Rentals from movie store losing viewer popularity

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, June 6, 2010

The family trip to the movie store is not as popular as it usedto be with the advent of things like Internet movie rentals andmail-order services, at least in the city of Brookhaven.

With popular movie store The Movie Gallery shutting its doors,the truth of the situation seems to be that people are opting forwhat many people term, “cheap and easy,” when renting movies.

“We used to be with Netflix,” said Brookhaven’s Devin Meilstrupafter running his card through the Redbox machine in front ofWalgreens. “But we were paying something every month, and you can’talways get what you want, because they send you whatever isavailable next on the list.”

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Larissa Hart of Bogue Chitto said she and her family like theconvenience of Netflix.

“I like that it’s delivered in your mailbox, and I can send mymovies back on Monday and when I get home on Wednesday there aretwo more waiting for me,” she said. “We also do Redbox … it’scheap unless you lose the little return sleeve and don’t take itback for several days. And even then I found out when I did returnit you can ‘buy’ the return sleeve for $1.”

While the idea of scanning a credit card in a box on the streetbothers some movie renters, others say it doesn’t worry them.

“It sounds kind of scary to me, but I guess it wouldn’t be anydifferent than putting it in a gas pump,” said Deanna Sullivan ofBrookhaven.

Movie Gallery Customer Service Associate Lee Holloway said thatthe store is closing down because nationwide, the chain wentbankrupt. He said there have been plenty of loyal renters whoaren’t sure what to do next.

“They’re unsure,” he said. “When they come in here, they tell usthey don’t know where to go now. Netflix is what most people aretalking about.

Meanwhile, Justin Walker and his children Payne, 8, and Lesley,11, were gathered around the Redbox, picking out movies for theevening recently. Walker said Movie Gallery’s move to a monthly feewas what sent them looking for other sources because they justdidn’t do enough movie watching to make it worthwhile.

“We used satellite rental through DirectTV for a while too,” hesaid. “But this is a lot cheaper, and you can keep it where ifsomething happens and you miss it on satellite, you have to rent itagain.”

Wesson’s Kendra Washington said she likes to watch movies andtelevision online through sites like

“Then I can watch what I want, when I want,” she said. “I don’thave to wait for it to come on, or pay a bunch of money forpopcorn. And I don’t have to wait for someone to turn it backin.”

Holloway said the cheaper, more automatic movie services took achunk out of movie rental places because they don’t charge latefees. He said Movie Gallery and other chains tried that in thepast, but it really sapped their resources.

“That killed us,” he said.

But others, like Ashley Martin, continue to rent movies atBlockbuster.

“At one time I lived in some apartments on the boulevard, so itwas just easy for me to go there,” she said. “We just still gothere. Habit, I guess?”