You Know Who's Going to Save Blockbuster? Captain Kirk, the Watchmen and Paul Blart.
Elm Street-based Blockbuster's stock is tanking this morning -- down more than 27 percent before the sun's even warm, to about 83 cents. It was bound to happen following yesterday's quarterly report, which noted a 20-percent drop in total revenues over the same period in '08. But, fear not, CEO Jim Keyes told anaylsts yesterday during his regular conference call; Blockbuster's back, baby, making movies available "in store, by mail, through vending or digital." Does Netflix do that? No. Redbox? No. So, there.
And, even better, the movies don't suck as much as they did last quarter -- which cuts both ways, sure, because as theatrical attendance goes up, up, up, movie renting drops down, down, down. But just you wait till Star Trek beams up by year's end. Just you wait. Till then, Blockbuster's got 200 copies of Taken ready for rental this weekend. Seeking Alpha, as always, provides the transcript for eavesdropping, where we find this excerpt:
We estimate that nearly 3 million more people are going to the movies each week in 2009 predominately on weekends and this has been pulling traffic from Blockbuster stores especially on those important weekend nights.
The good news is that these titles beginning in May will be hitting our shelves and we're cautiously optimistic that we will enjoy favorable rental demand in the back half of the year with titles like Paul Blart Mall Cop, Watchmen, Star Trek and many, many more. In terms of the economic environment, as we've seen in other recessionary periods, these early affect on video store rental is somewhat unfavorable as existing customers pull back on their discs per visit. ...
Specifically to the titles coming up, we've got some good things. In the current period Taken, Paul Blart Mall Cop, New in Town, He's Just Not That In To You. Period six, Gran Torino, Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail, Confessions Of A Shopaholic. Period seven, we've got Watchmen, Fast & Furious, some really good strong titles coming up for the summer. It should be a better rental slate than we had last summer and we're cycling against the Olympics, which as you know, was a horrible title slate last year.
And if none of those things work, well, the company "just launched a brand new and exciting program called Blockbuster Premieres," consisting of exclusive rental titles. The first one? Baby on Board , starring Heather Graham. The future of Blockbuster, apparently: direct-to-DVD titles that couldn't even make it into theaters.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.