Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flashback: The Movie Machine - Redbox of the 1980’s?



From slashfilm, A couple weeks ago, I was walking around a yard sale in Hollywood when I stumbled across a bookshelf full of folders — press releases and press kits for movies from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. As it turns out, the yard sale was being held be the family of a former Hollywood foreign press member (one of the critics who voted on the Golden Globes). I ended up coming across an awesome piece of history that I never knew existed.

In 1986, Diebold and Group 1 Entertainment announced the release of The Movie Machine, a vending machine where you could rent or buy movies on VHS. I’m not sure what happened to The Movie Machine, but the idea was definitely ahead of its time — Redbox has become the fifth largest DVD rental service in the the United States, by installing an estimated 22,000 kiosks in fast food restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores, and convenience stores around the country.

The Movie Machine press release even suggested that the kiosks could be installed in grocery stores, convenience stores and shopping malls, and that the first 1,000 of 2,000 machines ordered, would be functional by the end of May 1987 (although I don’t remember ever seeing one of these machines as a child). You might recognize Diebold as the company which installed many of the country’s ATM machines and most recently made headlines with controversy over the new voting machines.

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