Fox's attempt to extend the shelf life of its global blockbuster Avatar is set to continue with the release of the 'collector's edition' BD and DVD in November 2010. Stage two of the (so far) unique three-stage strategy is a home video release that includes not only the theatrical movie but also 'special edition' and 'collector's extended version' cuts of the film, along with 45 minutes of deleted scenes. In addition the BD version will contain a host of material not included on DVD, creating a clear point of difference for the hi-def format.
The film became one of the fastest-selling video titles of all time and the best-selling BD to date on its initial release in April 2010. The three-stage strategy, designed to maintain the title's position as a new release far longer than usual, will continue into 2011, when a 3D BD release is expected (probably initially through bundling deals with Panasonic 3D hardware). The film's recent limited re-release in cinemas was also designed to further convince consumers of its new release status, while the November release date will ensure Fox maximises sales during the holiday sales peak, as well as letting the studio target the 21m households globally that have upgraded to BD over the course of 2010 and thus are more likely to invest in the premium format this time round. Finally, as the first true 3D theatrical blockbuster, Avatar's release on 3D BD will drive awareness and adoption of the technology further and faster than any other currently available title could hope to achieve.
Whilst the concept of a subsequent, extras-laden release is not new, this is the first time such a clear three-stage strategy has been outlined in advance. If successful, it is likely to be adopted for other tentpole titles as studios seek every opportunity to increase the revenues generated by the declining home video sector.