In honor of its 10th anniversary here in America, Redbox has unveiled a graphic listing its top 10 rentals of all time. It's a mixed bag that's heavy on Adam Sandler movies, but it's also dominated by recent films (the last three years or so) since Redbox really began thriving once the Blockbuster era crashed alongside the economy, offering folks the opportunity to rent movies for a dollar. Here's the graphic:
What I like about this list is how expected -- and unexpected -- it is. These were all popular films in theaters (some more than others), but there are no superheroes or true blockbusters to be found. Those movies making the really crazy money in theaters aren't here. What that probably says is the serious blockbusters are also the movies people are buying on DVD/Blu-ray and/or need to watch as soon as they hit shelves (almost all of those types of films are delayed at least 28 days via Redbox these days). So once you chuck your Twilight and Marvel movies aside, you're left with everything else -- and comedies are what appear to be the most popular genre when it comes to everything else.
With the exception of Salt, the other nine movies are comedies. Surprisingly there's only one animated movie (and it's of the more adult-friendly fare), but maybe that's just a sign parents aren't using Redbox as much as, say, Netflix or their own cable VOD (probably the tool used most for families with young kids). In fact, when I look at this list of movies, I see one specific type of movie: the date movie.
Maybe not your ideal date movie, but for a great majority of younger and older suburban couples, these are the movies they're watching together. They're safe bets. Most of them feature a People magazine regular (Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz), or a relatable Joe (Kevin James, Adam Sandler), and they're all easily accessible. They're all movies you read about or heard someone talking about, and they're all movies both men and women would agree on while they're standing in their sweatpants on a Friday night outside the Redbox kiosk.
So what does this say about us, and what does it say about film culture in general? It says we stick with what's comfortable. We watch what we know or heard our friends talking about, and that when we use Redbox it's usually to get a movie to screen with our significant others and not our frat brothers. Something that makes sense to us. Something that's familiar, soothing, and -- above all else -- makes us smile.
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