Disney has become the latest in a growing list of studios forcing rental services to wait before buying their films. The LA Times has confirmed that starting with imported Japanese film The Secret World of Arrietty in late May, Disney began waiting 28 days to sell to any rental outlets, including Redbox, Netflix, or Blockbuster. The waiting period is meant to push casual viewers into buying a DVD rather than going to a cheaper kiosk or putting it on their Netflix queue. Rental companies can still buy the DVDs retail or wholesale, but it could increase costs substantially.
Netflix hasn't yet commented on the decision, but Redbox is fighting back. "We will be sourcing John Carter through alternative means," a spokeswoman said. John Carter, the latest big-name Disney release, will therefore be available one week after its DVD launch rather than four. Redbox previously accepted a 28-day waiting period from Universal in exchange for a discount, but it broke with Warner Bros. when the studio attempted to double the window to 56 days, and so far it doesn't seem to consider Disney's discount worth the trouble. Netflix, whose streaming model is far more dependent on studios' goodwill, may not have that luxury.