'Captain Marvel': The Last Blockbuster Video Celebrates Its Marvel Moment
Nothing says ‘90s nostalgia like Blockbuster Video. That’s why the first trailer for Captain Marvel (the latest Marvel movie, set in 1995) began with the new hero falling from outer space straight through the roof of the once ubiquitous video rental chain.
The full movie is packed with ‘90s references, from the soundtrack to the clothing to Nerf guns and other retro toys, but that Blockbuster scene packs the biggest nostalgic punch (Captain Marvel even blows up a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Arnold Schwarzenegger). So it may come as a surprise that in 2019, the last remaining Blockbuster in America seems relatively nonplussed to be getting a major shoutout in one of the biggest movies of the year.
At least, that’s what Blockbuster manager Dan Montgomery tells Inverse over the phone.
“This is Blockbuster, can you hold please?”
That’s the first thing Montgomery says when I call the Bend, Oregon location, which achieved fame in 2018 after two holdout Blockbuster Videos in Alaska closed last summer. Before I can answer, he puts me on hold and the Star Wars theme plays for a few moments.
Then, Montgomery is back, apologetic for the wait and happy to answer any questions I have. This clearly isn’t the first time he’s been interviewed regarding his unique job, and he’s happy to reflect on what it means to see Blockbuster up on the big screen in 2019.
“With only one being left, it’s cool to know that we’re remembered,” he says, “that the Blockbuster name isn’t dead. I had someone come in here and they brought in a Captain Marvel comic and had me sign the cover of it just because of that one reference. So we think it’s very cool.”
Still, he’s not planning any special Captain Marvel-themed celebrations at the store or a company outing to see the movie.
“I don’t think so,” Montgomery says when I ask about plans to celebrate Captain Marvel’s release. “It’s such a small reference, and we’re so busy. It’d be hard to plan something just for that.”
The Oregon-based Blockbuster’s success has been attributed to a combination of local support and nostalgic tourists, according to Montgomery, who doesn’t think the Captain Marvel reference will do much to improve what’s already a “great business.”
“It could help probably,” he says. “We’re very busy with tourism as it is. if there’s any spike in it because of the movie that would be awesome, but I don’t know if we would notice because of how much tourism we already have.”
Ultimately, the success of America’s last Blockbuster won’t hinge on one reference in a Marvel movie. Like any brick and mortar business, this one needs regular customers coming in, and for the moment, that’s clearly not an issue.
“As long as people keep coming through the door, we’ll keep the doors open,” Montgomery says. “We have no plans on closing the location.”
Captain Marvel releases in theaters on March 8.