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The Hobbit Blu-Ray Buying Guide

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When it comes to huge blockbusters being released on home video there are always a gazillion different options with multiple features to choose from.  Don’t you hate it when you storm to the store to buy the blu-ray but find out a week later that another store had a better cover with bonus features that you don’t have with your copy? Does it bum you out when you find out there are better copies as you sit sadly in the corner thinking “HOW DID IT GO SO HORRIBLY WRONG?” Well fear not because I’m here to guide you through the multiple releases of my favorite movie of 2012, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Standard Releases

Regular -

3D -

As you can see the cover art for both is atrociously uninspired and these will be the versions you see at every retail store. The Bonus features included in these are also included on ALL of the other sets we’ll look at and are as followed:

New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth
Video Blogs
Start of Production
Location Scouting
Shooting Block One
Filming in 3D
Locations Part 1
Locations Part 2
Stone St. Studios Tour
Wrap of Principal Photography
Post-production Overview
Wellington World Premiere
Theatrical Trailers
Dwarves
Letter Opener
Bilbo Contract
Gandalf Wagers
Gollum Paths
Game Trailers
The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth
Guardians of Middle-Earth
Lego The Lord of the Rings

Standard DVD copy of An Unexpected Journey (2D)

UltraViolet digital copy An Unexpected Journey (2D) (expires 3/19/15)

(source: http://www.blu-ray.com)

Each edition also comes with a code to see an exclusive live preview of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Sunday March 24th!

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering an exclusive Gollum and Bilbo 3D litographic sli cover that’s a much better design than the photoshopped one that we see in the regular versions. It also comes with an exclusive 30 minute documentary on the making of the movie in addition to all of the standard bonus features.

Target

Target is offering their own special cover art that includes a massive box with a limited edition Lego figurine inside of The Hobbit himself Mr. Bilbo Baggins. In addition to the figure it also has another exclusive 30 minute bonus feature that should have the same scenes as the one from Best Buy. If you really want the figure and don’t mind having a massive box protruding from your blu-ray shelf then this is your version.

Wal-Mart

Aside from the terror of actually venturing into a Wal-Mart to buy this copy you’ll be treated to the same features as the standard versions with one difference: New cover-art and an exclusive “digibook” packaging design. For those of you that might not know a “digibook” design is a blu-ray with a 20-30 page book on the front of it that usually has photos from the movie, behind the scenes images and written transcripts from the cast and crew.  I think this is a really cool option and is possibly my favorite of them all.

WB Shop

Warner Brothers usually has exclusives for their own movies like Harry Potter and Inception but they really half-assed it with The Hobbit and are offering the same versions as before with an “exclusive” lithographic poster for an absurd amount of money ($35 dollars right now). Worth it? In my opinion absolutely not.

Amazon UK and Future Shop Exclusive

Both of these sites have the exclusive steelbooks for The Hobbit with in my opinion the best cover design of the bunch and that awesome collectible packaging. The release date for Amazon UK is 2 weeks after the US one so if you can stomach waiting an extra few weeks you can have the steelbook in your possession.

Well there you have all of the editions that have been detailed and are available right now. The price is similar with all of them so it really comes down to which set you like and which documentary features you’re looking for. I’m personally going for the Amazon UK steelbook since I collect them and absolutely love the design.. but I might go for Best Buy as well.  There have been rumors and talk about an Extended Edition by the representatives at Warner Brothers and even Peter Jackson himself but nothing has been officially confirmed yet.  Considering that it’s a Jackson adapted Tolkien work I think us fans can expect an Extended Cut around the time of The Desolation of Smaug but our fingers are still crossed.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released today on March 19th and would make a worthy addition to any movie fan’s library!

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10 Responses to “The Hobbit Blu-Ray Buying Guide”
  1. Thank you for this! I’ll probably go for the Walmart or Best Buy version, now that I’m educated about my options!

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  2. Call me crazy, but I’m holding out the inevitable Extended Edition that’s said to be coming out this holiday season.

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  3. Livi says:

    Isn’t there an extended edition that’s coming out next winter, but they’re trying to get us to buy the regular edition now by including a preview of Desolation of Smaug? Or have I got my sources mixed up…

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    • They annouced there will be an extended edition around the holidays before Desolation comes out. I think that’s why there isn’t much in this release (compared to the LOTR extended editions). They’re holding back for the big release.

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    • Paul C. says:

      That’s the word on the street but there is still no official announcement of an Extended Edition from WB or Peter Jackson himself. I think they’ve hinted at it a couple of times and it once popped up on their website before it had to be taken down so we can assume that it’s coming. The usual Lord of the Rings releases would have the DVD in August and the Extended Edition 3 months later in November. I’m not sure that same pattern will hold true for The Hobbit but with the bare bones special features on this release (these are all documentaries or web series we’ve seen before) I think it’s safe to say an Extended Cut is coming around the time of The Desolation of Smaug.

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      • Thanks for the info, Paul. I was just going off what I’ve heard here and there. I wish The Hobbit blu-rays were following the LOTR schedule. It’d be nice to have only a few months to wait for the extended edition. This release will have to do for now, I guess.

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      • Livi says:

        That makes sense, and there’s always Netflix, redbox, and the online version to keep me going until the big release :)

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      • Paul C. says:

        No problem guys! The information is still so unclear about the Extended Cut that it’s hard to really make out what they’re doing through the smoke screens haha.. and yes, there’s always Red Box or OnDemand to satisfy those Middle-Earth cravings before we grab the Extended Edition.. Cheers!

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  4. Jamie Z. says:

    Epic write-up! Thank you for this.

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