LA Times: Disney Feuds with Redbox, Netflix over John Carter

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The LA Times has picked up on the story of Disney’s embargo of Red Box.  Red Box continues to list John Carter as Coming Soon (here is the link).

From the LA Times

Walt Disney Co. is fighting to keep the hero from the Red Planet out of the red kiosks and the red envelopes.

A feud that flared up this week over the DVD release of “John Carter” has demonstrated the growing tension between rental giants Redbox and Netflix and Hollywood movie studios desperate to prop up their shrinking home entertainment businesses.

Disney this spring informed all of its rental partners that it would no longer provide them with DVDs until 28 days after the discs go on sale, according to people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox have taken similar positions in hopes of steering consumers away from discount rentals — Redbox charges just $1.20 per night, while Netflix monthly prices start at $7.99 — and toward more profitable DVD purchases and video-on-demand rentals.

The studios believe that fans eager to see a movie right away will pay $5 for a video-on-demand rental or about $20 to buy a DVD if they have no less-expensive options. More price-sensitive renters, they believe, will wait.

Read the article at LA Times


  • I think this practice is bad for studios. There are a lot of people (including myself) that will not blindly buy a movie that they haven’t seen. If they rent from Redbox (I love Redbox), they’ll buy the movie if they like it. I can’t even count the number of movies that I bought that I wouldn’t have bought had I not rented them first from Redbox.

    As for Redbox, it doesn’t really hurt them that much if they have to buy from a retailer. A lot of people forget to return their movies and pay late fees, or they just end up buying Redbox’s copy after a while. Yes, they’d make more if they got the movies at a discount, but then they’d also have to buy other movies that no one wants to see.

  • MCR — Well, this is not just Disney. Other studios are struggling with this too. The notion of “windows” or “holdbacks” has always been part of the rollout of a film. Contracts specify, for example, how long after the DVD release it has to be held back before it can appear on cable (not PPV, regular cable)…..etc. But traditionally, rental and “sell-through” went out the same day/date …… now they are trying to give sell-through a short window before rental……It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. There are people on both sides of this argument, but I don’t think this falls into the category of Disney sabotaging John Carter. It’s just a business move. It may work — it may not. If anything I see it as mildly positive in that they are trying…..even if it’s a little experimental. But it’s definitely a ploy to make more money.

  • It’s a little confusing, for sure. Redbox normally buys at discount because, among other reasons, they don’t need the regular DVD box, plus they buy in volume. So it’s hard, it would see, for Redbox to make it work by buying them on the open market. Their model is based on getting them at a lower price — at least in my experience. We’ll see.

  • See I don’t get Disney’s logic here. A lot of people don’t just do “blind buys” as I’ve heard it called, just buy a movie sight unseen. If they are interested they want to at least rent it first and then possibly buy it, so in that respect Disney is losing both profits from the rentals and from people who might buy it after seeing it as a rental.

    I guess more of the vast conspiracy that Disney is trying to prevent a John Carter sequel or more of their incompetence? You make the call.

  • It will probably help John Carter. Without a deal though, they can pass or buy less of other Disney movies if they so desire. Redbox will lose some money since they have to pay more to buy them, but they’ll have them quicker than waiting for the studio to send them.

    Looks like the Best Buy stores have restocked here. They are pushing them as the perfect Father’s Day gift. They also have a John Carter featurette playing showing quick interview clips, movie clips and making of clips (Willem Dafoe on stilts) on all the big screens. That’s great!

    I was talking to a guy who went to rent it the other night at his local video store and they were all out. He’s trying again this weekend.

  • So does it help of harm profits if RedBox is forced to buy it’s own DVDs at retail stores? IMO, it would seem like it would help, as those things are everywhere!

    I guess I’ll never understand the movie business

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