(NEXSTAR) – Talk about the opposite of a Hollywood ending.
VHS tapes, once seen as a revolutionary medium for consumers and a major disruptor in the entertainment industry, have all but disappeared from the home video market. By the turn of the 21st century, major retailers and rental outlets had begun to embrace a new medium – DVD – thus sounding the (surround) death knell for VHS.
Major film distributors continued to produce and sell VHS tapes for several years alongside DVDs. But by the mid-2000s, most began to drop the format, and gradually fewer VHS titles were produced.
Then, in 2006, David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” was released on VHS, marking what is widely considered the last example of a major film to be released in that format, according to a 2008 report by the Los Angeles Times. .
But while “A History of Violence” is likely the last major movie to be dedicated to VHS for the retail video market, some Disney enthusiasts claim that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment continued to produce VHS tapes exclusively for members of its Disney Movie Club, citing a late 2006 version of “Cars” as the latest VHS sent to members. Representatives for the Disney Movie Club and ShopDisney could not confirm which VHS titles were last sent to Disney Movie Club members, or when they were released.
Either way, DVDs had already become the medium of choice for most home movie enthusiasts long before “A History of Violence” hit theaters. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a high demand for VHS today, albeit in the collector market.
“Everyone in the world was using VHS. They were played all over the planet,” Joe Maddalena, executive vice president of Texas-based Heritage Auctions, said ahead of the house’s first-ever VHS-only auction. auction this month.
Maddalena warned, however, that VHS collectors are at the forefront of a “whole new hobby”, so it’s unclear which titles, in particular, will become among the most sought after. As things stand, early collector activity seems to indicate an interest in first-edition copies of films released in the 1980s, at the height of the VHS rental boom. But that could change in the years to come, when cassettes of this type will become rarer. Collectors may soon begin to covet the special edition VHS releases, or more obscure B movies, or perhaps even some of the latest VHS tapes to hit print, like “A History of Violence.”
“We’re just not at that stage of the hobby yet,” Maddalena told Nexstar. “You really need the auction market to come…to know where it is.”