Popular Toronto video rental store shuts down
The Film Buff East is closing its doors. One of two locations (the other is on Roncesvalles), the popular movie rental shop has long been a fixture on Queen at Greenwood, offering a diverse selection of titles designed to please cinephiles and anyone looking for something over and above Hollywood blockbusters. While the store cites a number of factors for its closure, the owners aren’t shy when it comes to what you might call the Netflix effect.
“Independent and foreign filmmakers are struggling to find their audiences, partly because there’s entirely too many mediocre films being made and partly because new distribution paradigms have come to dominate the industry,” reads a note on the store’s website. “Netflix has absorbed a significant share of our client base by being very good at what they do – which is delivering mainstream movies that satisfy most of the people most of the time. The niche market that remains for stores like The Film Buff has simply become too small to maintain multiple outlets.”
That’s about as good a summary as you could care to get of the situation that video stores face today. If you read the whole note (you should), it’s clear that this is less an example of sour grapes on the part of business owners than it is a lament from cinema lovers who are worried about what happens to the film industry when the appetite for a broader range of films dissipates.
Thankfully the Roncesvalles location will remain open. And as far as silver linings go, the soon-to-be-announced sale of the Film Buff East’s catalogue will provide an opportunity for film buffs to add loads of hard to find titles to their collection. Check the store’s Facebook page for updates on the upcoming liquidation. The east side location will officially close September 2nd.