Redbox inks deals with Universal, Fox

Rental chain agrees to wait 28 days for new-release discs

Universal, the first DVD supplier to go to war with Redbox over $1 rentals, and Fox, which joined that fight, announced deals Thursday in which the chain agreed to wait 28 days for the studios' new-release discs.

In exchange, Universal and Fox will supply Redbox with a robust flow of DVD movies after their first four weeks in the marketplace. So Redbox will have to wait 28 days for "Avatar," which other DVD outlets began offering Thursday, but is assured of getting an ample supply of the eagerly sought title starting May 28.

The separate deals end litigation that arose after Universal, Fox and Warner Bros. ordered wholesalers to stop supplying dollar-rental chains with studio product.

Warners previously struck a deal with Redbox similar to those now in place for Uni and Fox. Redbox has arrangements with Sony, Lionsgate and Paramount granting it new releases from the initial street date; Redbox offers new Disney releases without a formal deal.

The first Universal title covered under its Redbox pact is the adult comedy "It's Complicated," which releases April 27.

"While this arrangement mutually benefits our two companies, it's more importantly a win for consumers," Universal Studios Home Entertainment president Craig Kornblau said.

Said Fox Home Entertainment worldwide president Mike Dunn, "This arrangement upholds our retail and rental strategy while allowing us to continue to deliver the best available movies and TV shows in the market to our customers."

Redbox president Mitch Lowe noted that the arrangements will offer "reduced product costs, preserving value for our consumers and increasing availability."

As part of the deals, Redbox agreed not to resell used DVDs from Uni and Fox.