“Avatar” is coming to 3D Blu-ray on Dec. 1, according to a well-placed source, but as we previously reported here at 3DHollywood.net, it will only be available with the purchase of Panasonic 3D TVs and Blu-ray players.
Likewise, Sony is said to have made an agreement with Disney to be the exclusive provider of the 3D Blu-ray of “Alice in Wonderland” with the purchase of Sony 3D products.
(Update Sept 1: Sony confirmed this news in its announcements from the IFA conference in Berlin, as well as the bundling of Michael Jackson’s “This is It” on 3D Blu-ray for the first time.)
So, you just bought a Samsung or Sony 3D TV and you want to see what “Avatar” looks like? You’re out of luck unless you buy another 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player from Panasonic or wait many months until it is eventually released to traditional retailers.
Now that “Avatar,” already the top-grossing movie of all-time, has collected another $4 million from a special edition in U.S. theaters last weekend, Fox is expected to soon officially announce details of a previously mentioned Blu-ray special edition of “Avatar” coming in November. The April 22 Blu-ray release with no bonus features and nothing but the movie quickly became the all-time top-selling Blu-ray title. Director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau will discuss the special edition at the annual Blu-Con conference on Nov. 2.
What will not be announced soon, and will likely not be discussed much, if at all, by Cameron and Landau, is the 3D Blu-ray edition.
That’s because Fox gave Panasonic an exclusive license to include the 3D Blu-ray of “Avatar” with sales of its 3D products, just as Samsung has had DreamWorks’ 3D Blu-ray versions of “Monster vs. Aliens” locked up so that is has only been available all year with the purchase of Samsung 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players, and will do the same this fall with DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon” and all four “Shrek” movies, including the first-ever 3D versions of the first three movies in that series.
The “Avatar” exclusive bundle deal is said to be unusually long, which means it will be quite some time before the biggest movie of all time and the movie that revolutionized and mainstreamed 3D will be available on 3D Blu-ray without the purchase of a Panasonic 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player. Panasonic was working closely with filmmaker James Cameron on “Avatar” for years before the movie was released and is believed to have negotiated a very favorable deal for its support of the production financially and with equipment and marketing.
While Sony’s home entertainment unit has released its own 3D movies on 3D Blu-ray in the traditional 3D fashion, such as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the Sept. 14 3D Blu-ray release of “Monster House,” Sony’s electronics division has landed an exclusive distribution deal with Disney, according to the source, to prevent consumers from getting their hands on the 3D Blu-ray version of “Alice in Wonderland” without purchasing a Sony 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player to go with it.
Although Disney has had as many or more 3D movies in theaters than other studios the past several years, the first and only 3D Blu-ray title coming from the studio is “A Christmas Carol” on Nov. 16. The studio has yet to officially announce details about that title although much of the specifics can be found on Amazon.com.
Update Sept. 2: Various websites reported more than a day after this story was posted that Panasonic confirmed this report, specifying that the “Avatar” 3D Blu-ray would be exclusively available with the purchase of a Panasonic 3D Viera plasma TVs including the TC-PVT20/25 series and the TC-PGT25 series.
Current owners of Panasonic 3D TVs will have access to the offer but details and pricing are not available.
— By Scott Hettrick