The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain is famous among film fans for its Mondo posters, special screenings and requirement that you maintain proper etiquette. The theater chain has gained a loyal following, catering to the most dedicated of cinephiles and boasting serious indy cred. Now the Alamo Drafthouse will be taking that hipster vibe and feeding our millennial craving for nostalgia by opening its own video rental store. But Alamo Drafthouse isn't an ordinary theater, and this won't be just any video rental store. Every single one of the store's 75,000 movies will be available to rent... for free.
Man, how did Blockbuster Video not think of this? The store will be called Video Vortex, and the first location is set to open in Raleigh, North Carolina sometime this year. And lest you think this is a non-profit venture for the cinephile in need, the business plans to make its money in ways other than video rentals. According to Entertainment Weekly, Video Vortex will have DVD players, Blu-ray players and even VCRs (Google it) available to rent for a fee. Those who have ever looked for a decent, working VCR to play an old, obscure movie or transfer home videos to digital knows that they are not easy to come by.
The retail venture will also sell board games, memorabilia, food and, because this is the Alamo Drafthouse, beer. Similar to the movie theater model, the movies will get the customer in the door, at which point they can spend money on these other items. This is a clever way to resurrect the lamented video rental store. Take a look below to see the concept for Video Vortex.
Ok, that just looks insanely cool. Maybe I'm just a nostalgia mark, but the shared space that was a video rental store is where so many of us discovered our love for movies in the first place. This whole thing is just aiming for a communal, arcade vibe as it is part bar, restaurant, retail store, board game café and video rental shop. The whole thing seems dedicated to film culture and history, as well as uniting people with other movie fans in a place where they can introduce each other to new things. The 75,000 titles that Video Vortex boasts will encompass a wide range of cinematic tastes, from popular action films and the oeuvres of various auteurs to foreign films and bizarre stuff that never made the jump from VHS.
The Alamo Drafthouse has primarily been a Texas and Southern venture, but the chain is branching out all across the country. The folks there are clearly onto something and are tapping into an audience looking for a different theatergoing experience. Alamo Drafthouse is playing to its audience with Video Vortex, but it is cool to see someone putting a new spin on a concept that technology killed. And hey, vinyl has made a major comeback, so maybe there is still a place in our streaming world for a store where you talk with other people and rent movies.
For all the latest in choosing movies based on box art and how to get the tape unstuck from the VCR, be kind, rewind and stay tuned to CinemaBlend.