Classics and horrors are the most popular genres.
Even though some of you might have forgotten about them, there was a time when every neighbourhood had a video store. I remember when it cost HRK 5 to rent a VHS and then two of my brothers and I would get HRK 15 to go rent something and we’d end up fighting, as you do, because everyone wanted to sneak in an extra movie (or cartoon, in my case).
Believe it or not, there are still two video stores in Zagreb, called Pauk, one in Ozaljska and one in Horvaćanska Street. Poslovni.hr published an interview with the owners, Marko Jantol and Boris Tomić on August 20, 2017.
They say that they could make a normal living with their job up to ten years ago, when every Zagreb neighbourhood had one. They feel optimistic, though, because more and more people are fed up with watching movies online.
Hits, classics and horrors most popular
“If you work hard and do what you love, you will succeed,” Mr Jantol said. There are about 10,000 films at his store and, even though most people have some kind of films on demand programmes, people still like stopping by the store, talk to him about the movie or ask other members about their favourites.
“There are some 500 horrors in our collection and it’s one of the most popular genres, in addition to classics and new blockbusters.”
Even though one would assume only older people visit video stores, he says that they have many young members as well. “More and more people rent classics,” he says.
There aren’t that many differences when it comes to age, he says, because the young and the old like good movies. “I’ve recently had an 80-year-old man rent a thriller, and the most important thing he looks for in a movie is action, just like teenagers.”
New films are the most popular, but classics like Back to the Future and Goonies are also popular. He says that people are tired of commercial breaks, so they rent a DVD instead.
Mr Jantol says he is very pleased when younger members discover classics such as Doctor Zhivago or movies with Clint Eastwood, Bruce Lee, or Woody Allen.
There are some kids, for example, who don’t understand why they have to pay HRK 12 for a film that they have to return in four days when they can get it online for free, and then there are 12 and 13-year-olds who know exactly what they want when they visit.
Croatian movies are also in demand, but many of them don’t get their DVD editions because it depends on the distributor. People want to watch films like Zvizdan, Kako je počeo rat na mom otoku, Maršal, Ti mene nosiš, but Maršal is the only one that is available on DVD. New films coming to the store in late September are Anka and Goran, for example.
“Adult movies and porno movies are also popular, even though there are plenty of them online. The main difference is that the ones online last only 15 min, while these are actual movies,” he says, adding that the adult version of Gladiator is very popular.
Even though they don’t offer VHSs anymore, more and more people want them, while, on the other hand, people don’t really rent Blue-Ray DVDs, simply because they’re too expensive.
Golden age of Zagreb video stores
Mr Jantol says that people come and visit them from other parts of the city, sometimes even from Sesvete. “Mid-‘90s until 2005 was the golden age of video stores. There were around 400 and each neighbourhood had more than one. The problems arose when flat Internet became widely available, so people could watch whatever they wanted online.”
There are only ten video stores left in the country – Samobor, Split, Istria, and some other towns. There used to be 2,000.
Mr Jantol says that one of the problems were cheap DVDs available at Konzum, for example, because people would rather buy a DVD for HRK 20 than rent it for HRK 12, and another problem is the fact that there are no fines for illegal downloading online.
Two families were in the store when the interview took place.
The Poparas, a family with two young daughters, say they joined because they need more cartoons, as they’ve already seen everything they have back home.
Mr Zoran Relić came there all the way from Sesvete because he doesn’t like downloading things and because the video store has classics that he can show to his sons.
Just like LPs, VHSs might make a comeback and I for one would love to hear the buzzing sound you get when you press Rewind on the VCR.
Translated from Poslovni.hr.