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No-frills 'Avatar' home release set for Earth Day

Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — "Avatar" may be the ultimate big-screen experience, but how will it fit into the living rooms of America?

That's the challenge presented to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which on Tuesday will announce some unconventional plans for the DVD and Blu-ray release of the highest-grossing film in the history of Hollywood box office.

"Avatar" will hit stores on Earth Day, April 22, and instead of a disc loaded with extras, it will be a lean-and-mean approach with only the movie and a relatively simple menu, a move made to exploit every bit of disc space for a top-of-the-line presentation, said the movie's producer Jon Landau.

In fact, according to sources at Fox, "Avatar" will make history as the first Blu-ray new release from a major studio to hit stores without a single trailer or promotional content of any kind.

"We went to Fox and told them that, for this movie, we wanted to do something really special and reach for the best presentation of any film in the history of the format," Landau said. "This is a movie that has done the unexpected every step of the way. Fox agreed with us and the result is amazing. Everything that is put on a disc takes up room — the menus, the extras, the trailers and studio promotions — and we got rid of all of that so we could give this movie the best picture and sound possible."

A multidisc "ultimate version" will follow in November.

One thing the home-video release won't be is 3-D. Just as Cameron took years to make "Avatar" while waiting for the technology that lived up to his visual aspiration, the filmmaker is holding back the 3-D-in-the-home version until there is a larger market for it.

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