Avatar Out-Whoring George Lucas?

When your film becomes the biggest of all time, it’s not unexpected that you’re going to milk its success a bit. Now it seems “Avatar” is taking a few pages from George Lucas’ personal diary in terms of getting punters to fork out for the film again.

On the eve of the film’s special edition theatrical re-release in 800 theatres, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with film producer Jon Landau about the immediate future plans for the franchise, and the answer was a little different than expected.

Back in April we saw a bare bones disc release of the film which was to be followed by 3D special edition at the end of the year. Now, the 3D edition has been pushed back into next year, but a 2D special edition will still hit stores in November.

The big selling point though is more footage. Much like the genitals in a genetically gifted family, each successive generation gets slightly longer than the previous one.

This week’s special edition re-release boasts an extra 8.5 minutes of footage, but the November DVD special edition will double that with at least 16 minutes of extra “Avatar” footage which will bring the total runtime up to somewhere around the three hour mark.

This would mark not one or two but three successive disc releases for the film in the space of around eighteen months. Fox and Lightstorm want to allow for the installed base of 3D TVs to grow before releasing the 3D disc version, yet sales for the technology have been sluggish due to poor reviews, lack of content, lack of standards, the struggling economy and the growing backlash against poor-quality 3D experiences (ie. post-converted films).

One thing that could change the state of play though is an announcement by Toshiba today which indicates the manufacturer is will release at least three different ‘autostereoscopic’ TV sets before year’s end – sets that will NOT require clumsy and expensive glasses for viewing content in 3D which eliminates one of the big issues facing the technology.