90s Blockbuster Competitors: A Real Blast from the Past

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Plenty of brands had their heyday during the 90s, then got lost inside the pages of history with the a myriad of new brands coming up. The transition from the late 90s to the early 2000s was a tough one, full of technologies evolving at a breakneck pace. People became more aware of the internet and the convenience it brings! A lot of brands fell victim to this transition, and Blockbuster is no exception. Let’s see the 90s Blockbuster competitors, stores like blockbuster that may have contributed to its downfall.

We don’t have to limit ourselves to the 90s and if we’re talking in more general terms about Blockbuster competitors then we can understand in even more detail what happened to this entertainment stalwart!

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Who was Blockbuster's competition?

Blockbuster competitors

Blockbuster competitiors have changed through the years. These days their primary competitor is Netflix. There are other tv streaming services like Hulu, Mubi and Crunchyroll (which is more Anime specific.

Blockbuster competitors in the 90s

Blockbuster competition in the 90s consisted of Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, Virgin Megastores, Sam Goody and Suncoast Video. You can find more information (as well as photos of their old shopfronts) below as we walk through these Blockbuster video competitors.

Hollywood Video

Anyone who was an adult during the 90s could easily answer the question “who was blockbusters competitor?”. They would tell you that Blockbuster’s biggest competitor was undoubtedly Hollywood Video. It’s a bit unfortunate that both companies now don’t exist, but that’s the case with a lot of brands that operated during the 90s. You can’t talk about 90s Blockbuster competitors without starting with Hollywood Video!

Hollywood Video was originally a rental shop for video games. It was founded in 1988, and by the 90s, it’d started providing home video streaming. By 1993, it became a public company, and its fame surged like no other, though its stores were still no match for Blockbuster’s 2,800 stores.

The biggest proof that Hollywood Video was Blockbuster’s most significant competitor is the feud that happened between them in 1995. HV supposedly hired former employees of Blockbuster, resulting the Big B filing a lawsuit to protect trade secrets.

The lawsuit ended without a fee a few months later when Blockbuster failed to prove actual harm.

Movie Gallery

Although Hollywood Video was a more formidable opponent to Blockbuster, Movie Gallery was a much larger company. It was the second largest movie rental company, right after Blockbuster, which explains why it’s on this list.

Movie Gallery was founded in 1985, and by the mid-90s, it was already knee-deep in the competition against Blockbuster. It used to provide DVDs, video games, Blu-ray Discs, and even VHS tapes, which is why it made it harder for Blockbuster to maintain the market’s lead position.

In 2005, Movie Gallery acquired Hollywood Video, but unfortunately, it went bankrupt in 2010, putting Blockbuster’s two biggest competitors to rest.

90s Blockbuster competitors: Virgin Megastores

Virgin Megastores and Blockbuster shared a partnership in 1992 to venture into new markets. Despite that, the two brands were competing for customers during the 90s, particularly when it came to video rental.

The partnership seemed like a great idea back then because Blockbuster specialized in video retailing while Megastores specialized in music retailing. 

However, Virgin Megastores proved to be quite the contender and managed to outlive Blockbuster, probably proving itself as the best 90s Blockbuster competitor. It did however still end up closing off all its US stores in the end.

Sam Goody competed with 90s Blockbuster

Well, if you were born somewhere between the 60s and the 90s, you probably heard of Sam Goody. The brand is older than all the other competitors on this list, having been founded in 1951.

Sam Goody only operated under its original name for a few years; then, it was acquired by Primerica, which was then called the American Can Company. Primerica was the parent company of Musicland, which was originally a competitor of Sam Goody.

During the 90s, Sam Goody and Blockbuster were competitors in the UK market, but the competition didn’t last for long. By 1999, Sam Goody had sold its stores and departed from the British market.

Suncoast Video 90s vs Blockbuster

Suncoast was founded in 1986, so it was only natural that it started competing with Blockbuster for users’ attention in the 90s. It was originally a subsidiary of Sunrise Records, and its first store was in Minnesota.

Suncoast operated under the same parent company as Sam Goody: Musicland. In 1999, the parent company launched a website for Suncoast, which intensified the competition with Blockbuster. 

Blockbuster stayed miles ahead in the market, mainly due to the number of stores it had around the globe.

The Downfall of Blockbuster

closing of 90s blockbuster store

You may be wondering why Blockbuster has gone belly up, although none of its competitors in the 90s were powerful enough to push it out of the market.

Well, the 90s were pretty good for Blockbuster, but we can’t say the same about the 2000s. With Netflix gaining more power and a larger user base every day, it became harder for Blockbuster to catch up.

Add that to the mail-order DVDs and the number of online streaming services that started coming up in the 2000s, and you’ll know that the downfall of Blockbuster was only a matter of time.

Rounding up Blockbuster competitors in the 90s

As you can see, almost none of Blockbuster’s competitors in the 90s made it far. Blockbuster was already larger than most of these brands, and even the ones that outlasted it came to their demise eventually because of the online streaming services.

If you’re a fan of TV &Mmovies, why not check out our Black Actresses from the 90s or our Best 90s Robot Cartoons articles too!