DVD rental chain Family Video makes last stand against COVID-19

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Screen fades to black. Roll credits. Or is there another act for Family Video, brought to the brink by the coronavirus?

The brick-and-mortar DVD rental chain insists it’s not ready to bow out just yet, even though the pandemic has tried to finish what streaming services started years ago.

Family Video managed to hang on long after all but one Blockbuster went bust, renting movies to folks in rural areas where internet service is spotty, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Only last year, the chain had 700 stores, most in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Today, though, the total is down to 300. And brand manager Derek Dye expects as many as 60 more locations to shut their doors by year’s end.

“In most states, we just couldn’t operate because of the pandemic,” Dye said.

The lockdown did drive up demand for movies at home, but Family Video didn’t have curbside pickup — and lost customers to competitor Redbox.

And now, another problem: nearly no new films to rent.

“Hollywood is holding off on making and releasing new movies,” Dye told the Inquirer.

Next week, though, Family Video is launching a #SaveTheVideoStore campaign, with a video from “Mallrats” and “Clerks” director Kevin Smith and special merchandise, including a retro-looking T-shirt.

“We still want to be that neighborhood store,” Dye said. “We’re thinking of a Family Video candle.”

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