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Redbox + Kansas = No R-rated movies?

According to an article on Video Business, a small town south of Wichita is “just saying no” to R-rated movies in their Redbox kiosks…

From the article:

A McDonald’s restaurant in Anthony, Kan., removed the R-rated movies from its Redbox kiosk after a local independent video store owner raised the issue during a Feb.
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18 board of commissioners meeting, according to meeting minutes posted on the town’s Web site.


Video Buyers Group, which represents about 1,800 independent rental stores, is contacting city councils and independent retailers in some Kansas, Indiana, Colorado and Minnesota communities to pressure Redbox retail partners McDonald’s and Wal-Mart to take R-rated movies out of its kiosks.

“This is not a competition issue,” said VBG president Ted Engen, who also runs the 71-store Total Entertainment Center chain. “McDonald’sâ bread and butter is kids’ meals, and they have R-rated movies there, with no policing at all.
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We might as well put beer in soda machines.”

My favorite part is right there at the end: We might as well put beer in soda machines. While I agree that we should do the best we can to protect our families from things we find inappropriate, comparing R-rated movies to underage drinking might be a bit of stretch.

So, what do you think? Is this a valid concern, or is this going a bit too far in the name of protecting the little ones?

20 Responses to “Redbox + Kansas = No R-rated movies?”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Timothy [visitor]

    “McDonald’s’ bread and butter is kids’ meals…”

    They seem to be assuming quite a bit here:

    First, that kids often shop at McDonald’s without their parents.

    Second, that kids regularly carry credit cards (which are required at every RedBox.)

    Third, that kids will be able to watch the movies they rent without their parents knowledge.

    While I won’t deny that any of those three could happen – I think all three of them occurring at once seems rather unlikely. And if they do happen, well… I don’t think it would quite be the end of the world. Parents should monitor their children’s viewing habits – but this just seems like a way of taking choice away from adults.

    It should also be noted that MPAA ratings are completely voluntary, and in no way enforceable by law – unlike the drinking laws. (Not that the comparison was anything less than idiotic in the first place.) There are lots of PG-13 movies I wouldn’t want my kids to see – should we remove those too – to avoid harming the children?

    ALSO, every RedBox (that I’ve seen) contains external warnings that one must be 18 to rent from the machine – and if you rent an R-rated movie, there is an additional warning that the film may contain objectionable content. (Though of course kids could just ignore all those messages.)

    Yeah, I’m just not seeing the problem here. And in spite of their assurance to the contrary, I’m fairly confident that this is in fact a matter of competition (guised in the name of “protecting the children.”) I for one hope their “pressure” on city councils and retail chains proves completely futile.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Damon [visitor]

    First off this would totally suck if it does happen. I live just outside Wichita and this is not my source of movies. Like the previous commenter said about the credit card issue. I would think that would be enough there. I swear it never stops does it!! I just hope Redbox stays strong and continues just like they are in Kansas!!

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Karl [visitor]

    I agree with the first post, Timothy, personally I think a kid is more likely to turn on a tv and see objectionable material than he or she is to be able to succesfully rent an r rated movie at redbox. Sounds to me like this dude is running scarred that his movie chain is going to suffer like Hollywood Video has….

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Dex [visitor]

    If there are kids under 18 with a credit card that aren’t being watched, then it’s on the parents. The only thing I would say they may want to do is not show some of the R movie covers on the machine.
    It’s awfully coincidental this guy also runs a video store. Even if he says it not about competition, you know he’s thinking about it.

  5. Member [Join Now]
    235Agent [235agent]

    I agree.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Shalee [visitor]

    I see it more as a parental issue. Personally, I see no need for a child to have a credit card (or a cell phone or a tv in their room, etc., but that’s just me). It is the responsibility of the parents to teach accountability, adherence to rules and how to make good choices, not to mention that it’s their responsibility to follow through on consequences if their children stray from them.

    (My poor kids… they suffer the disgrace of having parents who actually care about what they do and what they view. Sigh. Oh the horror.)

    Oh, and for the record, I live in KS and I have a tweener. Yes, I know where she is right now. :)

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Dex [visitor]

    Seriously, good for you!
    My wife does social work with kids of all ages and you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I’ve heard.
    As much as parents complain that kids are lazy, don’t go out to play, etc they need to step up and do something about it!

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Taras [visitor]

    its not like they’re pornos. Kids wouldn’t go through all the trouble of getting a credit card from somewhere and renting an R rated movie.

  9. Member [Join Now]

    I don’t know of any child that has a debit or credit card. If they do their parents just aren’t thinking. How bout taking away the temptation by NOT giving them a means to get the movies in the first place.

    This is ridiculous.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    Heidi [visitor]

    If a child DOES have a credit card, then they might as well just BUY an R-rated on Or worse.

    COME ON.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    Cornelia [visitor]

    I agree with shalee,

    kids Should not have credit cards at all!

    ( By the way,I agree with Taras, What kid would deliberately go through the trouble of finding a convenient Redbox Location where their parents aren’t, Pick an R rated movie that would scare them half to death, Spend money on something they might lose or break, And risk being seen by a neighbor and grounded for a month? Their not idiots! And yes there is competition in the air. )

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    David Lay [visitor]

    I’m really confused about this argument… Rated R movies are restricted to ages 17+, last I checked. And credit cards are restricted to ages 18+, yes?
    I don’t claim to be a rocket surgeon, but I THINK that 18 > 17, so i don’t see the problem here…much ado!
    It is a COMPETITION issue, plain and simple!

  13. Member [Join Now]

    Hee hee, well re-reading what the video store owners said about McDonalds and Redboxes, it certainly sounds like they are just trying to protect their stores and sadly they have used the argument that McDonald’s shouldn’t have a Redbox renting R-movies because children eat and buy food there. I guess my question would be what if the Redboxes were located at the local grocery store? (ours is here in MD) Then what would their argument be? Although, I have to admit they were smart using this argument because you will get tons of parents, of young or teenage children, agreeing with the video store owners. It’s just unfortunate that McDonald’s had to be the location for these Redboxes. But I do agree with alot of the comments. Parents should carry the responsibility of what their kids view and watch.

  14. Visitor [Join Now]
    Dee [visitor]

    That argument makes absolutely no sense. I completely agree with the first poster-how likely is it that all 3 of those factors would align so that a child could rent an R-rated movie? And align REPEATEDLY to where it is a problem? People just do not take responsibility anymore and want to blame everyone else for their piss-poor parenting.

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jon [visitor]
    I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

    First of all the guy who is bringing up this issue does not own a video store he runs a buying group for independents not some corporate machine. Secondly any child can get a visa/matercard gift card given to them and use it in a redbox. Thirdly video store owners have an extra layer of protection for parents by enforcing the MPAA’s volentary ratings system, they are in ways custodians of the content for children. They ask age, ask for id’s and they don’t rent inappropriate material to children. If you all remember cigarette machines when we were all kids they to had stickers on them saying you had to be 18 to buy, did that stop any of us? NO!!!. Alls that did was made me buy 2 packs in case I couldn’t get back. Go figure that you’d get a one-sided arguement on a site that promotes Red-box. Mcdonalds does market to children with thier happy meals and playlands so why is there box art promoting riske material on it right in the front foyers of the McDonalds? Another thing is alls a child has to do to rent an inappropriate title is press one button that says I am 18yrs old, How hard is that for a child? There is not that extra layer of protection of a human being actually making sure of the age. One last thing is checkcards work in these machines as well and last I checked how old do you have to be to have a checking account 12?

  16. Administrator
    Michael [administrator]

    “This is not a competition issue,” said VBG president Ted Engen, who also runs the 71-store Total Entertainment Center chain.


    The article specifically said that he runs 71 video stores? You don’t think that is a conflict of interest?

    Listen, I think it is important to protect our children from things that we don’t find inappropriate, but that is my job as a parent, not someone else’s job to force their silly ideas on me or family.

    BTW, this site does not “promote” Redbox, it is “about” Redbox. Personally, I do not watch R-rated movies at all, and I plan to teach my children to do the same. So, I certainly have no agenda here.

    Really though, Jon, it seems to me that you are the one with the one-sided argument. Perhaps that stems from you being related to Mr. Ted Engen? Maybe you should disclose this if you are going to come and make an argument on someone else’s website. Nice try, though.

    With regards to your “point”, I simply do not think we need the government or any other silly “interest groups” adding more censorship and more regulations to our already over-regulated society.

    Let us take responsibility for our own families and our own actions. I simply do not need – or want – you or anyone else doing that for me.

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    shrontzinator [visitor]

    I agree, USA should get rid of rated R movies altogether.