DVD rental deal reached be­tween Red­box, Univer­sal

The Washington Times Daily - - Television -

Cut-rate rental DVD kiosk op­er­a­tor Red­box said Thurs­day it has re­newed a deal to carry movies made by Univer­sal Pic­tures 28 days af­ter discs are made avail­able for sale.

The deal ex­tends through Au­gust 2014, a pact first made in April 2010, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Hol­ly­wood stu­dios have dif­fer­ing views of how long Red­box, a sub­sidiary of Coin­star Inc., must wait af­ter discs are re­leased for sale. Some worry con­sumers will rent in­stead of buy­ing discs, which cuts into prof­its, while other stu­dios don’t see a neg­a­tive im­pact from rent­ing and sell­ing at the same time.

Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. said in Jan­uary it would not sell Red­box discs for rental un­til 56 days af­ter they are re­leased for sale, dou­bling the de­lay from a pre­vi­ous deal in a bid to en­cour­age pur­chases.

But Red­box has been able to get the discs through other sources, so now Warner Bros.’ ti­tles are avail­able seven days af­ter re­lease.

Com­cast Corp.’s Univer­sal and News Corp.’s 20th Cen­tury Fox sell discs to Red­box at a dis­count as long as the kiosk op­er­a­tor waits 28 days af­ter their re­lease for sale.

Sony Corp., the Walt Dis­ney Co., Vi­a­com Inc.’s Para­mount and Lions Gate En­ter­tain­ment Corp. all pro­vide Red­box with discs at a dis­count the same day they are re­leased for sale. semi­fi­nal­ists per­formed Tues­day and the 12 fe­male semi­fi­nal­ists sang Wed­nes­day.

The other viewer-se­lected fi­nal­ists in­cluded sooth­ing 18-year-old vo­cal­ist Hol­lie Ca­vanaugh, of Mckin­ney, Texas; 20-year-old alt-rock mu­si­cian Colton Dixon, of Murfrees­boro, Tenn.; 25-year-old “gen­tle gi­ant” Jer­maine Jones, of Pine Hill, N.J.; boom­ing 19-year-old stu­dent Joshua Ledet, of West­lake, La.; soar­ing 16-year-old vo­cal­ist Shan­non Ma­grane, of Tampa, Fla.; 16-year-old Jes­sica Sanchez, of San Diego; and soul­ful 28-year-old teacher Elise Te­stone, of Charleston, S.C.

Once the fan fa­vorites were re­vealed, the show’s panel picked five re­main­ing semi­fi­nal­ists to de­liver a last-chance tune in hopes of be­com­ing one of the judges’ “wild-card” se­lec­tions. The judges ul­ti­mately chose 17-year-old stu­dent Dean­dre Brack­en­sick, of San Jose, Calif.; 19-year-old re­cep­tion­ist Jeremy Rosado, of Val­rico, Fla.; and 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt, of South Kingstown, R.I., to be among the top 13.

The fi­nal­ists will re­turn to the stage Wed­nes­day for the first round of sea­son 11’s fi­nals. “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest an­nounced Thurs­day that the male singers would per­form Ste­vie Won­der songs, while the fe­male con­tes­tants would pay trib­ute to Whit­ney Hous­ton. de­lay. (The sea­son-four fi­nale aired in Oc­to­ber 2010.)

“These de­ci­sions get made . . . at a much higher pay grade than I’m al­lowed to par­take in,” Mr. Hamm ex­plained to Mr. Let­ter­man. “I’ve de­scribed it thusly, and I’ve got­ten in trou­ble, so I’ll do it again the same way: When bil­lion­aires fight, it takes a lot longer to, like, set­tle. So we had some very wealthy peo­ple de­ter­min­ing how long we would be off the air.”

Se­ries cre­ator Matthew Weiner teased the new in­stall­ment in a re­cent in­ter­view with the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter.

“The year doesn’t re­ally mean any­thing,” Mr. Weiner said of the ’60s-set drama. “It doesn’t. I’m not do­ing a his­tory les­son. The thing that I’m ex­cited about is I wanted to give peo­ple a big help­ing. I wanted a two-hour pre­miere. It’s a ‘Mad Men’ movie — I don’t think any­one’s go­ing to think it’s two episodes spliced to­gether. There is a story that starts in the mid­dle of it [but oth­er­wise] it’s one story. The be­gin­ning and the end­ing are re­lated to each other.”

The pre­miere, writ­ten by Mr. Weiner and di­rected by Jen­nifer Get­zinger, will kick off at 9 p.m. March 25. The fol­low­ing week’s episode, re­turn­ing to its reg­u­lar 10 p.m. time slot, marks Mr. Hamm’s di­rec­to­rial de­but.

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