Summit, Redbox ink DVD deal

Pact includes new releases and catalog titles

Summit Entertainment has inked a two-year deal allowing dollar-rentals giant Redbox direct access to its home entertainment titles, effective Jan. 1.

In an ironic twist, Universal -- which has been sued by Redbox for refusing even to let wholesalers provide new-release DVDs to the kiosk king -- distributes Summit titles on shiny disc. Redbox claims the policy runs afoul of antitrust regulations.

Uni, Fox and Warner Bros. ban wholesalers from providing Redbox their DVDs for the first 45 days, 30 days and 28 days, respectively, after the studios release new titles. The slight variation in their respective no-fly zones aims to minimize any appearance of industry collusion of the sort barred by antitrust statutes.

Like previous agreements with Sony, Paramount and Lionsgate, Summit's deal provides Redbox access to its titles in exchange for a pledge not to resell the discs.

Redbox operates more than 15,000 DVD kiosks nationwide. Studio critics claim its dollar-a-night pricing is too low and undermines consumer enthusiasm to buy DVDs.

"We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with Summit as it underscores our commitment to creating winning relationships for our customers and studio partners," Redbox chief Mitch Lowe said. "This agreement ensures that we will continue to deliver engaging and popular Summit movie titles to consumers at our kiosks when they are first released at an affordable price."

Summit home entertainment president Stephen Nickerson called the pact "a win for both Summit and Redbox."

The pact includes both new releases and catalog titles. Though Redbox stocks mostly new titles, Summit's March 2009 disc release "Twilight" could get picked up for Redbox kiosks as other titles in the studio's vampire-romance franchise unspool in theaters.