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Confessions Of The Video Trade

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Posted 15th May 2010 at 11:06 AM by snipsmovies

Saturday morning arrives, the beginning of the busiest day of the week, and ultimately the day that determines if the movies that arrived yesterday appeal to the renting public of the Wirral.

14 titles hit the shelves yesterday afternoon. The 'gimmes' of course take priority (they pay the rent !) - category 1 films - which consist of the Hollywood mainstream - Sherlock H, The Road and the new awful looking Sandra Bullock (known as Bullshit in store) movie. Then the 'fillers' - cat.2, the movies that folks rent when all the other mainstream stuff is out. They are primarily decent movies, but generally unremarkable. Clive Owen's new film 'The Boys Are Back', 'Ripple Effect' with Forest Whitaker and Ashton Kutcher's Spread - grim thought...

The other 8, let's call them Cat.3, are what I think has kept us going while so many other Video Stores seem to have sadly fallen by the wayside. They consist of the small indies and horror, world cinema and general curios. Most of these barely break even, but I'm a firm believer in the fact that they establish us as a supporter of independent cinema, diversity, and potentially the only bricks and mortar rental establishment in Merseyside that folks can see such movies.

This weeks additions in this category are such gems as 'High Lane' (France), 'Adoration' - Atom Egoyan's new film, 'The Ape' (Sweden) - and of course the CultLabs supported 'Harpoon'.

I got an email yesterday from Zuno Dunlop who runs his own UK Independent distribution company 'Exposure Cinema'. He invited me to take his new acquisition - the Belgian horror 'Left Bank'. I obliged of course it looks fantastic, it arrived today and I can't wait to see it - and I reckon my customers will like it too.

Since I hit 30, I've become more and more aware of the fact that we are living in a society that is being gradually conditioned to be exposed purely to mainstream entertainment. Its a concerning situation. Indie Video Stores are an increasing rarity, Blockbuster is on its knees restructuring and focusing primarily on Hollywood fodder. High street retailers have disappeared. Cinema chains no longer consider smaller films 'economically viable'. Television stations such BBC2 and Channel 4 that used to pride themselves on specific 'Film Seasons' now seem to be overlooking the medium.

True, you CAN get anything you want online. Amazon, Play, HMV stock every movie released on DVD in the UK, as do online renters like Lovefilm... they don't however have a nerdy looking guy / girl giving you his / her opinion like I did when I was 16 hazily browsing the shelves at my local fleapit Video Store. Without that bit of guidance back then I sometimes wonder if I might have taken a different path, content with spending my Saturday evenings watching the latest Matthew McConaughey movie as I simply don't know there is anything better out there.
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  1. Old Comment
    pedromonkey's Avatar
    Hey snips great blog, i work for blockbuster and have to agree that we are indeed focusing more on mainstream Hollywood flicks like sherlock and Avatar, but we do sometimes get the as you say cat 3 flicks in, i believe that it is the smaller title that are actually keeping us just floating at the moment, we get a lot of people taking 1 big new release but we get more people taking for of the smaller titles for 10.00.

    im a firm believer in independent rental companies as that was all that was around when i was was kid, i wish there were more...
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th May 2010 at 08:49 PM by pedromonkey pedromonkey is offline
  2. Old Comment
    snipsmovies's Avatar
    Thanks dude... nice comment.

    To be fair Blockbuster do still get a decent range in. However, I remember working there from '98-'04 and they were mega-hot for getting a staggering range of titles in. Then again the market has changed so much in the last decade.

    Like you say though, the decline of the Indie stores is heartbreaking. I speak to so many people around the country who are so frustrated having no Indie rental place near them. I thought the idea of progression was to provide more choice for people. Whilst its true for 'Avatar' that you can rent it through several different mediums, the odds of being able to rent 'City Of The Living Dead' in a bricks and mortar establishment next week are severely diminished... well, except at my place !
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th May 2010 at 09:02 PM by snipsmovies snipsmovies is offline
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