The Hobbit – Will You Double-Dip?

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray

The concept of double-dipping has always been the bane of collectors and fans. It seems to have become more common in recent years. This is especially true of movies due to the increasing trend towards a two tier business model. So we have theatrical versions, unrated versions, director’s cuts and special collectors editions. There’s no end to creative ways in which a distributor will try to sell you the same shit more than once. Ask any Star Wars, Star Trek or James Bond fans about this issue and you will not get a pleasant response. Yet the sad fact is, we go along with it (willingly or not), because as fans they know how we think and our prior spending habits. Now although I said the “same shit”, we know that’s not the case and so do they. Any difference or additional material provides a selling point and that is our Achilles heel.

Brian and I were talking about forum rage the other day and how many times we had read about gamers that had been pushed “too far” by developers and were “gonna quit”, only to subsequently do the opposite and carry on because they couldn’t break a habit. It’s exactly the same with double-dipping movies and we have a prime example coming up in a couple of months. Namely the release of the theatrical edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This DVD and Blu-ray version will contain just the standard 169 minute release that we saw last December. The extras are nothing exceptional, yet if you absolutely must own a copy of the movie, as soon as its legally possible to do so, this is the way to go. However, in Q4 the extended edition of the film will be released containing a further twenty five minutes of material.

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition Faux Artwork

Note: this is not genuine extended edition artwork.

Now common sense may dictate to the casual reader to simply wait for the longer version. However that option is not necessarily viable for fans and collector’s. Completists may want both versions by their very nature. As for fans, I suspect that their enthusiasm is inversely proportional to their patience. So they’ll pay up front for the theatrical release (bitching about it is optional) and then work themselves into a complete phrenzy (and I have used an archaic variant here to make a point) until they can get their hands on the extended edition. In the meantime the suits and the money men sit in their volcano lair, in their swivel chairs, stroking a cat and laughing. Double-dipping works because fans believe they are over a proverbial barrel. If they are, then they put themselves in such a position. Retailers can only exploit a customer if the customer is willing to be exploited.

So, will you be buying the theatrical edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or will you wait until later in the year? Do you rage about double-dipping or do you just accept it as an inevitability? As I mentioned earlier certain franchises seem to be on a continual treadmill of upgrades and new versions (yes I’m looking at you Star Trek, with your slow release of all shows to Blu-ray). The thing is fans do have a powerful means of protesting at their disposal and that is voting with their pockets. Unfortunately it is a somewhat nuclear option and requires going without, for a period of time. As for me, I abdicate any position on this issue because I’m hoping to be able to ponce a review copy of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from the distributors. However until recently I did not have this option. Double-dipping is not something I can see going away soon. So what will you do?

6 thoughts on “The Hobbit – Will You Double-Dip?

  1. Adam P says:

    I am one in the past who has double dipped, but after a second time buying a set or series I say “Enough!” I bought the Lord of the Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray and then 2 months later the extended versions were released. I am all about the superior quality of Blu-Ray and my biggest reason for buying them over and over again is that I love all of the special features, but I have a 3D TV and I want the 3D version on this film, so I will wait. Also studios should wise up, they forget that there is something called torrentiing to satisfy the appetite and tide you over until the version you want is released!

  2. Ker-blam says:

    I hate to say it, but I’ll double-dip. My fans mentality just over rules my common sense. I guess that’s what a lot of folk do.

  3. Freato says:

    I’ll probably do what i did with lord of the rings, that is, buy the standard editions as they come out, then wait for a box set of the extended editions and buy that. However that cover makes me think that Beorn is in the Extended version of #1. which means that they must have added a bit on to the end, which seems odd to me. Though as I write this I notice that the caption says ‘this is not official artwork’. there goes my theory :P

  4. Adam says:

    I think I’m done with all that. I’m not sure if its my age, or my current focus in life, or just the fact that having chosen to work less to bring up our children without childcare help, we are just damn poorer than we were, but I’m over it.

    To boot, we have finally got accpetable broadband servicesw up here in the northwest UK, so with services like Netflix, Lovefilm, and Blinkbox on the menu, My attitude towards film purchasing has changed dramatically.

    I like the film, really enjoyed it, and I will probably rent for £3 it on Blinkbox to watch when the DVD is released, but I suspect I may wait until all three extended editions are out on Blu-ray for the: ‘final bite of the cherry/bumming the customer edition’.

    The need to own, when I reality I know I’ll only watch it a couple of times before the next edition is released, is somewhat diminished, if I feel I need to see it repeatedly, I’ll buy it on blinkbox.

  5. Brian says:

    Once one gains the option to stream/timeshift content it becomes much less compelling to purchase media. People will happily pay to have access to content on their own terms/schedule. I’d rather spend $8 for a month of streaming thousands of titles than $20-30 for a single movie on whatever optical media is the rage. As more people gain better access I hope the media giants wake up and get with the new program.

    Having said that, several of the media giants are behind Hulu Plus — the “ad-supported subscription service” — that seems to think people pay to see the ads, rather than pay to eliminate them… The more things change the more they stay the same.

  6. I skipped the movie in theaters and am waiting for the extended edition. I’m skeptical that the films need to be that long, but if Jackson really feels these are the real version, who am I to argue?

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