DVD and Bluray Releases

For discussion of the upcoming films based on The Hobbit and related material, as well as previous films based on Tolkien's work
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of Vinyamar
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DVD and Bluray Releases

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Great post by TheHutt over on TORN: http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/g ... ost=558095;

There is a lot of speculation these days about Theatrical, Extended and whatever issues. What scenes go in, and so forth. However, I'd rather like to see this in a different light - at release level. What are the probable home video releases for TH, what are they likely to include and how can the scheme familiar from LOTR be adapted to accommodate for new development on the home video market.

So what has changed in terms of home video releases compared with 2001-2004? Well, there are more formats around. Apart from DVD which was state of the art back then, there is BluRay; and then, there is also 3D BluRay which also has to be taken into consideration. How does it fit with the TE/SEE release scheme familiar from the LotR days? We'll see. However, I'd like to speculate a little on that matter.

On Design:
There will be a Theatrical release with pre-produced bonus materials and trailers; and a SEE release with exclusively produced new bonus materials (LOTR SEE producer Michael Pellerin is already credited on TH:AUJ for bonus features). As for the packaging of the SEE, now that's a big one. While it's easy to retain the LOTR SEE look with the DVD, it's obvious that the BluRay is the definite medium to own it on. And then there are some issues:
- The BluRay LOTR SEE trilogy box looks nothing like the LOTR DVD SEE digipaks.
- Also, if decision is made to make TH BluRay SEE a LOTR-like digipak, there is still difference in height between the DVD and BluRay.

There are solutions possible though. For instance, to make both the DVD SEE and the BluRay SEE box of the same height and width as the LOTR SEE DVD digipaks, so that they fit with LOTR DVDs. The design of LOTR SEE BluRay trilogy box can be discarded: it only works as a trilogy boxset. Maybe it will be reused when The Hobbit will be a SEE trilogy of its own...

On 3D.
Another matter is 3D BluRay. While it's probable that the theatrical version will probably be split in 2 releases (2D-only and 3D-only, or: 2D-only and 3D+2D bundle - which I consider more likely), question is, how this will work out for the SEE. Here, there are also some scenarios possible.
- SEE includes both the 2D version (split on 2 discs) and the 3D version (split on 2 discs) + bonus (2 more discs)
or
- the 3D version of the SEE is only included in the Giftset edition (as it is already expensive enough, the surplus won't weigh that much anyway and also offer some additional benefit. This I consider a more likely option).
What I don't believe in is a 3D-only release of the SEE. The SEE is already a niche product, and 3D as well.

On the gift set.
There are really two alternatives for this: either one big gift set including all the DVDs and BluRays of the film, or two separate gift sets: one for DVD and one for BluRay. As experience with Warner showed, they don't have a problem releasing exclusive editions for two mediums simultaneously (eg the "Harry Potter" Ultimate Editions). Thence I say: there will be two.


On Release Dates:
They will stay similar to LOTR. The theatrical version of ROTK came out as early as May so TH will possibly even undercut it (the theatre-video timeframe has rather shrunk since 2004). Thence April.
The SEE will probably hit the shelves on November or December. December is more likely because there was a problem with November releases of FOTR and TTT: the subtitles for foreign releases wouldn't get finished in time.


So, this is what my exemplary and purely speculative release scheme for TH:AUJ would be.

Theatrical Version: ~April

- Theatrical version DVD (2 discs, with the already existing bonus material: PJ's video blogs, the 13 minute TV special, theatrical trailers, TV spots)
- Theatrical version BluRay 2D (2 discs, same bonus material but in HD)
- Theatrical version on BluRay 3D (2 or 3 discs (if theatrical version in 2D is also included) + bonus material in HD)

SEE: ~November/December
- SEE on DVD (4 DVDs, with newly produced in-depth bonus materials, audio commentaries and NO theatrical trailers)
- SEE on BluRay (4 BluRays in 2D, with newly produced in-depth bonus materials in HD, audio commentaries and NO theatrical trailers)
SEE Gift Set: same time
- SEE Giftset on DVD (like the normal SEE, but in bigger box with some WETA statue)
- SEE Giftset on BluRay (like the normal BluRay SEE, but this time with 2x 3D BluRay inclusive; also with some WETA statue)



Still open issues:
- On "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" this scheme would work. However, with "Desolation of Smaug" we would get suddenly a "There and Back Again" middle in the summer, disrupting the cycle.
That's another reason why I think a summer release of TABA is not that good an idea.
- HFR and 48 fps are likely to stay out of home video market for the next couple of years, I think
- While I think that all the bonus features of the SEE can be put on 1 bluray disc instead of 2, I still think WB will retain the thematical split between "From Book to Script" and "From Script To Film" as seen on the SEE Appendices DVDs.
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