Blockbuster: flicks AND Fedoras

May 28, 2008

Harrison Ford is interviewed as he arrives for screening of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in New YorkWill my local movie rental shop ever become a “content hub” like Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes hopes ? Perhaps. But his transformation of the company has certainly improved sales of one item.

Hats. Movie-themed hats. Go ahead and chuckle, but in the name of weekend family fun, I considered buying one after I saw “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (I didn’t — more on that later).

Remember, Keyes is the former CEO of 7-Eleven, so he’s very familiar with merchandising. Here’s Keyes at Blockbuster’s annual meeting today in New York, talking about a marketing change the company has made and the Porkpie payoff:

(Indiana Jones writer and producer George) Lucas came to us, and said ‘would you be interested in participating in the theatrical release’, which traditionally we wouldn’t do, because we would wait until the DVDs came out. We said sure.

So Blockbuster did, and is now selling a bundle DVD set of “Indiana Jones” films. And…

…even the fedora. I’m pleased to say, we have sold thousands and thousands of these fedoras at $19 each. It’s not about renting or even retailing DVDs, its about being in the retail entertainment business.

It’s true! I wanted to catch up on the series. Immerse myself in “Indy.” Here’s the problem with my fedora fiasco:

Me: “Do you have a copy of “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”?

Well meaning employee at my local Blockbuster: “No.”

Oh well. No flick, No fedora.

(Photo: Harrison Ford at a screening of the “Crystal Skull”, Reuters)

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