Fox's Avatar was released on 3D Blu-ray Disc (3D BD) in the US on 1 December 2010 as part of an exclusive bundling deal with Panasonic, as expected by IHS Screen Digest. This follows a similar exclusive deal with Panasonic 3D hardware in key international territories on 1 November 2010. Under the current arrangement, US consumers who buy a Panasonic 3D TV will receive a free 3D ultimate pack (SRP $399.95), containing Avatar on 3D BD and two pairs of 3D glasses, and the choice of either a free Panasonic 3D BD player or discounted 3D Blu-ray home theatre system. The promotion ends 1 January 2011, but it has been reported that Panasonic's exclusivity on Avatar will last until February 2012 and we are researching this in more detail. Meanwhile, consumers who bought a Panasonic 3D TV between March and November 2010 can also receive Avatar on 3D BD by sending in a mail coupon by the end of January 2011.
IHS Screen Digest research shows that those 3D BD titles initially tied to exclusive bundling deals have generated significantly more in total box office revenues-just under two and a half times more in the US-than those titles initially released at retail. Though this arguably weakens the Q4 2010 3D release slate it is unlikely to hinder the adoption of the technology. Exclusive deals on key titles, such as that of Samsung for DreamWorks Animation's Shrek franchise which generated over $1.2bn at the US box office, will come end in 2011 allowing title availability to develop rapidly. Indeed from 2011 new 3D BD titles are less likely to be bundled exclusively as a result of increased competition among hardware manufactures for bundling deals. Furthermore, some studios are intentionally releasing directly to retail to encourage home 3D adoption.
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