Trouble getting a physical copy of The Hobbit Extended Edition? You’re not alone.
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Marketed with a whisper, not a shout
And yet, marketing and distribution of the Extended Edition has almost felt like an after-thought. At best, to use some marketing speech, it’s what they call a “soft launch”.
Reports indicate that there are few (or none) point-of-sale displays or aisle graphics in stores.
TORn staffer Justin also notes that there has been zero promotion by retailers in Sunday ads, and no television adverts for the Extended Edition. Tellingly, there have been NO free give-aways and contests anywhere. TORn did post a 30-second German advertisement last month. Several readers wrote to ask whether we would see similar advertising in English. It seemed reasonable to assume there would be, but there’s been nothing — not even online to my knowledge.
In fact, promotion has mostly proceeded through the acquisition of editorial space via the release of clips: the “young Bilbo” sequence, the “Elrond overheard” clip, and the “foodfight at Rivendell”.
I also thought it strange that the promotion of the Extended Edition was relatively subdued at the Fan Event itself. When I first heard of the event, I noted the correlation with the release date for the Extended Edition. I assumed that Warner Bros. would use the opportunity to profile some of the Extended Edition’s features. Yet there was only a short clip (which was nice to see on the big screen, admittedly!), and a brief mention from Jackson — who himself didn’t seem entirely certain when it was debuting.
As TORn Staffer greendragon says, he’s pretty busy right now. He did mention that he’d been 36 hours without sleep recently. And he literally raced from the Embassy back to Park Road Post to continue work on the final edits for DOS. However, you’d think the studio would have made sure that release was forefront in people’s minds at the big fan event. After all, it’s something people can buy right now.
Was there a production delay in the Extended Edition discs?
TORn Staffer Justin adds the following:
I’ve worked in DVD/Blu-ray for a decade and know all the ins and outs. This is a big mess. Basically, what I think it came down to, is that the behind scenes production company (Trailer Park) missed the deadline, so manufacturing started late, and they couldn’t make enough copies in time. Warner Bros. had to call to all the stores saying “we won’t have many copies” then made a tough decision to send 90% of launch day stock to Walmart and Amazon — the two most hated competitors in retail industry.
Notice there are no websites with free copies to give away? Warner Bros. was almost certainly forced to re-edit Trailer #2 into a series of 30 second ads to fill TV time slots originally purchased to promote the Extended Edition. There are no “Now on DVD” commercials playing on TV for the Extended Edition. Problems producing the Extended Edition to deadline have instead forced a shift in strategy for theatrical marketing for The Desolation of Smaug. The #HobbitFanEvent was probably funded out of home video marketing budget but became a Desolation of Smaug event instead. We all know PJ loves the Appendices. The EE is PJ’s baby.
Now I’m sitting here on Wednesday night WITHOUT a copy to watch with fellow Ringers because, in the movie capital of the world, nobody has been able to obtain a copy.
Regardless of the source, the delays seem to have had a flow-on effect in other regions. In Australia, the EE release has been pushed back to November 20.
Echoes of the iTunes release issues
We encountered the same sort of problems with the “exclusive” iTunes release via the Apple website. This was slated to occur on October 22. But on the day, it was first available, and then it suddenly wasn’t. A mere handful of folks were able to download a copy, and then it disappeared off the Internet for around 36 hours.
And some of those who did grab the EE found their download was defective — lacking English subtitles for both film, and commentary tracks.
The response from fans who have their copy
The good news for everyone — Warner Bros, PJ and us, the people who are shelling out our hard-earned for the Extended Edition — is that the response from those who have managed to grab a complete copy is very enthusiastic.
LOVE the menu on the movie disc! The tour of Bag End, with voice narrations from the movie to coincide with the area of Bag End where the camera is taking you…my boys have watched that part 4 times already!
Warner Bros. must do better
Credit where it’s due: some of Warner Bros. marketing for The Hobbit has been brilliant. In particular, I still maintain that The Scroll (warning: large file!) was a work of genius. The multi-ended trailer for An Unexpected Journey was very clever marketing, too.
But the release of the Extended Edition for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been marked by delay, error and confusion. It’s not a good look for what is in-arguably the key collectible for the film.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we have reached out to Warner Bros. seeking clarification and comment on these issues. When we receive a response, we’ll be sure to provide an update immediately. Have you been able to acquire a copy of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Tell us about your experience — and what you think of the EE — in the comments below!Posted in Blu-Ray, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros. on November 8, 2013 by Demosthenes