Two years after bending to Warner's demands and delaying its kiosk rentals 28 days in exchange for lower acquisition costs and a steady supply of Blu-ray discs, Redbox announced the agreement has expired. This comes as a result of Warner's desire to extend the delay between the time movies are available for purchase to the time they can be rented in kiosks or by subscription to 56 days, and instead Redbox will go back to buying the studio's movies at retail -- coincidentally, it has renewed its lease agreement with Walmart for 3,700 retail locations for three more years. While that means more expense and possibly unsure supply for Redbox -- we'll wait and see if retailer interference is an issue again -- the good news for consumers is that for the time being, they'll have the choice of renting as soon as movies go on sale. The first flick affected by the new reality is A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, so until Warner backs off, or Redbox blinks once its streaming service comes into play, then go forth and enjoy those $1.10 rentals freely.
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January 31, 2012
"The Redbox contract with Warner Brothers to acquire movies directly expires today (January 31, 2012). Redbox will continue to provide our consumers with affordable access to new release movies from all major studios including Warner Brothers at our more than 28,000 locations nationwide. We will work to provide Warner Brothers' movies through alternative means. Redbox maintains direct working relationships with every other major studio," said Gary Cohen, senior vice president of marketing and customer experience at Redbox.