Redbox Says It Will Get Its Own Warner Bros. DVDs From Now On

Unhappy with the Warner Bros. plan to keep its DVDs away from rental companies for 56 days after release, Redbox says it will no longer buy DVDs from the studio and instead get them through “alternative means.”

The news is yet another sign that rental companies and movie studios aren’t getting along. Recently, HBO said it will stop selling DVDs to Netflix.

Now that Redbox will be going its own way with Warner Bros. movies, this presumably means that customers will be able to rent films soon after release rather than having to wait several weeks. If the “alternative means” end up costing Redbox more money, we’ll see if they result in another Redbox price bump.

According to Deadline, Redbox is getting a bit snippy, with a company rep pointing out it buys DVDs directly from every other studio.

Redbox Vows To Acquire Warner Bros DVDs “Through Alternative Means” [Deadline]

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  1. RandomHookup says:

    Alternate means = this guy we know who may or may not drive a truck and may or may not work in a warehouse for Best Buy

  2. HomerSimpson says:

    Can they legally buy them at retail and rent them?

    • skwigger says:

      Yes, first sale doctrine.

      • bhr says:

        would get very expensive (and difficult) to buy them retail. Most likely they will find a “partner” to buy wholesale and act as a pass-through for a small markup.

        *partner likely will be the spouse of some exec starting her own video retailing entity just to buy from warner.

    • [redacted] says:

      Yes. Although, most rental places will buy direct from the studios for a discount and agree to the studios terms. Looks like Redbox is saying to hell with that.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Former video store owner here (ironically, driven out of business by Redbox, Netflix, the Intertubes, etc). Yes, you can rent DVDs after purchasing them.

      Bigger stores with high volumes tend to use rental partners that can get the discs at a lower price prior to the street date. The catch is that the fees associated with this are significant. For small mom-and-pop stores (like ours), being unable to pay large overhead means being generally limited to buying the discs through these “alternate” means.

  3. valkyrievf2x says:

    Ok, I’m no law expert or anything…. But I thought it wasn’t legal to buy a regular copy DVD/movie/whatever, and then turn around and rent it. So, if i were to go to walmart, load up on movies, and started my own rental store, that’d be legal?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Probably is legal, but you’d need to rent each movie enough times to cover the cost of the retail DVD before the DVD becomes unwatchable (and I’m not talking about Jack and Jill.

      • Necoras says:

        DVDs are a digital media. Playing them does not degrade the quality of the video, unlike old VHS tapes. That said, people handling them can of course add scratches, and after a decade or two the media itself begins to break down. Over all, if you have a decent amount of business and your customers aren’t actively destroying your discs, there should be no problem with renting out a DVD enough times to turn a profit before the disc wears out.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Understood. I was referring to scratches and such. I’m sure most rental videos have a limit to how often they can be used before the scratches make it useless.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Isn’t it great when someone reads your post and then immediately assumes you’re an idiot, based on something you didn’t even say?

    • kc2idf says:

      A quick google turned up this paragraph on Wikipedia. I recommend following up with more research if you want a more authoritative answer:

      This right was underlined by the US courts in the case of NEBG v Weinstein, in which a film-industry defendant accepted that it had no right to restrict buyers of DVDs from renting them to third parties.

    • Tim says:

      No, it’s perfectly legal to buy copyrighted material and rent it out … it’s called the “first sale doctrine.”

      Thing is, that can get expensive. So usually studios sell bulk DVDs to rental businesses at a discount, often in return for a portion of the rental revenue. WB said they won’t do that anymore.

      • spamtasticus says:

        It will be legal until the studios require you to have an online account with the to view the movie. Then they will not only kill rentals but also used sales. It is happening now in video games. Then they wonder why we pirate.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          You pirate because studios may some day require you to register on their websites?

          • november84 says:

            I think he was referring to the businesses trying to rape and gouge the customer and every turn.

            The online pass is a perfect example of this and he was referring to movie studios charging for an “online pass” to watch the movies and killing rentals all together.

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    GOOD ON YOU REDBOX! However, doesn’t this just play into WB’s hands – they have to get the copies somehow, and if they’re going out and buying retail packaging, won’t that show WB that their imposed hiatus actually has increased DVD sales?

    • LJKelley says:

      Well perhaps WB will spin it that way, but internally they will know its not the case as they used to sell on average X copies to Redbox and now they sell X extra copies to retail, so their overall sales are flat. The only way this works for WB is if Redbox now has to pay more money and it goes to WB and not someone else.

      • RandomHookup says:

        They will simply buy them from a distributor rather than direct. The distributor will pocket some extra money and WB may actually make less on the deal.

        • chicagojeff says:

          This will also cause the DVD’s to be available at Redbox much earlier than in the past. Redbox has agreements with most studios not to rent for a certain timeframe after release under the assumption that the studio makes more in sales of the DVD’s during that period. People will hesitate to buy a DVD when they can rent it for $1 (or $1.25 or whatever they now charge).

          If there is truth to this marketing strategy, WB will lose out greatly on sales of DVD’s as more people rent rather than buy. Eventually cooler heads will likely prevail and both sides will agree again on a 14 or 21 day window.

        • chicagojeff says:

          This will also cause the DVD’s to be available at Redbox much earlier than in the past. Redbox has agreements with most studios not to rent for a certain timeframe after release under the assumption that the studio makes more in sales of the DVD’s during that period. People will hesitate to buy a DVD when they can rent it for $1 (or $1.25 or whatever they now charge).

          If there is truth to this marketing strategy, WB will lose out greatly on sales of DVD’s as more people rent rather than buy. Eventually cooler heads will likely prevail and both sides will agree again on a 14 or 21 day window.

          • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

            Truthfully, these delays have not made me buy one single more DVD than before. I just have to be more patient. Not like there’s been anything out recently that I couldn’t wait to see. Hollywood sucks.

            • phonebem says:

              +1
              The only movies I typically even consider buying are ones that I’ve already seen in the theater and loved (a rare occurrence). If I saw the trailers and decided its a “wait for rental” and they delay the rental window they are increasing the chance that I will simply forget about the movie all together, thus getting none of my money…

          • Not Given says:

            I won’t buy a DVD unless I’ve seen the content, the movie or the tv show, either rented or torrented.

            • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

              +1. And with the quality of movies these days (tons of remakes of relatively recent movies, shitty actors, filling content with explosions instead of good plot/dialog/etc), I don’t think I’d buy a movie period.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        And what are the chances of that?

        WB would either be selling it for X dollars to Redbox, or likely the same X dollars to a distribution company or direct to other big retailers.

  5. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Congrats WB! You’ve just ensured less exposure and less revenue since people don’t want to buy overpriced movies and will download them instead. Also, nobody wants your horribly conceived ultra violet system. Offering customers a service doesn’t mean smearing shit on their faces and then smiling like Buddy Christ.

  6. DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

    Now we just need Netflix to start doing the same thing… though with their emphasis on streaming I doubt they’ll invest in that.

  7. Don't Bother says:

    I’m actually not trying to be snarky–what were the last good movies WB came out with? I don’t keep up with studios, but it seems to me that WB doesn’t have much to offer anyway.

    • Cornflakes says:
    • SabreDC says:

      Not much to offer? WB distributes 5 of the top 15 grossing films of all time, including two of the high grossing film series ever released (Harry Potter and Nolan’s Batman) and other high grossing series like Sherlock Holmes.

    • jonroknrol says:

      Well, “good” is relative, but the Harry Potter series and Batman series are both from WB. Both are wildly popular, so I would think RedBox would want to be on board with those.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      I actually had to search for this.. pretty hard.. The Dark Knight series are WB…. they were really good in my opinion…

      I cannot think of much else..

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I just rec’d Contagion from Netflix today. It’s a Warner Brothers DVD, and says “rental” right on it. Whether it’s good or not, I don’t know, but I like killer virus movies. I’ll know in a few hours.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Victory for WB?

    /morons

  9. Derigiberble says:

    The best part of this is that if you rent a WB film from Redbox you will now be getting the full retail disc with all the extras on it, not the pared down rental version with tons of trailers that you otherwise would get.

  10. thomwithanh says:

    I’m pretty sure this is illegal, retail and rental DVD’s have different rights that come with them, and with rental DVD is priced accordingly.

    As a point of comparison, retail DVD’s in the UK come with a warning along the lines of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIEbrlMHCfI

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      They normally do because the rental company makes agreements with the content provider, usually to get cheaper rates on the merchandise. Redbox is not bypassing these perfectly voluntary agreements and getting the disks through retail means.

      But it is not illegal to rent a single disk to a single person, so long as public-viewing laws are not violated.

      • RandomHookup says:

        There is also co-marketing money involved in the deal. WB might give Redbox a better deal on disks or spend money advertising together if it will help increase rentals on one of its movies (meaning, hopefully, more sales down the road either through RB or through retailers).

    • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

      It’s perfectly legal under the first-sale doctrine. As has been pointed out in the comments at least twice.

    • Billy says:

      I’m pretty sure that’s just a way for movie studios or distributors to figure out who isn’t buying from them.

      In the US, we have the First Sale doctrine.

      • Billy says:

        Actually, I take that back. I think it’s so that the studios can bust their clients who are selling the DVDs and not just renting them (per the license agreement between the studios and the retailer).

  11. Lisse24 says:

    Good for them!

  12. Swins says:

    Oddly the same thing happened at my local library. They have “special” pricing and buy direct but they got a letter about WB not releasing videos to libraries until like two months after they come out for retail sale.

    Now they buy them on amazon and pay $500 a year for a “rental” license to cover titles that are bought or donated.

  13. ovalseven says:

    Wouldn’t this also mean the Redbox customers can rent the non-rental discs that do not have the bonus features stripped from it?

    • MMD says:

      In the case of the WB films, it seems like they would have to do that, since now they’re buying retail or from a retail distributor. If it’s economically viable, I’d love to see that trend expand. A lot of rental-only discs force you to sit through several minutes worth of trailers before you can access the DVD menu…totally annoying!

  14. cornstalker says:

    The studios don’t seem to realize that playing hardball like this only makes video piracy more appealing. Apple had the right idea with iTunes, even though the music industry refused to believe it. The movie industry should stop fighting the digital revolution and find ways to get content into paying customers hands.

  15. dush says:

    Studios don’t want to sell movies, they want to sell viewings of movies.

  16. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    So, I’ve seen the comments pointing out the “first sale doctrine” – but then what is the deal with the FBI warning at the beginning of a DVD telling you that you can’t use it for a “performance” or whatever lest your first-born son be plagued with the Armpit Lice of Discontent?

    • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

      I wondered that exact same thing. Nobody on here seems to have addressed it, though, and I’m too lazy to find out for myself.

    • Billy says:

      Showing a copyrighted work to a substantial amount of people (there is caselaw about this) is considered a “performance” of the work. One needs permission to perform a work.

      First Sale basically says that if you buy something like a DVD or CD, you are allowed to resell or rent out the work. It doesn’t allow performance of the work, though.

  17. Mike says:

    I am at a loss with the Movie and Record studios. They consistently shoot themselves in the foot with these ridiculous policies that only make it harder for people to get the movies they want.

    Here is how I transform from law abiding citizen to Pirate.

    1) I find a movie or show I want to watch

    2) I check and see if it is on instant watch on Netflix

    3) If not on Netflix instant watch, I go to the website of the show and see if streaming is available and check and see if it available on Xbox or PSN.

    4) If no legitimate stream on the web, I go back to Netflix and see if I can get the discs in the mail.

    5) If none of the above methods work. YO HO, YO HO, A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME!

    Seriously, the studios are stupid when they make all the legitimate channels unavailable. Customers no longer want to go and buy a disc and own it, that group of people are a small percentage of collectors. Most people want to be able to pay a monthly fee for access to whatever show or movie they choose. Cable is no longer sufficient since it still functions on a schedule. Consumers want to be able to watch their shows whenever their schedule permits.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Uh-huh. Nice try.

      Because, you know, you *could* buy it on disk if it’s not available to stream or rent. And if it’s not available at all in any legitimate form, you could *wait* for it to be released.

      Your argument fails. Your own impatience, or unwillingness to purchase to movie, is no justification for pirating it instead. You’re not justified in what you’re doing.

      • Das G says:

        If someone wants to watch a movie one time, the price of the dvd/blueray is not cost effective in this day and age. Did you not read his last paragraph. The majority of people these days do not want to purchase a physical copy of a movie just to watch one time.

      • Mike says:

        I made no argument so there is nothing to fail, I just stated fact. I am not trying to justify anything, I just stated the process in which myself, and millions of other people, take to pirating. I fully admit that what I do is stomping all over copyright laws. All I am saying is that the approach the MPAA and RIAA is taking towards piracy is about as effective as prohibition laws.

        Dude, I know you like to troll, (and quite often I agree with your comments) but come on, you are stretching it here. But if it makes you feel good to try and shoot down other people I invite you to respond to this with another condescending comment, whatever makes you happy. :)

      • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

        Because pirating is ever justified? That’s not the point. Pirating is pirating is pirating. It’s never right, but that doesn’t mean it stops anyone. The steps that studios are taking to stop piracy is just exacerbating the problem. Instead of trying to determine WHY people pirate and eliminate piracy by giving the consumers what they want, they’re being reactive and trying to stop it. That is an awful game plan.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      What aggravates me is when something is just simply not available because someone decided it wasn’t worth putting out on DVD due to cost, low demand, etc.

      For instance, I remembered liking LA Law back in the day, and thought I’d try to find it. It’s not out on DVD or streaming. It was just released in the UK on DVD, but not here in the USA.

      So what would it hurt for NBC to release it for streaming on their website or through Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix?

      No wonder people turn to piracy. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to find it and watch it online, or I probably would.

  18. aleck says:

    Studios think people will kill themselves lining up to buy crappy movies they’ve been churning out. I would not mind paying a few bucks, otherwise screw them.

  19. PLATTWORX says:

    WB has stepped in it. Now, Redbox will rent WB movies as soon as they can get them from a third party. Listen, movie studios, people have pretty much stopped buying DVDs. They now rent for $1 a night and delaying that isn’t selling more DVDs at retail price. Give it up or Redbox and others will work around you.

  20. bigtxpapa says:

    Blockbuster has been doing this for years! They buy from places like Walmart or Bestbuy and just immediately rent them anyway, Which frankly is better for the consumer as we don’t get locked out minimized rental versions of movies like some studios send them now.

  21. VashTS says:

    YO HO, YO HO, A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME!

  22. MikeHerbst says:

    Does this mean my Redbox DVDs will have all the added features instead of a menu that promises such things then denies me with a “Rental DVD, feature not included” message?

  23. JollehRoger says:

    I would rather pay 1.50 per night and be able to watch the movie on my own terms than have to wait for Warner Brothers to jew up the joint.

  24. Paul @ The Frugal Toad says:

    If the studio has rights to the syndication I’m not sure who Redbox would be able to obtain legal right to the video. If they can obtain rights to WB movies, I would be happy paying $5 maybe $10 for a first run movie! Beats paying $18 plus another $10-$15 in food!