Scott Hettrick is again reporting that AVATAR in 3D on Blu-ray will be released December 1, exclusively available with purchase of a Panasonic 3D TV and Blu-ray player (as reported earlier back in May - see further below). Likewise, Sony will release Alice in Wonderland in 3D on Blu-ray exclusively with the purchase of Sony 3D hardware.
Here is his latest update (Sept 1)...
AVATAR is coming to 3D Blu-ray on Dec. 1, according to a well-placed source, but as we previously reported here at 3DHollywood.net, it will only be available with the purchase of Panasonic 3D TVs and Blu-ray players.
Likewise, Sony is said to have made an agreement with Disney to be the exclusive provider of the 3D Blu-ray of ALICE IN WONDERLAND with the purchase of Sony 3D products.
So, you just bought a Samsung or Sony 3D TV and you want to see what "Avatar" looks like? You're out of luck unless you buy another 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player from Panasonic or wait many months until it is eventually released to traditional retailers.
Now that "Avatar," already the top-grossing movie of all-time, has collected another $4 million from a special edition in U.S. theaters last weekend, Fox is expected to soon officially announce the Blu-ray Special Edition of AVATAR for release in November.
The April 22 AVATAR Blu-ray release with no bonus features and nothing but the movie quickly became the all-time top-selling Blu-ray title. Director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau will discuss the special edition at the annual Blu-Con conference on Nov. 2.
What will not be announced soon, and will likely not be discussed much, if at all, by Cameron and Landau, is the 3D Blu-ray edition.
That's because Fox gave Panasonic an exclusive license to include the 3D Blu-ray of "Avatar" with sales of its 3D products, just as Samsung has had DreamWorks' 3D Blu-ray versions of "Monster vs. Aliens" locked up so that is has only been available all year with the purchase of Samsung 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players, and will do the same this fall with DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon" and all four "Shrek" movies, including the first-ever 3D versions of the first three movies in that series.
The "Avatar" exclusive bundle deal is said to be unusually long, which means it will be quite some time before the biggest movie of all time and the movie that revolutionized and mainstreamed 3D will be available on 3D Blu-ray without the purchase of a Panasonic 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player.
Panasonic was working closely with filmmaker James Cameron on "Avatar" for years before the movie was released and is believed to have negotiated a very favorable deal for its support of the production financially and with equipment and marketing.
While Sony's home entertainment unit has released its own 3D movies on 3D Blu-ray in the traditional 3D fashion, such as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and the Sept. 14 3D Blu-ray release of "Monster House," Sony's electronics division has landed an exclusive distribution deal with Disney, according to the source, to prevent consumers from getting their hands on the 3D Blu-ray version of "Alice in Wonderland" without purchasing a Sony 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player to go with it.
Although Disney has had as many or more 3D movies in theaters than other studios the past several years, the first and only 3D Blu-ray title coming from the studio is "A Christmas Carol" on Nov. 16 (see details in earlier report below).
> Panasonic Outlines 3D Efforts at U.S. Open » (Sept 1, 2010) The company will support its 3D effort this fall with a $100 million consumer ad budget focusing on the top 15 U.S. markets. The TV part of the campaign will begin on the CBS U.S. Open telecasts this week, and will also involved online and print advertising, he noted.
(original report from May 26, 2010 below)
Scott Hettrick of 3DHollywood.net reported the following news on May 21...
AVATAR 3D Blu-ray from Panasonic
"Avatar" will be coming to Blu-ray in 3D this November after all, but it won't be available for purchase or rental in stores or online alongside the previously announced Fox Ultimate Edition 2D version.
The top-grossing movie in the history of cinema, in large part because of the groundbreaking use of 3D, will only be offered in 3D on Blu-ray for the first several months with the purchase of Panasonic 3D Blu-ray equipment, multiple sources have told 3DHollywood.net.
3DHollywood.net has also learned that Disney is close to finalizing a deal with Sony Electronics to release "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D on Blu-ray this fall exclusively with the purchase of Sony 3D hardware.
None of the sources, some very close to the filmmakers and others close to the companies involved in the release strategy, would officially confirm the news or talk on the record. Fox, Disney, Panasonic, and Sony Electronics either did not return calls or had no comment about this story.
The number and caliber of major titles being bundled for exclusive release with hardware products is highly unusual, if not unprecedented in home video, particularly with almost no titles being released for general consumption at retail. And studios are being paid ever-increasing fees — in the millions of dollars for each title — by hungry electronics companies that have put themselves into bidding wars.
Even though many major electronics companies except Sony have had 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players on the market for some months, until this week only one 3D Blu-ray title was available to consumers, and that movie — DreamWorks' "Monsters vs. Aliens" — was also only available with the purchase of Samsung 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players. That Samsung window expired Sunday with no word of a general retail release upcoming for "Monsters."
This week Fox and Panasonic, as well as Universal, announced the immediate availability of the first 3D Blu-ray versions of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Coraline" only with the purchase of a Panasonic Blu-ray player. There are no announced plans for either of those titles to be available to traditional retail in 2010.
Sony's previously announced that "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" will be the first 3D Blu-ray title to be released through traditional retail channels — it's expected in late June or early July. But even that title's distribution will be focused on bundled sales with Sony 3D HDTVs which are due to hit the market early next month in time for the 3D TV broadcasts of the World Cup soccer matches, sponsored by Sony.
"Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is bringing the first retail Blu-ray 3D sku to market early this summer with 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,' " said Lexine Wong, senior executive VP worldwide marketing. "While the title will be primarily bundled with Sony 3D HDTVs, we feel it is also necessary to offer a standalone retail 3D version of "Cloudy" for our retailers and consumers who are excited about acquiring more 3D content for their 3D TVs."
SPHE is also releasing a 3D Blu-ray of World Cup highlights later this year, and will likely release 3D titles such as "Monster House" and and "Open Season" on 3D Blu-ray, though it's not known if they will be available at retail.
Disney announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that it would release "Disney's A Christmas Carol" "broadly" on 3D Blu-ray in the fourth quarter. That is expected to mean a general retail release — now set for November 16 — since it is the only title of all the others not to have already been released on Blu-ray Disc in 2D. In fact, the only way to get the 3D version will be to buy all other versions – 2D Blu-ray and DVD discs and a digital copy for computers and other devices — in a four-disc combo pack priced at $49.99 ($10 more than the single-disc 2D Blu-ray version). The 3D disc will also include a special 3D bonus feature called "Scrooge's Wild Ride," according to HDroom.com.
Other Disney 3D movies such as "Bolt" are being considered for 3D Blu-ray in the not-too-distant future.
Disney is also finalizing a special 3D Showcase Blu-ray disc that may be packaged with hardware from multiple manufacturers. The Showcase disc will include a sampler of trailers and shorts such as an original 3D short featuring Lion King characters Timon and Pumbaa produced expressly for this Showcase disc. It will also include the 1953 3D Disney animated short "Working for Peanuts" and promotional trailers of upcoming 3D Blu-ray releases such as "Alice" and "Christmas Carol" as well as "Toy Story 3 and "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
Consumer electronics companies, particularly Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic, are said to be escalating rights fees they are willing to pay for major movies to help sell new 3D products. Of course, that's just fine with studios since the fees are more than they figure to generate from a traditional retail release when the current market for home 3D is nearly non-existent at this moment and not expected to grow substantially this year.
And most seem to feel that all the bundling at this point is a good thing for the nascent industry if such enticements seed the market with homes that become equipped to watch 3D.
Ironically, the only people who may be negatively affected could be the very people who respond to these offers. For instance, a consumer who bought Samsung's 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray player would theoretically be forced to go out and buy another 3D TV and Blu-ray machine every time he wants to watch another 3D Blu-ray movie like "Avatar" or "Ice Age 3." But consumer electronics companies are expected to work out a way for consumers who have already purchased 3D equipment to get access to further releases, at least from the same company.
Also, it's not clear whether the 3D Blu-ray version of "Avatar" will include all the bonus features available on the special 2D "Ultimate Edition" being released simultaneously, which would give consumers yet another tough decision to make, especially after many of them already purchased the first bare-bones 2D Blu-ray version of "Avatar" last month.
Release strategies are always a challenge with a new format. Most filmmakers and sometimes even studio executives don't want to release their titles to a market of only a few hundred thousand homes, or even a few million. Steven Spielberg and Universal withheld the release of any of his major hits on DVD for several years until that format achieved mass market status, although the filmmaker did agree to release the Sony-controlled "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in the very early stages of the launch of Blu-ray Disc several years ago when Sony needed help in fending off competing format HD DVD. But Spielberg and George Lucas still have not released many of their biggest movies on Blu-ray Disc as yet, most notably "Jaws," "Jurassic Park," and "Star Wars."
The June 18 theatrical release "Toy Story 3," seemingly a natural for a 4th quarter release on Blu-ray, may not be a candidate to have a 3D component this holiday season. Even though Disney has been one of the strongest proponents of 3D theatrically and intends to carry that aggressive strategy into the home market, sources say that none of sister company Pixar's 3D movies or shorts are on the schedule for a 3D Blu-ray release as yet, including the little-seen 3D version of "Tokyo Mater" — one of several "CarsToon" computer-animated "Mater's Tall Tales" that got some of the most enthusiastic reactions as part of a 3D Blu-ray demo at Disney's D23 Expo last September.
(bonus article below)
3D Games prevalent by 2011
Videogames in 3D will become prevalent next year as 3D TVs begin to make their way into homes, according to Futuresource Consulting senior market analyst Patrik Pfandler.
Although the first rush of 3D gaming is expected to be distributed via download initially, with Sony releasing four games, including "Wipeout," together with the firmware update, Futuresource expects to see a significant proportion of disc-based games titles featuring a 3D option very soon, "perhaps becoming prevalent by 2011."
"There are no major obstacles to 3D games development and production; the process is relatively straightforward and is all done in post production," according to an analysis today by Pfander. "Including the 3D functionality, development costs of a 3D game are only 10% to 15% higher than a 2D game. Most developers and publishers are already fully geared up for 3D – it's all about the consumer catch up. As 3D functionality becomes more popular we expect prices to drop and 3D to roll out as standard on a wide variety of games."
Although Pfandler says the uptake of 3D videogames may take longer to arrive than film since movies can be experienced in the cinema long before consumers start to install 3DTVs, once 3DTVs reach a satisfactory installed base, the industry will see a far bigger push on 3D games advertising and promotion.
He says the Xbox 360 and PS3 are essentially 3D-ready, with Sony releasing a dedicated 3D firmware update for the PS3 this summer. Nintendo is expected to announce details of its new 3DS device at next month's E3 show. The portable gaming machine could be many consumers' first experience of 3D gaming and will feature an autostereoscopic 3D-enabled screen, negating the need for glasses.
Futuresource will be hosting the Futuresource Entertainment Summit on June 10-11, which is focused on 3D.
(from May 24, 2010)