Movie studios double dip on Blu-rays and DVDs so often that we've got an entire column dedicated to whether or not you should buy the same movie(s) twice. And no one milks the double dip quite like Warner Bros. and Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings proved that fans will buy the initial release and then buy the extended edition with a big ole smile on their face. And that's fine. Packaging a new, substantially longer cut of a movie as its own release is understandable, but at least make the initial release feel a little special.
I'm not so sure Warner Bros. are doing that with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray and DVD when it first hits stores on March 19. The studio has just released the final details for the first home video release of the film, and while it will be available in both 2D and 3D (but not 3D high frame rate), the special features may leave some fans wanting:
New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth
Start of Production
Shooting Block One
Filming in 3D
Locations Part 1
Locations Part 2
Stone St. Studios Tour
Wrap of Principal Photography
Wellington World Premiere
The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth
Guardians of Middle-earth
Lego the Lord of the Rings
At first glance it looks like there's a ton packed into this release, but really there's only one new feature here: "New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth," which kind of sounds like it could be a tourism ad. Everything else -- all of the video blogs and theatrical trailers -- are things, as good as they may be, you can go watch online right now for free.
So one can only assume that the inevitable The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Extended Edition will have more disc-exclusive content on it that's not just ads for more Hobbit products. Jackson confirmed last December that the movie is already cut together and it contains over 20 minutes of unseen footage, and we can't forget that Warner Bros. had dated the Blu-ray and DVD release of the film for the fourth quarter of 2013, before they said the announcement was an error. So, unless you were a die-hard Hobbit fan who wants to own every conceivable version of the film, you may want to wait until later this year to pick up An Unexpected Journey. There's no telling what special features will be on that release, but hopefully it's more than what you can watch online (for free) right now.
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