News: Avatar Blu-ray 3D in Panasonic bundle

Long before James Cameron’s Avatar was released in theaters, it was widely rumored that the movie would be the first feature film to be issued on Blu-ray 3D. That didn’t happen (Sony’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was the first catalog title and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore the first new release), but distribution studio 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is now putting Avatar on Blu-ray 3D but only in a Panasonic bundle.

Avatar movie scene with characters of Sam Worthington and Zoe SaldanaStarting today, the science-fiction movie, which was just released as an Extended Collector’s Edition, is available in a Blu-ray 3D version exclusively with the purchase of Panasonic’s Viera VT Series or GT Series Full HD 3D Plasma TV. The Panasonic 3D Full HD Ultimate Pack bundle is priced at $399.95 and includes two pairs of rechargeable Panasonic 3D Eyewear.

A Panasonic System Solution Bundle also will be offered at participating retailers through Jan. 1. With this program, consumers can get a Panasonic DMP-BDT100 3D Blu-ray player ($249.95) or a $249.95 instant rebate toward the purchase of a Panasonic SC-BTT350 3D Home Theater-in-a-Box ($499.95) with the purchase of a Panasonic Viera VT or GT Series Full HD 3D TV — plus, of course, Avatar in Blu-ray 3D and two pairs of Panasonic 3D Eyewear.

Blu-ray 3D movies provide the same quality 3D as shown in theaters, but they can not be played on standard Blu-ray players. They need Blu-ray 3D players or Blu-ray players with a 3D firmware upgrade, as well as a 3D TV and special eyewear (not the old red/blue glasses). Regular Blu-ray discs can, however, be played on Blu-ray 3D players.

Current owners of Panasonic’s 2010 Viera Full HD 3D Plasma TVs (VT25 Series, GT25 Series, TC-P50VT20 and TC-46PGT24), who purchased the units between March 10 and Nov. 10, also can receive Avatar on Blu-ray 3D through a mail-in request program.

Panasonic is pushing 3D for the home aggressively this holiday season. Yesterday, the electronics manufacturer launched a 14-city Unwrap 3D Mall Tour.

No details yet when Avatar Blu-ray 3D will be available outside of these bundles, but we’ll let you know when we do.

Avatar in a museum

Meanwhile, in on June 4, fans will get another new way to enjoy Avatar when Avatar: The Exhibition opens in Seattle. The show will feature props and costumes from the movie, as well as interactive displays, concept models and sketches.

“The exhibition is going to be a unique opportunity for people to learn more not only about how the film was made, but also experience Pandora in a much deeper way,” director James Cameron said in a statement. “Fans will be able to see in-person the workmanship behind the film, whether it’s how scenes are captured; or how a Na’vi costume was built first as a real world garment then produced digitally.”

Props in the exhibition will include the Armored Mobility Platform (AMP) used in the combat scenes, soldier uniforms and the handmade models of the Na’vi characters and the wardrobes. The film’s direction and use of motion capture, virtual and 3D technologies also will be explored, as well as the creation of Pandora and the science behind the universe, creatures, plants and culture of the Na’vi culture.

Avatar: The Exhibition is being organized by Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum in partnership with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. The show will continue in Seattle through Sept. 3, 2012, then trail to other major arts and cultural institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.