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Not the Great Value version of "The Hangover", we promise.

If you’ve rented a Hollywood Three (Universal, Fox, Warner) title from Redbox lately, you might have noticed that the cover art differs greatly from the same title for rent at Blockbuster or the sell-through version. The reason behind this is that Redbox, having been denied new release titles by the studios mentioned above, has had to resort to creating its own cover art for the embargoing studios’ films that it acquires through alternate means.

While the First Sale Doctrine (FSD) allows Redbox to purchase embargoed titles at retail and rent them, copyright issues do not allow the kiosk company to use the actual box art at its machines and on its website. Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield has specifically noted Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Hangover and Public Enemies as recently released titles with significantly different cover art.

Discussing Redbox’s rights under FSD, Greenfield had the following to say about the box art issue:

“We are far less clear whether Redbox is allowed to substitute their own digital cover art next to movie titles. . . If Redbox [was] forced to simply have a blank screen with a movie’s title, we believe it could notably impact rental behavior of certain movies, particularly catalog titles at Redbox kiosks.”

Insiders, would seeing altered cover art, possibly consisting of just text, dissuade you from renting a certain movie? What have been some of your favorite “Redboxed” movie covers lately? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

[via Home Media Magazine]

34 Responses to “Redbox Using Alternate Cover Art for Workaround Titles”

  1. Member [Join Now]
    The Turnip [the-turnip]

    No, I don’t use Redbox as a resource for researching movies so I don’t care about the graphics. I already know the name of the movies I plan on watching and their release dates, so the site could be “text only” for all I care.

    I have noticed that in the early days of the studios’ embargo Redbox would change to the “official” cover art after 30 days. Now the homemade covers are no longer updated. For example: Frost/Nixon is the oldest title I see today with “original” artwork and it was released four months ago.

    I thought Redbox representing Harry Potter with a picture of his glasses was funny. Really, that’s the first thing that comes to mind?

  2. Member [Join Now]

    Redbox website and machines can’t use the image but IMDB and Google can?

    More importantly, I think a black background with the title in white letters would be a very good indication of a new-release movie.
    I’m concerned that substituting cover art may confuse patrons and those movies won’t get rented.
    Another suggestion would be to have a local cache of the IMDB images so when the user selects the black and white cover of the movie, the pictures from IMDB or google (proper cover art) would be displayed.

  3. Member [Join Now]

    It doesn’t affect my renting habits at all. All I am concerned about is getting the movie I want to see.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    I think they should go with the no art, just text approach. If I see just text I think “OK cover art not available for some reason” but if I see art that I don’t recognize I think “different movie with same name someone’s trying to cash in on by re-releasing just before the release date of the new movie”.

  5. Member [Join Now]
    UBM [ubm]

    Art, No Art…doesn’t affect me, only availability of the title does.
    I have gotten use to New Release day now being Friday instead of Tuesday,
    and it has shifted my rental habits to “shop” at Redbox accordingly.

    What could be done on the website is just link over to imdb or
    the main studios’ webpage for said movie. That way, they
    comply with the studios and people know at a glance what movie is
    what. For us true videophiles, though, we will still use

  6. Member [Join Now]

    i’ve noticed this for about a month and a half now and i hate most of the covers, but I think it’s always fun to see what the covers look like. The worst Redboxed cover is the Terminator: Salvation one. The best one is The Hangover cover. It looks the most like the film

  7. Member [Join Now]

    I did a triple look at teh art cover when saw harry potter cover art .

  8. dweddin

    I just want my local machine stocked with anything new.

  9. Member [Join Now]

    My issue with this is that Redbox often stocks B and C movies with titles similar to something currently in theaters (like Nostradamus 2012, where the 2012 is in 108 point type). I only briefly glance at the barker board next to the machine and I’m likely to think the “Night At the Museum” they claim to have is some horror flick with a similar name to the Ben Stiller franchise. (Even if I figured out it really was the Ben Stiller flick it would be pointless because the machine doesn’t really have that movie anyhow.)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      RunninWild [visitor]

      LOL rico

      So you also didn’t notice the HISTORY CHANNEL logo next to the title?
      It was actually a pretty cool documentary summing up the whole 2012 thing. It even says it in the description….

      I agree with you on those knock off movies but haven’t seen one in a while but I won’t knock them for the 2012 thing….if someone gets fooled by that they are just knuckleheads.

      • Member [Join Now]

        The 2012 flick did irratate me a bit, but ultimately.. It was an interesting documentary. I felt at first I was cheated a WHOLE dollar and had to suffer through some boring documentary, but it ended up being worthwhile. It just sucks when you think it’s one thing and realize it’s something else. (Guess you have to pay close attention to ALL the details.)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Jared [visitor]

      Yeah they had Inglourious Basterds from like 1978

      • Member [Join Now]

        the month b4 the original Inglorious Bastards was in Redbox, I rented it online. Pretty cool explotation-esque movie, but i feel like i wasted a rental because now it’s in redbox

  10. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    Poor redbox. My mom noticed the Tiger cover for the Hangover and she was confused, so I think for some people they really might doubt it’s the real movie, but for people like me who are in the know, I couldn’t care less. I am gonna rent what I want when I can get it from Redbox. I am still buying Blu-rays like crazy, but I’m not gonna be bent over for rental pricing. I am sticking to Redbox!

  11. Member [Join Now]

    Speaking of Redbox anyone able to find a Unrated version stocked.
    It’s showing as rated R online. I was told by Redbox Customer Support that it will say in the description what the rating is but they all say Rated R well at least online it does. I don’t want to reserve it if it’s the Rated R version. I guess I’m going to have to go to the kiosk and hope it’s Unrated.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Bernie Madoff [visitor]


      A bit of deceptive advertising.

      According to Amazon, only the 2 disk SKUs have the unrated cut. The rental version was probably the last of the SKUs listed. Many studios are wisely adopting this type of multi-SKU distribution strategy to maximize revenues from either retail or rental channels.

      Rated version 99 minutes
      Unrated version 108 minutes

      Below is “The Hangover” SKU data:

      Special Edition Blu-ray
      Contains 2 Discs
      UPC 883929058037
      ISBN 1419878964
      Retail $35.99
      Includes Digital Copy
      Released 12/15/09

      Special Edition DVD
      Contains 2 Discs
      UPC 883929058006
      ISBN 1419878972
      Retail $34.99
      Includes Digital Copy
      Released 12/15/09

      UPC 883929057832
      ISBN 1419878948
      Retail $28.98
      Released 12/15/09

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Joe Schmuck [visitor]

      The unrated version was only available in the 2-Disc Special Edition & the BLU-RAY version.

      • Member [Join Now]

        I know that but it says available in rated and unrated versions in the movie description on here and at as well.

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          The Turnip [visitor]

          Problems like this appear because most rental websites don’t break out the details between DVD & Blu-ray. For example, I know of a movie on Netflix that states the aspect ratio is “widescreen anamorphic 2.35” which is correct for Blu-ray. The DVD is non-anamorphic 1.85 and streaming is anamorphic1.85.

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jared [visitor]

    Ha I’ve noticed this! I didn’t know that was the reason.

    Harry Potter 6’s box art is just some glasses.
    Hangover is a tiger
    Terminator is a very crappy looking robot.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Mokona [visitor]

      Same here… I saw Bruno listed on the display, but the cover was a sunny meadow. Struck me as a little odd!

      I agree with the other posts – I don’t mind the alternate cover art, but I want to be sure it is the specific movie I am looking for, not some knockoff movie trying to cash in, or the original (if the new release is a remake). We don’t get the dvd covers on the redbox cases or the cds, so it really shouldn’t matter as long as it is identified thoroughly when the selection is made.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        The Turnip [visitor]

        Click on the movie to see who is starring in it. The same actors are not going to get top billing in “THE” movie, the original or a knock-off. Easy as that.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Askthecableguy [visitor]

    I rent from Redbox all the time, and I’ve noticed some differences with art work. I would say it really doesn’t matter to me what the cover looks like, as long as I know what I’m renting is the correct movie I intended on watching, and most of the time I know what I want before I get to the machine. I mean if your at a machine and your trying to figure out if the movie is worth watching. That should be done at home before you venture to the box. I believe adding previews to the box or site would greatly when making a choice. This could be done by linking you to other sites for content data. Like someone’s else has suggested IMDB for artwork content.

    • Member [Join Now]
      Hazmina [hazmina]

      Don’t they already give you a trailer for certain titles on the website? Adding previews to the box though, in my opinion, would be a bad idea because although some of us already know what we are gonna rent some folks don’t and they stand at the box for like 10-20min deciding and the previews would only prolong them.. bad for those of us who already know what we want and maybe only need to return a movie.

  14. Member [Join Now]

    So far all i’ve seen in my local RB kiosks is the R-rated version of “The Hangover”. It will tell you what version it is at the top of the screen once you touch the boxart at the kiosk. Yes, it did say that RB would have both versions available as well, but i’ve yet to see the Unrated version.

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joe Schmuck [visitor]

    Again, the unrated version of The Hangover was only available on the 2-Disc Special Edition & BLU-RAY. Do you honestly think that REDBOX will buy the 2- Disc version at retail just so they can get the unrated version?

    • Member [Join Now]

      I thought that redbox didnt carrry unrated versions of movies unless the 1 disc dvd of a film has both versions on the same disc (like the Funny People dvd)

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    Tim [visitor]

    I think the only problem could be that sometimes there are movies that I didn’t plan on seeing in the theatre and I need to see the cover art to remind me of them when it’s rental time. I usually go to Redbox with a specific rental in mind but plan to pick up a second title of a movie that wasn’t worth paying theatre prices to see. I would assume that if they can’t show the cover art on the screen they can’t show it on the POP display, either, so the question isn’t whether this will reduce rentals, the question is, “By how much?”

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    AL [visitor]

    All this (alternate cover art) does is make me look closer at the title before renting it (to ensure I’m getting the correct title and not a similar-titled knockoff). Displaying plain text and a “no cover art” available tag would have the same affect on me. I do think alternate cover art is the more appealing option. So, no, it hasn’t affected my rental habits, but I can also see where it might be confusing to some.

  18. Member [Join Now]
    mc.incid [mcincid]

    It’s illegal to create unlicensed marketing items for any product, as Redbox does not have permission to use those design elements and tags/copy in that combination. Redbox doesn’t even indicate whether or not it has permission to use the photograph it’s using.

    Bottom line, this infringement is done for profit, and knowingly represents a copyrighted motion picture in an illegal way. Depending on how they want to do it, either the studio could sue because the work isn’t licensed, or the licensed designer could sue for infringement.

    It’s a poor move on Redbox’s part; surely they’ve noticed that movie theaters don’t just go around creating their own versions of the licensed posters and other promotional materials provided to them. What makes Redbox so special?