Retailers Prepare for 'Avatar' Blu-ray, DVD Releases

Is the world ready yet for the second coming of "Avatar"?

Both retailers and presumably a lot of movie fans are gearing up for the April 22 launch of mega-blockbuster Avatar--the 2D/3D/Imax film that has quickly become the highest-grossing motion picture of all time.

James Cameron's futuristic action/drama/fantasy/love story will be released on both Blu-ray Disc and standard DVD--and while few among us have 3D-ready TV sets quite yet (nor is Cameron releasing a 3D version anytime soon), millions of Americans now have large-screen 2D screens that will show off the planet Pandora quite well.

One of the very few complaints logged by various film critics about 3D theater technology is that it tends to mute a wide range of colors just a bit. 2D in HD may not be three-dimensional, but the colorization will appear somewhat more vivid at home than in the 3D theater version.

"Avatar" is being released by 20th Century Fox on Earth Day's 40th anniversary to send a message, according to the studio, since one element of the storyline of the movie has a green theme. Also, the typical release day for video-disc titles is a Tuesday, not Thursday.

Several major retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart will open their doors at midnight tonight (April 21) to allow customers to take advantage of various promotions. Both a special Blu-ray/standard DVD combo and a lone DVD package of the movie have topped the pre-order list for more than a month at

Unlike many other titles, retailers are counting on "Avatar" being an "ownable." Hopefully, a larger number of consumers will purchase the disc rather than rent it. And to encourage that line of thinking, disc renters such as Netflix and Redbox will not be allowed to begin offering the title for another four weeks.