Just when you thought that you had made your last rental from Blockbuster, the iconic video rental store is going through a rebirth.

Free Blockbuster Detroit is part of a chain of Free Blockbusters that have started popping up around the country. Blockbuster closed the doors on their traditional stores back in 2010. There were a few stragglers that stayed open thanks to the nostalgia people felt renting movies and games. That nostalgia is what lead to the creation of the Free Blockbuster model.

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The idea was actually started by a former Blockbuster employee and a video collector in California. According to the Free Blockbuster history page, they started with a collection of videos, and used abandoned LA Times newspaper boxes. The idea actually took off in just a few months, and the first Free Blockbuster was officially born in February of 2019.

In 2020 the first East Coast Free Blockbuster was introduced, eventually leading to the Free Blockbuster Detroit that started earlier this year.

The concept is a lot like the little libraries that popped up in our area a few years ago. There is no charge, the main rule is that if you find a movie that you would like to take, that you leave a movie in its place. Then eventually you return the original movie that you borrowed, that way the movie collection continues to grow!

Obviously the pandemic has put some roadblocks up to the way this works, but I love the model. My family always used to keep books we had already read in the car, and when we passed by one of the small library boxes, we would put a few in. I think the Free Blockbuster could turn into the same type of thing for movies.

The Detroit location does not have to be the only Michigan location. They are actively looking for new franchises, and even give you a step by step on their website.

  1. Get a box. Many Free Blockbuster boxes are refurbished newspaper boxes, but you can use any resources you have.
  2. Paint that box. You can download logos to use or pre-cut stencils.
  3. Fill it up with movies
  4. Tell everyone about it


Pretty simple right? It's probably not the most profitable business, but it's definitely something fun that you can do with your family. It might even turn into a neighborhood thing if you have neighbors that are into it.


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