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Repost: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ home use lowdown: dates, covers, exclusives

March 19, 2013 at 11:11 am by MrCere  - 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a re-post that we thought might be helpful to consumers today, the street date of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” for home use. We also have a series of excellent interviews about the film and Blu-ray further down our page. Don’t miss them!

Consumers will have a lot of choices when it comes to which version of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” they decide to have at home. There will definitely be an extended edition in time for the holidays confirmed by a press release from Warner Bros., but the choices are greater than just to get the theatrical version or the extended version.

Those in the U.S. can buy the film March 19, but with a variety of versions, all of which we will detail here. Besides the several formats it will be available in, there are exclusive editions at Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. But have no fear busy potential consumer, we will make everything clear below, detailing all the versions, the available covers and the in-store exclusives. Interestingly, many theaters are still showing the film which crossed the $1 billion earnings mark over the weekend.

When the “Lord of the Rings,” films were hitting the home video market, many users were also making the late jump from VHS to DVD and those films, for many, were the incentive needed to jump to a new format. This is true now with DVD and Blu-ray although there seems to be much less push from the industry to make that happen, perhaps because of the growing all digital download market. Amazon has versions of all these films and we have the choices below linked if you wish to pre-order there. Doing so earns us a commission so support your friendly not-for-profit website if you are going to buy online. Prices range all over the place, but Amazon seems to be very competitive.  Below are all the versions available supplied to us by the studio along with the official box art. Way down we provide the non-U.S. release dates as well as a link to a useful message board page with further information. Unfortunately for some, “Return of the King,” was the last Middle-earth movie to be released on VHS!

2-disc DVD edition of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

2-disc DVD edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Still watching films old school style? Then the 2-disc special edition DVD is probably for you. It comes with both a DVD of the film and an Ultraviolet copy, which is useful for using the computer on laptops or down the road when it seems likely we will never deal with discs at all. The official information is as follows:

2-Disc Special Edition DVD

o DVD copy of the film

o Ultraviolet copy of the film

o Bonus content includes 10 production videos

 

 

 

 

 

 

2-disc Blu-ray edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

2-disc Blu-ray edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

For those who enjoy the superior picture of Blu-ray, and have invested in a player, the combo pack for that format might be the way to go. But, those who will eventually watch Blu-rays, this version also comes with a DVD copy of the film. Personally, I wouldn’t touch the old format, even for the nostalgia of having all the Middle-earth movies lined up together in one packaging line, but including the DVD here makes it a non-choice. WB’s Blu-ray releases are region free, meaning they will play world-wide and aren’t specially coded for regional players. Eventually we will download and watch all movies and rarely bother with discs but for now this is the best format available and I still like to hold a product and packaging in my hands.

Blu-ray™ Combo Pack

o Blu-ray copy of the film

o DVD copy of the film

o Ultraviolet copy of the film

o Bonus content includes 10 production videos

 

 

 

3D Blu-ray combo pack of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

3D Blu-ray combo pack of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

If you are really forward thinking or an early adopter of technology the 3D version of the film will also be available now on Blu-ray as well. You need a 3D television to actually use this version but what do you know, it also comes with a regular Blu-ray copy, a DVD copy and an Ultraviolet copy while the bonus material is the same. This is the one Peter Jackson wants you to buy, or at least watch, to see his personal version of the film. 3D TVs will be more and more affordable and more common. For me the best thing about this version is the fantastic lenticular Gandalf cover. Fortunately there aren’t individual lenticular editions with Thorin, Bilbo, Bombur and the rest of the company on them.
3D Blu-ray™ Combo Pack

o 3D Blu-ray copy of the film

o Blu-ray copy of the film

o DVD copy of the film

o Ultraviolet copy of the film

o Bonus content includes 10 production videos

 

But the choices are not over. Three big box retailers also have ways to tempt you to buy from their outlet and each definitely has its appeal. Collectors, start giving plasma now because some will want all three. Each version is for the Blu-ray combo pack, which means if you are buying the 3D Blu-ray combo pack, where you buy can be determined solely by price.

The Best Buy exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Best Buy exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Best Buy’s exclusive comes with a documentary titled: “A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins,” and a flip lenticular with Bilbo and Gollum.  No word on who produced this documentary but I have a completely unconfirmed, baseless guess (that I believe to be true) that it comes from the same folks who produced the video blogs, which means they will be excellent. Please don’t base any purchase on my hunches, and you may not blame me or anybody else if that is wrong. TheOneRing will post a review of that content when available. The Best Buy cover is also interesting.

Best Buy – Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with Exclusive Documentary A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins and Flip Lenticular

o   Blu-ray copy of the film

o   DVD copy of the film

o   Ultraviolet copy of the film

o   Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as exclusive bonus documentary A Hobbit’s Tale Part 1: The Journey Begins

o   Includes exclusive Bilbo/Gollum flip lenticular packaging

 

HBBT_TargetTarget’s exclusive is LEGO-centric and while I am not a “LEGO guy” and didn’t play with them as a child, these sets have won me over completely and the included Bilbo Baggins minifigure is pretty sweet booty. Those figure characters are absurdly cute but it also contains the exclusive featureete: “LEGO The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Target probably hopes to sell Hobbit LEGO sets as well as the Blu-ray and for some this will be another no-hesitation choice. It also features unique art that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Target – Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with Exclusive LEGO® Bilbo Minifigure and behind-the-scenes LEGO Featurette

o   Blu-ray copy of the film

o   DVD copy of the film

o   Ultraviolet copy of the film

o   Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as exclusive bonus behind-the-scenes featurette LEGO THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey

o   Includes exclusive LEGO Bilbo Baggins Minifigure

The Wal-Mart exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Wal-Mart exclusive version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Finally, Wal-Mart weighs in with a third tempting exclusive edition that contains four bonus featurettes (titles below) and a 64-page book, “The World of Hobbits.” Unlike a LEGO figure, it is impossible to know the quality of the book and extra extras until seeing them but just a stab in the dark (a dark, underground cave) but they are probably quite good and may (MAY!) be from the behind-the-scenes team. Wal-Mart is offering a real incentive for those hungry for more information about this film. Fans of Thorin Oakenshield will appreciate him on the cover and again, like the Target edition, the art here is unique as far as I know. From the art provided it looks as if the book is the size of the Blu-ray packaging.

Wal-Mart – Blu-ray™ Book Combo Pack with 64-Page The World of Hobbits Book and Exclusive Digital Featurettes

o   Blu-ray copy of the film

o   DVD copy of the film

o   Ultraviolet copy of the film

o   Bonus content includes 10 production videos, as well as 4 exclusive bonus featurettes entitled The Journey Back to Middle-earth, Bilbo and The Riddle Game, Gandalf and the White Council, and Thorin and the “Song of the Lonely Mountain” accessible digitally through Vudu

o   Includes 64-page The World of Hobbits book within the Blu-ray packaging

The WBshop.com exclusive comes with a panoramic poster that features combat ready dwarves. Pretty cool! Canadians can get it in French with the same cover as Best Buy, except, you know, in French.

Thanks to message board user TheHutt, we also have a fair bit of information about foreign editions of The Hobbit.  I was going to copy it all here, but he has done such a good job presenting it all, that I suggest you simply click here.  Again, collectors, beware, because there are some pretty cool versions listed, like the UK’s Amazon-exclusive Steelbook edition with a lenticular Bilbo / Gollum. Yes, I want it and it would be precious to me.

Some foreign dates are as follows:

UK – April 8

Germany – April 19

Russia – April 11

France – April 19

Italy – April 9

Czech Republic – April 19

The 1977 animated version of The Hobbit by Rankin and Bass.

The 1977 animated version of The Hobbit by Rankin and Bass.

And hey, you can always get the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated version as well with John Huston!

All these choices certainly are nice for the consumer unless there are completests out there who feel like they need to own them all. (But I confess to wanting some of the non-U.S. versions too!)  Also, some will accuse the studio of “double dipping”  by having a theatrical edition and later, an extended edition with extra content. We disagree with that notion because Warner Bros. has been upfront about the eventual release of both. A true double dip, and the feeling of being ripped off, doesn’t stem from having more than one choice but from a consumer thinking she has purchased the definitive version only to find out later there is another even more definitive version. (Yes Star Wars, we are looking at you but you have plenty of company.)  In this case, we have plenty of advance knowledge of our choices. Further, there will be very likely be a rich supply of quality extras on the extended editions from Pellerin Media, the group that defined what DVD extras should be with the LOTR EEs. That extra content, hopefully wide and deep, will add value to that later release.  Does the studio want to maximize its earnings? Of course, but they are being transparent with consumers. Those wishing only to buy one version will have Netflix or Redbox or neighbors or friends to watch it with in the meantime.

Finally, some will question using the video blogs from Peter Jackson’s Facebook page as extra materials. TheOneRing doesn’t have an official position about it, but as I said and wrote to anybody who would listen as they were released, they are better quality features than most DVD extras anyway. And, chasing them down on Facebook or YouTube is a lot less satisfying for me than watching them in my man cave will be. And, I just think they are that good. I look forward to having them presented on a disc in an organized fashion where I can, if I want, watch them consecutively and really get a good feeling for the shooting of the film.

Posted in Blu-Ray, Books Publications, Collectibles, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, LEGO, LEGO, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Peter Jackson, Richard Armitage, Studios, The Hobbit, Toys on March 19, 2013 by