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

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 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

Lego LOTR nominated for Pocket Gamer Award

Frodo LEGO Teaser Via Ringer LegoLotR: The Pocket Gamer Awards celebrate the very best mobile and handheld games. For the 2013 edition, Lego Lord of the Rings has snared a nomination for Best Adventure/RPG Game of 2012. If you’d like to add your support, voting is open to all until 12PM (midday) GMT on March 18.

[Read More]

Posted in Events, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Video games

Collecting The Precious – Toy Fair 2013 Lego: The Lord of the Rings

Generic Lego LogoToy Fair 2013 also brings us goodies from Lego for fans of Middle-earth. As you all know, Lego has been creating some great sets based on events that happened during The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movies. During Toy Fair we got to see more from The Lord of the Rings, covering The Council of Elrond, The Corsair Ship sequence, Gandalf the Grey vs Saruman, and The Black Gates. The Wizard Battle will be a 113 piece set with a price tag of $13, The Black Gates set is a 656 piece set with a $60 price tag, Council of Elrond a 243 piece set costing $30, and The Corsair Ship set, which has 756 pieces, costs $100. All four of these sets are due to arrive in June of this year. They also had a card at the show mentioning that sets for The Desolation of Smaug will be arriving in December of 2013.

You can check out a ton of pictures from Figures.Com in their The Lord of the Rings gallery.

You can also check out videos from the booth via FBTB.Com from their The Lord of the Rings video page.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Events, Hobbit Movie, LEGO, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, Toys

Major Spoilers Revealed in new LEGO® Hobbit Sets!

LEGO® Fans worldwide are being treated to a series of early images of the upcoming ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ LEGO® Playsets. (We are deliberately not including imagery on this post because we are pretty sure they will be asked to remove in hours!) There are a variety of sources for images, but the best come from LEGO Toy Story News’s Flickr Stream. Be warned, one set in particular reveals a previously unannounced ‘change’ to the story. We will describe the sets and a brief attempt to decipher each, but we’d love to hear your own conclusions and theories in our comments. There is also a video available of a very excited LEGO fan quickly going over all of the sets. A small heads up for the video – if you are looking for a clear description and accounting of each set – this isn’t for you. He does seem very excited about mushrooms though! [Flickr Stream] [Video]- MAJOR SPOILERS! (Thanks to Mr. Spielbrick for the heads up!)


Posted in Casting Rumors, Collectibles, Director Rumors, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, LEGO, Locations Sets, Merchandise, Rumors Spy News, The Hobbit

LEGO desktop game adds to new Hobbit items

Our friends at LEGO have all those nifty LOTR brick sets you can construct and video games are in our future but now word comes of a Hobbit game you play on your tabletop. Below is the information direct from LEGO and a way to play along on Facebook. Look for the game at retail outlets starting today.

“From the LEGO Games collection that can be built, played, and changed to create a unique gaming experience every time comes The Hobbit Game from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey move hitting theaters Dec. 14th. Bilbo Baggins lives in the quaint village of Hobbiton, but today his comfort has been shattered by the arrival of 13 Dwarves. They have convinced Bilbo to embark on a most unexpected journey. But first Gandalf, along with the Dwarves Dwalin, Kili and Fili, must find the other ten Dwarves who are lost in the Hobbit holes of Hobbiton. Features buildable dice, microfigure characters: Gandald, Dwalin, Kili or Fili, and LEGO building instructions. (more…)

Posted in Hobbit Movie, LEGO, LEGO, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Toys

Blake Baer’s amazing Lego Rivendell diorama

We profiled LoTR lego builder Blake Baer here on a few months back.

Blake conceptualises and builds his own custom LOTR-lego diaromas from scratch. He’s created a few really cool sets previously, including ones of Amon Hen and Laketown. But I reckon this one of Rivendell may just be his coolest yet. You can see more images in his Flickr photostream, or just watch the very cool video below.

Posted in Creations, Fans, LEGO

Collecting The Precious: Are You a Super Collector?

I love Middle-earth. I also love collecting items representing that world. As you’ve probably noticed through the reviews here, I’ve got more than a few items in my collection. It helps bring the magic Tolkien created and Jackson adapted home along with smiles every time I look at my items.

Now, TORn, as part of our super-secret project, wants to showcase you and your collection!

Starting today, through to next Wednesday, we here at TORn will be collecting submissions in search of Ringer Super Collectors at large. What we need are three to four good pictures of you and your collection, along with a brief write-up about why you are a super collector (write-ups must be 500 words or less).

Email your pictures and write-up to We’ll start going through the submissions and you never know — you just might see you and your collection posted soon!

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Jewelry, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Sideshow Collectibles, The Hobbit, Toys, Toys, Weta Collectibles

New ‘LEGO LOTR’ game trailer certified adorable

Sneaking on the internet Monday night is a new look at the “LEGO Lord of the Rings” game in the form of a trailer. Focusing on the peril of the One Ring and introducing “The Fellowship” it doesn’t give a clue about gameplay but it has been certified adorable by a committee of astrophysicists and board certified physicians or plumbers or something. Using dialog from the films, it throws in a few sight gags and a great big — well see for yourself below. We will post a better version when one becomes available. The release date says “2012” on the trailer but October 1 has been confirmed.

Posted in LEGO, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Video games

Product review: LOTR LEGO ‘Gandalf Arrives’ set

At the end of the second week in September a cart came in through Bywater from the direction of Brandywine Bridge in broad daylight.  An old man was driving it all alone.  He wore a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, and a silver scarf. He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat. Small hobbit-children ran after the cart all through Hobbiton and right up the hill.  It had a cargo of fireworks, as they rightly guessed. — From A Long-Expected Party, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


In Peter Jackson’s LOTR film, the first moment of Gandalf arriving in Hobbiton and finding Frodo waiting on the trail were critical because it established two essential characters and the setting of Hobbiton. It also introduced audiences to the scale of Hobbits with human-sized characters including forced perspective of Frodo riding in Gandalf’s cart.

The meeting serves as the entry point for Lord of the Rings LEGO as well with set 9469 introducing important characters in an easy-to-build kit that is also easy to afford at $12.99 retail in the U.S. It will likely find itself as birthday present to and from friends many times over. Because it is recommended for ages eight to 14, I enlisted Logan (8) and Dresden (10), to assist with the build of the kit. (more…)

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, LEGO, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Other Merchandise, Toys

Lego LoTR collector’s edition ships with Elrond?

Ringer Combee alerts us that it appears that the pre-order bonus for the Lego Lord of the Rings game is an Elrond mini-figure from the battle of Dagorlad. French site Lord of The Brick has more details.

Update: We also now have this translation courtesy of Ringer Elpidha.

And it is that releases information about the Special Edition version of the videogame LEGO Lord of the Rings now in preorder (release date: October 2012). We discover that the minifig of Elrond will be included as a bonus with the collector’s edition of the game, and it is indeed the same minifig that was seen in the minigame available on the line’s official site (see that article).

The minifig is a success, no doubt about it. It remains to be seen if it will also be available in a future set or if it will be necessary to go to Bricklink or eBay to buy it separately.

[Original French]

Posted in Collectibles, Gaming, LEGO, Merchandise

Lego flash game: The Siege of Helm’s Deep

Ringer Quackingtroll alerts us to a Lego Lord of the Rings playable online flash-based game over on the Lego LoTR website.

It’s called The Siege of Helm’s Deep. Personally, I found it a bit confusing, but go try your hand!

If nothing else, the lead-up cut-scenes look really, really cool.


Posted in Collectibles, Gaming, LEGO, Merchandise

The bold ‘Hobbit’ trilogy decision and what to expect

We all listened to and read Peter Jackson’s words from Comic-Con about three possible “Hobbit,” movies carefully. But we didn’t listen to all the words and we missed a few things.

He told us. He told us — he did.

He said exactly what he meant, he said it plainly and the media and fans (and me) tried to figure out what he meant when he told us in plainness. Monday, Jackson dropped an atomic bomb of news and fandom reacted accordingly.

“The Hobbit,” adapted for the screen from the 300-page, 75-year-old book by J.R.R. Tolkien changed from from two movies to three in the blink of a Facebook post.

More on the words we ignored in a minute. We need to figure out when these films break, what it means for fans and websites and studios and cinema and the director, but lets not rush past the size and scope of this news. Lets not walk around Paris admiring all the cafes and churches without also pausing and noticing the big tower in the center of town.

We witnessed, the last few weeks since Comic-Con, something monumental, unprecedented, unparalleled and a little bit crazy. Jackson (and when we say “Jackson” we always mean the director and Walsh, Boyens and a team of others supporting their vision) is in unchartered territory here. (more…)

Posted in Blu-Ray, Books Publications, Cast Q&A, Character Q&A, Collectibles, Director news, Director Q&A, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, J.R.R. Tolkien, LEGO, Location Q&A, Merchandise, MGM, MrCere in New Zealand, New Line Cinema, Other Merchandise, Peter Jackson, Rumors Spy News, Sideshow Collectibles, Studios, The Hobbit, Toys, Warner Bros., Weta Collectibles, WETA Digital, WETA Workshop