuster has been both a source of local pride and an international curiosity since Netflix truly took off. Managed by Sandi Harding since 2004, the location became the last operating Blockbuster in America in August 2018, and the last in the world once Australia’s last Blockbuster shuttered in March 2019. In addition to still renting movies for $3.99 (offering personalized recommendations over the phone via their “Callgorithm”), Harding’s Blockbuster supports itself by selling merchandise , sourced from local small businesses .

Guests will be able to watch videos on VCRs.

Existing as a Blockbuster in 2020 is tough enough before factoring in a global pandemic, but the Airbnb listing describes it as a way to both thank locals and give them a chance for escapism by traveling back in time. The fact that Airbnb will also make a donation to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, a “longtime partner” of Harding’s Blockbuster, is a nice bonus.

The chance to book Bend’s Blockbuster begins at 1 PT on Monday, August 17. For those who aren’t from the area or lucky enough to secure a spot, it sounds like the living room decor will be staying up so visitors can check it out themselves without spending the night.

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