Saturday, September 14, 2013


So one of the disadvantages of living in Australia is that you have to wait longer for certain movies to come out. I'm not sure when the following movies actually opened here, but they're still playing at the local arthouse theater: Mud, Before Midnight, Beyond the Hills, Upstream Colour (they add the U here) and The Great Gatsby. All of these came out in May or earlier in the U.S.

One of the advantages, however, is that other films come out earlier. Take the Four Weddings and a Funeral ripoff -- frankly, the ripoff of any number of romantic comedies -- called I Give it a Year. I notice it only had its limited theatrical release in the U.S. about a month ago.

Here? I was able to rent it a Greenbox kiosk earlier this week.

Of course, they don't call the Hoyts kiosks "Greenbox" -- not that I know of, anyway, though I haven't discussed it with any Aussies -- but in all other respects these kiosks seem to be following the Redbox model.

A few slight differences:

1) It costs $3.50 to rent a movie for one night, rather than the $1.20 (before taxes) it was costing at Redbox before I left. That price is consistent with the SAM (Standard Australian Markup).

2) You can buy previously viewed copies of movies. Don't think Redbox wastes any of its limited real estate per kiosk on that. Costs are prohibitively high, though, something like $12.99.

3) The extra real estate devoted to previously viewed copies for purchase means there are no random back titles. I don't know how often people rent the Redbox random back titles, but they must do decent business or else Redbox wouldn't bother stocking them.

Even with the increased cost per rental, it's still a savings of something like $1.50 from the standard rental price of a new release at a video store (such as Video Ezy in nearby Flemington, of which I have recently become a member). So I'd be all over these Hoyts kiosks, except ...

... there isn't really one near me. The one from which I rented I Give it a Year is a 35-minute walk, and I'm only making that walk because my son is still in his last days at his old preschool before he moves to the new one around the corner from us. My last day walking him there is Monday. Only last Monday night even made sense as a day to sample the Hoyts kiosk, because I knew I was going to be walking my son back to the area the next day. He's been going to that preschool on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays.

However, I wouldn't count me out of the Hoyts game. Was it Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park who said "Life finds a way"? You can paraphrase that quote and apply it to me:

"Movies find a way."

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