A History of Film: The Last VHS Movie Made

It’s peculiar how something that’s part of your everyday life can disappear in a way that feels both slow and sudden. Items that were once an absolute necessity suddenly become obsolete. What was once considered ground-breaking technology is reduced to old-school gadgets.

Think about things like telephone booths, encyclopedias, alarm clocks, or rabbit ear antennas for TV sets — do you remember the last time you used these items? Did they vanish from your daily routine all at once? Or did they fade away slowly, without you even noticing?

If you’re like most people, it’s probably the latter. Technologies seem to pass out of the picture gradually, in a way that’s subtle yet incredibly significant. Take the VHS tape, for example. In 1998, the total sales of VHS tapes totaled $8.7 billion in America alone, and a whopping 89 percent of American households had at least one VHS player.

Today, that number has all but plummeted to zero, and yet so many people have fond memories of popping that black tape into a VCR player, or of rewinding a rented tape before returning it to your neighborhood Blockbuster location. Which got us thinking — why not reminisce about this beloved piece of film technology? 

Keep scrolling to discover which film was the last VHS movie, how much VHS tapes are worth today, and a bunch of other interesting tidbits!

What Was The Best-Selling VHS Tape in History?

The single highest-selling VHS release of all time belongs to The Lion King, which sold an incredible 32 million copies. Some other interesting details about this VHS include:

  • It is also the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated feature of all time with a total box office of over $986 million.
  • The film was originally going to be titled The King of the Jungle.
  • Elton John’s hit song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” almost didn’t make it into the movie. He fought to have the song included in the film, and Disney eventually conceded.

 

What Was The Last Movie Released on VHS?

So, when did VHS stop and what was the last VHS movie made? The answer is in 2006 when A History of Violence became the last movie released on VHS. The action thriller film stars Viggo Mortensen and is widely accepted to be the last major Hollywood film to be released on videotape before studios made the shift to DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

There have been VHS runs of already-existing Disney films, like The Lion King and Cars, since the release of A History of Violence, but since these films weren’t new releases they aren’t considered to be the last VHS movie made.

Here are some more interesting facts about A History of Violence:

  • The film is based on a graphic novel by John Wagner.
  • Despite only being in one scene that lasted less than 10 minutes, actor William Hurt received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.
  • The first four minutes and 28 seconds of the movie are filmed in one, continuous take without a single cut, starting at the opening scene and going until Billy enters the motel office.

If you have a favorite movie genre, check out this list of the last movie on VHS for each film genre. 

The Last VHS Movies (By Genre)

  1. Comedy – Just Friends 

This holiday romantic comedy features Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, and Chris Klein. It was released on VHS in March of 2006 and grossed $32.6 million at the box office. While ratings for the movie left much to be desired, the film has amassed a bit of a cult following and is frequently played on network movie channels, especially around Christmas time. 

The plot? Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) has a high school crush on his best friend Jamie (Amy Smart), but she considers him just a friend. Years later, Chris becomes a super successful (and handsome) agent for a Hollywood record label and finds himself back in his hometown, where he meets up with Jamie again and attempts to impress her as his new and improved self.

  1. Horror – Saw II

When did they stop making VHS horror films? If you aren’t familiar with the movie A History of Violence, it might be easier to remember this fan-favorite film. The sequel to the much-acclaimed psychological thriller Saw was highly anticipated by horror film fans across the country. Even if gruesome, scary flicks aren’t your thing, you likely remember the buzz around its release. It earned an impressive 147.7 million at the box office and remains the highest-selling movie of the entire Saw franchise.

  1. Romance – Pride & Prejudice

This movie brings to life Jane Austen’s renowned novel of the same name. It follows a young English woman as she navigates societal pressures to marry, an exciting new love interest, and complicated family ties. The film was released on VHS in late February of 2006 and remains the last romance film to be promoted in this format. It grossed $121.6 million during its run in theaters and was also nominated for four Oscars, including Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

  1. Children’s – Barbie: Mermaidia

When did they stop making VHS tapes for children? Kids born in the late 90s or early 2000s might not remember the release of the other films we’ve mentioned on this list, but they will likely remember this underwater-themed princess tale. It was the seventh Barbie movie, released directly to DVD and VHS in March of 2006, and grossed more than $20 million in sales.

  1. Family/Adventure – Zathura: A Space Adventure

This is another great reference point if some of your fondest memories are family movie nights (especially if you also appreciate adventure films). The premise of the movie centers around two young boys who are tasked with taking care of their younger sister while their father is called to work. They begin playing a space-themed board game called Zathura, which transports them into a mystical adventure of a lifetime. This movie was released on VHS in mid-February of 2006 and is considered to be the last adventure blockbuster film to be produced on tape.

What Was The Last Major Film to Be Released on Betamax Format?

Betamax, the primary competitor of VHS, was a format that produced better resolution and color vibrancy, but that were only able to record for one hour — making them less desirable than VHS for feature films. The last major movie released on Betamax was Mission Impossible in 1996.

How Much Money Are VHS Tapes Worth?

This is a tricky question, since the value of a VHS tape can be determined by a number of different factors. As mentioned above, being the last VHS movie of a particular genre would definitely make a tape more appealing to buyers, but it isn’t the only way to turn a profit on videotapes.

Here are three factors to consider when determining the value of VHS tapes:

  1. Scarcity

Some VHS tapes are more difficult to find than others, which increases their value. The rarity of a particular tape is typically determined by its cover art, or by a special notation on the cover which signifies the copy is part of a special edition release run. 

Disney, for example, often released special anniversary editions of their classic movies (like this Platinum Beauty and the Beast tape), and these special editions often fetch a higher price tag. 

The original version of a VHS tape, with first edition cover art, would also be considered more valuable. First edition VHS tapes of the Steven Spielberg megahit E.T The Extra Terrestrial, for instance, have been sold for hundreds of dollars.

  1. Condition

Much like comic books or action figures, VHS tapes are more valuable when they haven’t been opened. So, if you had the self-restraint to keep your favorite movie in its plastic, you may be in for a treat! 

The slasher film classic Halloween is one example. First print versions of this original 1978 VHS tape that have been opened attract offers of $1,000 or more, so if you have an unopened version tucked away in your attic you can expect to receive even more.

  1. Desirability

It isn’t always easy to pinpoint what makes a VHS movie valuable, but there are some points you can look out for as a general rule of thumb. The first of these points would be who the movie is made by. A lot of movie buffs pride themselves on collecting the work of a specific film director, such as Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg, or Tim Burton. If you have rare VHS editions of films from a notable director, there’s a greater chance you’ll be able to find an interested buyer.

Secondly, you’ll want to know who appeared in the film and whether or not it was a notable performance for the actor. Brad Pitt, for example, had his breakout role in Thelma and Louise. Jack Nicholson’s role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is heralded as one of the best acting performances of all time. And Al Pacino will be forever remembered for his convincing portrayal of a mob boss in Scarface. Rare VHS tapes of films with memorable characters or noteworthy performances are a sure-bet for value.

Where Can You Find VHS Tapes Today?

Want to take a walk down memory lane with some old-school VHS tapes? Here’s where you can find VHS movies for sale. 

  1. Online Marketplaces

Ecommerce websites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy are all excellent options for folks looking to get their hands on rare VHS tapes. Many private sellers list their items for sale on these sites, so you never know when you’ll stumble upon a special find.

  1. Garage Sales

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure — and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to finding valuable VHS tapes. The average VHS owner isn’t a collector of rare films or movie memorabilia, so thousands of valuable VHS tapes are discarded or offloaded at garage sales for a tiny percentage of their worth.

  1. Antique Markets and Thrift Stores

The people who operate antique markets and thrift stores are trained to look for items that will provide a return on their investment, which means there’s a higher chance you’ll find high-ticket VHS tapes at these locations. If you’re an avid collector, you can even form a business relationship with a store owner, so you get first pick! Their priority, after all, is to make a sale.

 

What to Do with Your Old VHS Tapes

Do you have a big box full of VHS tapes collecting dust in the basement? Whether it’s a favorite Hollywood movie or a family video filled with precious memories, our team at EverPresent can digitize your tapes so you can easily enjoy them for years to come (or sell feature films to the highest bidder).

We work with our clients to safely and effectively convert their VHS tapes to .mp4 (shared via USB or cloud archive) or .m2v files (shared via DVD). Our clients choose to convert their VHS tapes for a variety of reasons, some of which include:

  1. Improved Shareability

It is far more convenient and secure to share digital files than VHS tapes. Videotapes can be lost in the mail or damaged during the shipping process. It is also trickier to create copies of videotapes, whereas anyone can duplicate a digital file with just a couple of clicks. Many of our clients choose to convert their VHS tapes so they can easily share footage with family and friends, create digital slideshows for anniversaries or weddings, or simply upload their favorite clips to their social media page.

  1. Security

Videotapes are susceptible to damage and erosion over time, which puts your footage at risk. Digital files, on the other hand, can be preserved for an indefinite period either by uploading them to an encrypted cloud storage platform or by saving them to an external hard drive. No more lost or broken tapes! 

  1. Visibility

Our trained and knowledgeable technicians have the specialized skills required to enhance the resolution of your VHS tapes during the conversion process. This means you’ll enjoy crisp and vivid video footage that breathes new life into your most treasured memories. Take a crisp, clear walk down memory lane with EverPresent! 

If you’re interested in VHS to digital conversion, we’d be happy to walk you through our process. Click here to see how it works or contact us directly. One of our warm and friendly representatives is waiting to assist you!

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