Red Box: A Revival for Old Fashioned Movie Rental

Author: Shirley Wong

Editor’s update: In Feb 2015 (literally days after this post was published), Red Box closed its operations in Canada. Sad news all around.

Vancouver Barista review of Red Box
A picture of a Red Box machine in the U.S.

“In Los Angeles, it’s like they jog for two hours a day and then they think they’re morally right. That’s when you want to choke people, you know?”  

-Liam Neeson

I love Liam Neeson Thursdays. It all started on a recent trip to Boston, flipping channels in our hotel, when we came upon the movie Taken. For those that don’t know, it’s 2008 action thriller starring Neeson who plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative who hunts down his daughter after she’s kidnapped by human traffickers while travelling with a girlfriend in Paris.

I have always carried a huge fear of being kidnapped, which I earnestly explained to Mike is a very reasonable fear. He should know. When he was very young, he was playing by himself at Hastings Elementary in East Van (across the street from home). Suddenly, he recalls, a brown van slowly rolls up to him, and a man leans out the window, beckoning him to come closer so he can give him some candy.

Needless to say, little Mike wasn’t interested in this gentleman’s so-called candy and gleefully ran off, unharmed, still alive today, playing a significant role in my life: setting up my Liam movies in our DVD player. Thankfully he’s alive. We have six remote controls and if he dies, I am so screwed figuring out which controls what.

The first Taken was big success. So they had to make Taken 2 (another hit), where his wife is taken. After that, we were left musing who would be be taken in Taken 3 – his dog?  Anyway, I don’t feel  freaked out when I watch Taken movies since Neeson has a reassuring, don’t-worry-ladies-I’ve-got-this demeanor that makes me feel so safe.

You can find a lot of his movies on Red Box. If you aren’t using Red Box, you are missing out on a secret in-the-know deal. They have movie rental machines featuring new-release movies for dirt cheap (about $1.50 for DVD rental, or free with promo code on Thursdays only). Check online what movies are available (selection varies according to location), put it on hold if you want, and pickup at your supermarket.  It seems to be catching on in Vancouver. We’ve seen moms, singles our age and even seniors lining up, groceries in tow.

So our worst fear (besides mine, which is to be taken) is Red Box will lose money and go under. We will grieve if they go the way of Blockbuster (bankrupt in 2010) and Rogers Video (stopped DVD rental in 2012).

You can’t deny the nostalgia of going to a place to pickup a movie. When Mike an I were dating, I lived in a West End apartment. We’d stroll two blocks up to Blockbuster, check their selection, then cross the street a few steps to Rogers Video, and bring back a movie. Things were pretty simple, back then. Sign up for Red Box, and I can assure you it will make a good movie date night.


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4 thoughts on “Red Box: A Revival for Old Fashioned Movie Rental”

  1. Redbox has a permanent promo code “try me” you can use that code once per credit card. We must have gotten at least half a dozen free movies, we even use our USD$ CC. The only things is new releases show up on Netflix pretty much at the same time they are available at Redbox.

    1. Hi QT, You are clearly an intelligent person that quickly identifies deals. Wow please keep reading our site. We love hearing from people like you;) We still don’t miss Netflix because we never watched enough of it to justify the monthly fee – we prefer to spend our money on coffee and food! Thanks for following us on Twitter too:) Shirley and Mike

  2. I agree. I miss those days of going to Blockbusters and walking through isles of DVD covers and picking them up with pop corn . There was excitement picking them up. I’ll check out Redbox.

    1. Hi Marie! We are surprised more people don’t do it. I know there’s Shaw on Demand or Telus on Demand, which is convenient but it’s still more expensive. Once you sign up with Red Box, they email you the coupon code and frequently you will be able to get a free rental on Liam Neeson Thursdays only. BONUS! It’s hard finding something free nowadays, or under $2!

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