Redbox reaches settlement with Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox
Ending a protracted legal dispute, Redbox has reached long-term distribution agreements with 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios to make DVDs and Blu-ray titles available in its kiosks 28 days after their home video release.
The deals, announced Thursday, ensure that popular movies such as "Avatar" and "It's Complicated" will be available through the $1-a-day rental kiosks -- albeit about four weeks after they're available on DVD. The studios had fought to impose a waiting period to prevent discount rentals from cannibalizing higher-margin DVD sales and rentals.
Redbox President Mitch Lowe issued a statement saying the distribution agreements ensure an ample supply of DVDs for its 20,000 kiosks and allow it to keep the same low rental prices. Under conditions of the agreements, Redbox said it would drop its lawsuits against Fox and Universal.
Home entertainment giant Warner Bros. was the first to reach a deal with Redbox that imposed the 28-day wait. Warner and other studios have long maintained that the $1-a-night kiosk rentals should play the same role for DVDs that discount theaters, which show movies several months after they debut in first-run cineplexes, do for films: to serve as an alternative for filmgoers who don't mind waiting to pay less.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski
Anja Murphy returns videos to a Redbox kiosk in an Albertsons supermarket in Santa Monica. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times