Nine months after Avatar’s theatrical release, it’s still regarded as the pinnacle of 3D entertainment. So it’s too bad that only buyers of Panasonic 3D televisions will get the movie when it’s released on 3D Blu-ray in December.
For an undisclosed period of time, Avatar will be bundled with Panasonic’s 3D televisions, and won’t be sold through any other means, Twice reports. Panasonic wants to make the movie available to people who have already purchased a Panasonic 3D TV, but is still working out the details. Avatar could be bundled with Panasonic 3D Blu-ray players and home theaters as well, but the company wouldn’t confirm whether this is going to happen.
Avatar isn’t the first 3-D movie to be given exclusively to a single television brand — Samsung bundles Monsters vs. Aliens, and Panasonic has offered Coraline and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. TV makers lock down these deals to convey the idea that 3D content actually exists, and Hollywood studios like the deals because they provide a guaranteed return on the 3D investment.
But as CNet points out, Avatar will likely be the first live-action 3-D Blu-ray movie available in the United States. It’s a big deal, and locking it down to one TV maker is a short-sighted move by Panasonic and 20th Century Fox, one that puts their own interests ahead of 3D’s greater well-being. The exclusive Avatar deal might boost Panasonic’s sales this holiday season, but when prospective buyers learn that almost every other 3D Blu-ray disc is also tied down to specific televisions, at the expense of having lots of movies on store shelves, they might sour on the idea of 3D TV altogether.