Take a movie, leave a movie: Minnesota’s newest ‘free blockbuster’ opens in Minneapolis
Most people are currently familiar with the concept of the Little Free Library. Community members can either leave or pick up a book from one of the kiosks (often beautifully decorated) set up by participants along their yard or sidewalk.
Replace books with DVDs, VHS tapes, and even LaserDiscs, and you’ve got the gist of Free Blockbuster – the latest of which opened in Minneapolis last week.
Paul Zenisek cut the ribbon and unveiled his Free Blockbuster on August 25, parked outside his Heroic Goods & Games store in Minneapolis (3458 Minnehaha Ave.). About 25 people showed up and Zenisek called it “super fun”.
“The first film borrowed from the kiosk was The professional, on LaserDisc! “, he added.
The idea, Zenisek said, was not his. Free Blockbuster is a national effort, with organizers saying the mission is to “fight the myth of scarcity by providing free entertainment to as many people as possible.”
Zenisek’s free Blockbuster is the third in Minnesota, according to the online directory. The first opened in July in St. Louis Park and was started by a friend of Zenisek.
“I liked the concept so much that I decided to buy one as well,” he said of his decision to put one outside of Heroic Goods & Games.
Minnesota’s other free Blockbuster is in Burnsville and opened in mid-August.
Zenisek’s free Blockbuster box has 20 to 30 tracks, depending on whether they’re DVDs or VHS tapes (or something more obscure). While Heroic buys and sells movies as part of its business, Zenisek said the free Blockbuster is separate. It’s unrelated to store opening hours and people don’t need to check with the store before picking up or leaving a movie.
“The box is supposed to be there for anyone to use at any time, and I will hold it and add things if it gets weak,” he said.
This has not been a problem so far.
Zenisek said the turnover was “excellent”, with films taken or dropped off every day. Someone even returned a DVD they had borrowed, The never-ending story. And it doesn’t worry about vandalism, overfilling, or box abuse.
“I haven’t had any issues so far and don’t expect there to be too many – the direct community that lives within walking distance of the store has already been the most receptive to the idea of the store. ‘have it here,’ he said. “Lake and Minnehaha is awesome so hopefully that’s another little addition that makes it even more awesome.”
You can learn more about Free Blockbuster and find a map of locations in the United States. here.