Feb 17 2013, 1:01pm
In March and April 2013 the worldwide release of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" on discs will start. Aside from the standard DVD edition, the movie will be also available as a 2D and 3D BluRay version. As the worldwide distributor is Warner Bros., there will be no significant difference between the contents of the release (except for different language dubs and inclusion/exclusion of extra discs). Therefore, for collectors there is a wide field of choice: which version to pick according to motif and packaging type. Therefore I decided to make an overview for the most interesting collector's editions of the discs worldwide (as far as I could find them).
The Hobbit AUJ: worldwide Blu, DVD and Steelbook overview
About disc regions: Warner releases its BluRays region-free, so you can play all their BluRay discs in any country; the DVDs, however, will be likely locked to their corresponding regions (1 for USA, 2 for Europe, 5 for Russia etc.).
The US will get "The Hobbit" prior to all the other countries - on March 19th 2013. Three editions are listed so far: DVD, BluRay Combo Pack and 3D BluRay Combo Pack. The BluRay versions contain one disc more than all the foreign editions, because a DVD version of the film is included as well. There are no special packaging listed so far (except probably for slipcases); the 3D version will likely have a lenticular motif of Gandalf (known from Empire magazine). The cover art of the 2D BluRay seems to be unique to USA so far. The DVD discs will be probably locked to Region 1.UK
In Great Britain "The Hobbit" will be released a bit later: on April 8th 2013. Except for the standard 2D BluRay edition (2 discs), 3D BluRay edition (4 discs) and DVD (2 discs) there will be an Amazon-exclusive 2D Steelbook edition (see above). The steelbook motif is Bilbo with Gollum.
Also remarkable is the motif of the UK 3D BluRay version. It's different from all the other countries in the aspect that the cover will not have a lenticular Gandalf but a lenticular picture of Bilbo turning into Gollum depending on the viewer's perspective. Somehow it makes sense including a hobbit on a film cover for "The Hobbit".
Germany is "blessed" with a rather late release: April 19th 2013, a whole month after the US. Nevertheless, the Germans have some nice exclusive packaging choices there. There will be actually two steelbook versions of the first film: the Amazon exclusive 2D steelbook (same motif as the UK one), as well as a MediaMarkt-exclusive 3D steelbook with a magnetic lenticular image of Gandalf. Also there will be a standard 2D BluRay, a 3D BluRay (also with Gandalf on it) and a DVD version. Note that the German non-collectible versions will have a non-removable green FSK 12 logo on the cover.
The MediaMarkt-exclusive 3D steelbook is only available for pre-order for pickup in a local MediaMarkt store. It will be probably available on eBay, however.
In Russia "The Hobbit" is listed for April 11th 2013 in two BluRay versions: 3D BluRay and 3D BluRay. The 3D version will be in an additional cardboard slipcase.
Also, there will be exclusive versions in Kazakhstan: the 2D version will be in a lenticular slipcase; the 3D version will be in a steelbook. The Kazakhstan steelbooks are extremely rare: both versions will be limited to 100 pieces. There is no preorder for them yet.
If there is a country with a lot of choices in terms of packaging, then it's France. There, The Hobbit will be released on April 19th 2013 in a total number of four different BluRay steelbooks. There will be three 2D BluRay versions with different covers: Bilbo, Gandalf and Gollum. Also, the 3D Blu version will be in a lenticular steelbook, also featuring the Gandalf motif. However, there are no standard BluRay versions listed as of yet: as the steelbook versions are listed as limited, the normal versions will probably come when they are sold out.
In Italy, "The Hobbit" will be released on April 9th 2013. There are no special packaging versions; however, Italian Amazon offers exclusive releases of the 2D and 3D BluRay including a "booklet". Judging by the Amazon pictures, this will be the book "The World of Hobbits" - however, probably, in Italian language. The 3D version shows Gandalf as in other countries; the 2d design is still TBA and likely to change. Also, the Italian 3D version seems to be cheaper than elsewhere.
Czech Republic lists a whole bunch of The Hobbit released, scheduled for April 19th 2013. However, their artworks are likely to be changed, as they are mostly self-made in Photoshop. There are two steelbooks involved: a 2D BluRay version as well as a 3D BluRay version.
Anything I missed out?
(This post was edited by TheHutt on Feb 17 2013, 1:03pm)