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Beware the big red box.

Beware the big red box. (photo)

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Say hello to Redbox, the scariest thing in the film industry, at least for today. If you’ve never heard of this Netflix-for-supermarkets, it can take a while to put together how a shiny red DVD dispenser can make studio execs quake in their last season loafers, so here’s the gist: Redbox rents movies for $1 a day through automated kiosks. If you’ve never seen them, it’s entirely possible you haven’t been to 7-11 in the last year. Or Walgreens. Or Kroger’s. They stock about 40 titles, which they switch up weekly (you can also browse films online), and the emphasis is not on the esoteric.

USA Today breaks it down: Redbox pays about $18 for a disk, and studios get nothing beyond what they make on that sale, which infuriates them, since half their revenue comes from rental and home sales — why choose a $4.50 rental at the video store when you could get a $1 one at McDonalds? Whilst noshing on a Happy Meal?

Hence, lawsuits: Universal told their wholesalers to cut off Redbox, and Redbox countersued and started buying Universal titles at retail. Fox asked its wholesalers to wait 30 days before selling new filmes to Redbox, and today Redbox filed another countersuit against them. Disney, Sony and, as of yesterday, Lionsgate have all pulled an if-you-can’t-beat-em and reached deals with the service. There’s an air of hysteria in the air: Can a subsidiary of Coinstar really bully all the studios into submission? Could it destroy NetFlix? And Blockbuster? (How is Blockbuster even still standing? Their death was predicted 90 dog-years ago.)

The DVD sales bubble is collapsing in on itself fast enough to form a black hole at its center. While the studios keep having to re-figure out how to make money, it’s the shaky, knock-kneed indie market we’re worried about. As Cinetic’s Matt Dentler put it, “consumer expectation that a movie rental should now always be $1” is a bad model for indies. Then again, the folks contemplating the kiosk probably don’t care about indie rentals to begin with. In a perfect world, they would someday, but — like Jonathan Rosenbaum’s oft-expressed position that if only Hou Hsiao-Hsien films opened on 3,000 screens alongside blockbusters, consumers would dig them — that’s just not the case. The studios can sweat this one out; indie DVD firms should just keep chugging along, figuring out new ways to make the small part of the pie work for them.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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