Redbox To Disney Over 28-Day Delay Rule: No Thanks, We’ll Buy Our Own Darn Copies Of ‘John Carter’

Redbox isn’t taking Walt Disney Studios’ 28-day delay policy on its DVDs sitting down, no siree. It’s cutting out the middleman and heading to retail outlets and the Internet, buying up copies of John Carter and stocking its kiosks instead of waiting 28 days to rent the flick.

Disney had said it wouldn’t sell any of its DVDs to rental outlets until 28 days after those movies go on sale, when it used to let everyone have them the same day they went on sale, says the Chicago Tribune.

Disney’s policy change started with The Secret World of Arrietty on May 22, but John Carter was such blockbuster disaster, everyone’s paying attention now. Which means people are actually going to be watching John Carter.

“We will be sourcing ‘John Carter’ through alternative means,” a Redbox spokeswoman confirmed, and the website says the movie will be available in kiosks June 12, a week after its on-sale date.

This isn’t the first time Redbox has taken to retail stores to stock its kiosks — it’s been doing that with Warner Brothers movies after the studio said it would withhold DVDs for 56 days after the on-sale date.

Meanwhile, Universal and Fox worked out deals that also employ the 28-day rule but give Redbox a hefty discount in exchange. Disney has no such discount deal.

Disney at war with Redbox over new DVD rental policy [Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. who? says:

    So they’re buying DVDs from Amazon?

    • xamarshahx says:

      probably Best Buy, I believe Best Buy owns some share of redbox.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Coinstar owns most, and I believe all, of Redbox. They were started by McDonalds believe it or not.

    • ZenListener says:

      My mom works for a Walmart and she’s mentioned that on several nights Redbox people would come in and buy up a bunch of movies (long before this 28-day thing). That is, until the manager of the department put a stop to it.

      I guess making money off of movies matters depending on who is doing the buying.

      • nelsonj1998 says:

        If you’re going to sell 50 copies of a movie, it’s better to sell to 50 people and have one unhappy customer than to sell to 1 person and have 50 unhappy people.

    • ZachPA says:

      What a coup it would be if Amazon were to purchase Redbox. As owner of Redbox, wouldn’t they then have the right to allocate copies of movies they resell as they see fit? What do the studios do then? Do they cut the largest seller of practically everything, save Walmart, out of the loop? Hmm…

  2. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    It seems kind of stupid to still make people wait to rent a movie that didn’t do well. If the demand is there, let them see it as soon as possible. Disney failed on marketing John Carter. I’ll be renting it from Redbox, and I might even read the books, since I keep hearing radio ads for the books.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Since big corporations have already screwed all their
      customers, the only other people left to screw is each other.

    • RxDude says:

      The books are all on Project Gutenberg.

      • The Cupcake Nazi says:

        No, they aren’t. There are 11 books, only the first five or seven are on PG.

    • Tim says:

      The studios make a lot more money when people buy the movies. So their theory is if people don’t have the option to rent it for 28 days, they’ll buy it instead. It only has to be true enough that Disney makes more money than the alternative.

      • That guy. says:

        If someone didn’t spend $7 to see it in a movie theater, what makes Disney think they will spend $20+ to own it?

        • mszabo says:

          $7, I wish movies costed that around here. For us I would expect the cost of 2 movie tickets $11 each for my wife and I, would be slightly more than the DVD. Still not gonna buy it though.

          From a Disney perspective, there really doesn’t seem to be much to lose in not selling to redbox for the first 30 days. Those that didn’t really care about the movie in the first place, wont really care about having to wait another 30 days. Crazed fanboys get their ‘perk’ of being able to watch it ‘early’. Or if Redbox calls their bluff they are still paying full retail price to disney and I’m sure their costs are higher than buying them direct.

        • lvdave says:

          >If someone didn’t spend $7 to see it in a movie theater, what makes Disney
          > think they will spend $20+ to own it?

          If someone didn’t spend $10 to see it in a movie theater, what makes Disney
          think they will spend $20+ to LICENSE it?

          I have no idea *where* you live that its *only* $7 for a movie, but its $10 around here.. Also
          did you forget that, according to the MPAA, you’re only licensing the movie on the DVD??

    • DrPizza says:

      “Disney failed on making John Carter. “

      Fixed that for you.

      • TacoDave says:

        I bet you didn’t watch it, didja? It was actually a decent movie and I didn’t feel that I wasted my time watching it. I might consider buying it, even.

        Please confirm whether or not you actually saw the film so we can tell if your snark is valid.

        • who? says:

          Studios define success and failure by profit and loss, not by what a random guy on the internet thinks of the movie. By the studio’s own standard, it was a colossal failure.

          • TacoDave says:

            He said “failed on MAKING” John Carter. Specifically referencing the way the movie was made, not the amount of money it brought in. Nice try, though.

        • maxamus2 says:

          I did watch it and it was a fail.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Actually the opposite could be argued such that movies that did poor need the cushion provided by the delay, but that will buy movies like the Avengers even if it’s available for rental.

    • Kestris says:

      I’m reading the books right now and finding that they are well worth the read.

      Disney really dropped the ball on this one.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    Disney: We absolutely, positively, without reservation will not sell you copies of John Carter until 28 days have passed

    Redbox: Fine, then Amazon will get our business

    Disney: Dohh

    • Remmy75 says:

      Amazon – Thanks Disney!

    • wren337 says:

      my understanding is the Redbox will then dump these DVDs on the open market as soon as demand dies down, something they can’t do with the sourced DVDs. That was part of their threat to the studios.

      • 2 Replies says:

        By ‘dump them on the market’ you of course mean ‘use the purchase feature that already exists on red-box kiosks’… O_o

        Yes… dumping…..

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well, it’s not like Amazon selling them copies wont still be a sale for Disney, and without knowing the margin for their sales to Redbox vs their margin selling to Amazon we don’t know if this would help or hurt Disney, although I don’t see it resulting in huge difference in either direction.

      I wonder if direct sales, to rental outfits, are counted in the standard sales figures? I’m just curious if this couldn’t very well be a way to boost the retail sales statistic?

  4. aleck says:

    Funny that they are doing it it with this particular movie. One of the worst by Disney, CEO lost his job over it. I don’t mind waiting 28 days, in fact, I don’t mind waiting forever, because I have no plans to watch it.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      You’ll be missing out, then. I watched it, and thought it was pretty awesome. The movie was deliberately tanked by Disney, likely because someone pissed someone else off. Had they supported it with the same marketing other movies of its type receive, it would have done fairly well. As it is, I only really knew what it was because I am a huge ERB nerd.

      • TacoDave says:

        Agreed. It was a decent flick. The marketing was a mess – I actually hated the previews, but enjoyed the final product.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I have a friend that was really excited about it. He saw it and was like ‘meh.’ I still want to see it, though. My friend has this habit of working himself up to a frenzy before a movie comes out–listening to the soundtrack, watching trailers, reading everything he can get his hot little hands on–and he ruins it for himself. He’s doing it now with Prometheus. So I can’t really go on his opinion.

        I’d like to read the books too. I’m just starting to dabble in sci-fi. My prior exposure consisted of Ray Bradbury (RIP- waaah!) and odd children’s books. I did read Stranger in a Strange Land and enjoyed it. Also a Sturgeon fan from reading horror.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          The books are well worth reading. They’re technically Sword and Planet, since they’re a little bit sci-fi, a little bit fantasy, and a lot of swash-buckling, in-your-face, balls-out adventure. One thing to keep in mind when reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, though, is he was very much a product of his time when it comes to attitudes towards race and ethnicity. It can be pretty jarring, but it’s also a very telling insight into the period in which it was written, as well. If you have an e-reader, you can probably find copies for free, since they’re in the public domain now.

        • Kestris says:

          You can get compilations of all 11 books for roughly 12-15.00 from Barnes and Noble. Volume 1 has the first 3 books, Vols 2 & 3 have the next 8-4 each. Well worth the read, and coincidently- published by Disney.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, not sure why Redbox thinks people are in a hurry to see a money that virtually no one wanted to see.

    • ZenListener says:

      I enjoyed it. What I saw of it. I had to watch it in 3D with big glasses while trying to eat a Cuban sandwich and drink beer. But I liked it well enough to buy it, which I’ll be doing.

  5. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Hah. My old video store would do this too, but not because of the delay (this was long before the delay.)

    It was because the distributor charged something like $30-40 per copy of a movie. Or we could get them at Wal-Mart for $15 day of release.

  6. Stevea1210 says:

    I have to wonder what redbox will be paying for the ‘retail’ versions compared to the bulk purchase from Disney. It’s possible that Disney won’t lose much if any money on this.

    In addition they get to count the redbox retail purchases as copies sold. I’m not sure if they can count the rental ones as a sold copy.

  7. Jules Noctambule says:

    You’d think Disney would be grateful that anyone wanted to buy a copy, much less several.

  8. dolemite says:

    My question is…why can’t Netflix do the same with all these arbitrary dates set by WB, and other studios?

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Netflix wants to maintain their good standing with the companies, so that they can expand their streaming library.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yep, and even without streaming they buy many more titles then Redbox soif they piss off their distributers for one title it could cost them more for hundreds of titles.

    • who? says:

      The only movies I’ve bought in the last….ever, I suppose…were movies that weren’t available any other way, generally either instructional videos, or old, out of print foreign movies that I had to get from a foreign seller. I don’t pirate, and I’m perfectly willing to spend a reasonable amount of money on rentals or streaming subscriptions, but I won’t watch a single movie enough times to make it worth cluttering up my house with a bunch of disks, and even when I had cable, the overpriced on-demand service was just way too expensive. If the studios think that the one true path to profit is disk sales, then they’ve apparently lost my money. There’s enough content out there that there are very few things that I *must* watch. If there isn’t an easy and reasonably priced way to get a particular movie, I probably just won’t bother.

  9. redskull says:

    Sort of related:

    Most DVDS are priced around $15 to $20 to buy. Occasionally though I will see a DVD of a movie that tanked at the box office, that’s selling for $35.

    Obviously the studio prices these poor performing movies so high in a flailing effort to recoup their losses, but if people wouldn’t pay $10 to see it in the theater, why do they think they’d pay $35 to see it at home?

    • Jawaka says:

      Because most people don’t go to the movies alone. Figure $12 a ticket for a family of 4 plus popcorn and soda comes out to about $60.

      • TacoDave says:

        This. I have five kids so I often wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray version. It actually ends up quite a bit cheaper than lugging the whole family to the theater.

  10. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Damn, I was all excited thinking I would really like to support Redbox with my loyal patronage (meaning my hard-earned money)…until that last sentence.

    • dwtomek says:

      You want to punish Redbox because Disney is being stubborn and Redbox is willing to cut into their own margins to get the same product in your hand at an earlier date? This makes all of the sense.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        No, I decided that I do not want to reward Redbox after reading that they have no problem delaying other movies for twice as long because they were offered a kickback.

        • That guy. says:

          It’s a business, not a charity. They aren’t buying copies of John Carter because they feel the public deserves to be able to rent them. They are buying them because they think they can turn a profit.

          • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

            Yes, but what if the studios for some reason paid them gobs of cash to carry copies with the ending of the movie missing, then post the studio-owned URL where you had to register and pay more to see the ending? Is that just a business being a business? They could better serve customers by ignoring all studio delays, and they’d still make money, but they’d rather take the studio’s bags of cash and screw the customers. Disney just failed to offer them a bribe.

            • That guy. says:

              If you aren’t aware, Redbox basically did that with Max Payne 3 for Xbox 360. It’s a very story driven game, where they are only renting out 1 of 2 discs (1/2 the story). If you want to finish it, you gotta go out and buy the game (or find a Blockbuster lol).

              But you know what? If they want to do what you suggested, they can. Then customers will get mad, and not rent, and their profits will drop. Again, it comes down to money. So they have to strike a balance between keeping customers happy while maximizing profits.

              They saw money they could make renting out John Carter, and the implemented it. If Disney offered them enough money, they wouldn’t have done it. But, it wouldn’t have had an adverse impact on customers in the way cutting out content would.

              Regardless, they can do whatever they want. Customers will react with their dollars. Neither Redbox or their customers are under any obligations.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              No, they failed to offer them a discount on the product. Those are two different scenarios. If you could buy an outfit today for full price, or wait 1 week and get it 50% off, what would you do? If you were smart, you’d wait. That is what Redbox is doing. They are waiting to save money. With the thousands of copies they buy, it is a substantial savings.

  11. Not Given says:

    I missed John Carter because the 2D showtimes were inconvenient for us to drive out of town for. We just got VOD and I see the movie is listed at $4.99, but I can’t tell how long the rental time is. I wonder if I should wait for the price to drop. How long does it usually take?

  12. That guy. says:

    1) Good for Redbox. If they buy a single disc at even $20, it won’t be long for them to make money back on it (espeically if customers keep it for more than one day).

    Though I’m still mad at them about what happened when I rented Max Payne 3 for Xbox 360!

    2) Disney does this to force people to pay $20+ to buy the movie in order to watch it, instead of renting it. But if someone didn’t pay $7 to see it on a big screen, why would they pay $20 to see it at home?

    3) I saw John Carter last night, and it was enjoyable enough. Watched it via Xbox 360’s Zune video service. $6 for it…a bit much (I’d rather have gotten it from Redbox).

    • Cacao says:

      Yeah, I don’t know why anybody buys any movie. To me, there are too many movies in the world to watch.

      • That guy. says:

        The DVDs (yes, DVDs, not Blu-Rays) I have on my wall are movies that I could watch virtually unlimited times. Titles like Kill Bill and Airplane.

        I know that when I’m at someone’s house, I tend to browse their DVD collection. I like having it where someone goes, “OH, I never saw that movie!” and I have it to watch with them right then and there.

        Again, those movies I’ve seen dozens of times before buying them, so the idea of buying a movie that I’ve never seen seems very strange.

      • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

        I do. Entertainment system in the car and kids movies. Or movies not on Netflix.

  13. hahatanka says:

    Tried to use Red Box a few times with different credit cards. Never got the machine to work. Oh well, the library is closer, has better selection and is free (except those pesky real estate taxes).

  14. Hartwig says:

    Redbox has had to do this with multiple studios. They seem to think if buying it is the only option for consumers then people won’t wait 30 days and instead buy it at full price. Netflix i believe is more open to the 30 and 60 day restrictions from studios because they are more interested in having the largest library and not necessarily the newest movies.

    • clydesplace says:

      Let’s be clear about this. It’s not that Redbox won’t give Disney a 28 day window, it’s the fact that Disney does not want to give a bigger discount in return for the delay. For other companies, Redbox does delay the rental for a month, but they get something in return for doing so-a bigger discount on the rental discs. Redbox does absolutely refuse to even consider the 56 day window shoved on them by Warners.

      Disney is the loser here. Yes, they’ll get the money Redbox spends to buy the discs, but I guarantee you that Redbox will make that back and more off rentals, not to mention that if Disney thought people would buy it if they couldn’t rent it, that pretty much shoots that all to hell as well.

  15. scurvycapn says:

    It’s not that Disney expects you to buy the DVD. They instead expect you to get it from your cable/satellite provider on demand. That way installing of getting paid to sell a single copy to Redbox that gets rented many times, they get paid a portion each time someone watches it on demand.

  16. Gman says:

    Good for redbox. Not they and Netflix need to stop letting the movie companies make the freaking “rental” versions of the movies.

    Movie companies: Face it, if I am renting the movie there is little to no chance that I will ever buy it. Your little schemes such as disabling chapter skip, forcing me to watch previews for years old movies and stripping extra content will not get me so annoyed that I buy the movie. Rather they are getting me to care less and less about special features and buying their movies.

    • hansolo247 says:

      You need a DVD/BD player that overrides the Prohibited User Ops.

      I just skip right through them.

  17. BobbyCanuck says:

    I bought this movie yesterday, because I missed it at the theatres, would I have prefered to rent? Yes, but thanks to this article I have figured out why it was not available at the local BestBuy kiosk.

    Only bought it cause it was John Carter, and I am a fan of the novels.

    The future of Hollywood may be in trouble, I am sure there are folks like me that would buy the occasional movie which deservces the big screen blu ray treatment, but the rest of them? Torrents here we come

  18. amuro98 says:

    So…how does work?

    The retail version’s no-pirating-FBI-blah-blah-blah warning message at the beginning clearly says NOT FOR RENTAL.

    I assume that prior to rental DVDs, the studios had an agreement the rental companies would sign to allow rentals of retail discs.

    So how is it Rebox can go buy a retail disc when there will be a rental disc and seemingly break the licensing agreement?

    Bonus question: Redbox sends out a code good for 1 free DVD rental a month. Does this mean that watching a movie now has a retail value of $0.00, meaning, piracy is no longer possible?!?

    • dwtomek says:

      You have to continue renting movies to get the free rental. I know this because I stopped receiving the promo codes after my credit card stopped working in their kiosks. Kinda bummed as I liked using Redbox. Unfortunately, two cards later and RedBox still just won’t let me give them my money. Works everywhere else though. Not sure what’s up with their card readers or if I am just unlucky.

    • hansolo247 says:

      First Sale doctrine pretty much overrides any “license agreement”

  19. cspschofield says:

    There’s a great book called REWIND about the videotape revolution. I bring it up because the studios have tried this before, and it didn’t work then either.

    My favorite image from the book is when the suits of one studio or another were trying to come up with a scheme whereby they would keep buyers from renting their tapes, and their corporate lawyers had to sit them down and explain the legal facts of life; that once you sell something it no longer belongs to you.

  20. SilverBlade2k says:

    People want to actually *rent* John Carter?…from the reviews I saw..I didn’t think it was worth the cost of a rental..

    • cspschofield says:

      Hell, I just bought it. It’s a decent movie based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs book; lots of action, an exotic background, and not a great deal of logic or science. ERB was a great slam-bang storyteller, but a mediocre writer; at his best when creating arresting mental images. The movie doesn’t turn John Carter’s adventures into real science fiction. That would be nearly impossible, short of rebuilding the whole series from the ground up. As early 20th century swords and sorcery adventure it ain’t half bad.

  21. Draw2much says:

    I just wanna say I DID like the movie. Was it faithful to the books? Nay. But it wasn’t a bad movie in it’s own right. It was kind of Princess of Mars LITE, I guess.
    *A Person Who’s Stopped Expecting Hollywood to Make Good Adaptions of Books and Ended Up a Much Happier Movie Goer Since*

  22. soj4life says:

    People really want to see john carter? I thought its lackluster performance showed many people did not.

  23. rework says:

    How is adding in an addition retail seller “cutting out the middleman”?