Baltimore will be getting back into the movie rental game this weekend.
Beyond Video, a non-profit movie-rental store that’s been years in the making, will have its “soft opening” on Friday, organizers announced on their Facebook page this week. The non-profit, housed in a former record store on Howard Street, will offer movies for a monthly membership fee of $12-$20. Depending on which plan they choose, members will be able to borrow up to six titles at a time, with no additional fees. New releases may be kept up to seven days, other films for 14 days.
The store’s collection includes more than 10,000 DVDs and videotapes, according to the post. The store also has a wish list of hundreds of titles it would like to have donated, ranging from Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s 2007 “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” to director Sam Pillsbury’s 1991 “Zandalee,” starring Nicolas Cage and Judge Reinhold.
Beyond Video is being run as a non-profit, with plans for all revenue to be funneled back into the business.
“It’s been a long process,” said Eric Hatch, a former programming director at the Maryland Film Festival who has long worked to bring the video-rental business back to Baltimore. “It’s so awesome that it has come to fruition.”
Baltimore has been without a video-rental store since Video Americain on Cold Spring Lane shut its doors in 2014. Although many movie titles, both old and new, are available on Netflix and other streaming services, many aren’t, especially when it comes to older titles and foreign films. In addition to making more movies available, the people responsible for Beyond Video say they want to bring back the personal touch of the rental store, where cineastes can gather and talk film, and where knowledgeable staff can offer suggestions on what to watch.
“What we’re banking on is that people want that experience,” filmmaker Joe Tropea, one of many volunteers working on Beyond Video, told The Sun in March. “Do they want to be able to come in, see stuff and be able to have conversations with living humans about what they might be interested in? That’s stuff that the online experience just can’t provide.”