'Avatar' Special Edition Gets Off to Big Start on DVD, Blu-Ray, Fox Says

But studio execs declined to release the first-day shipment or sales figures of the much-hyped title.

Fox Home Entertainment on Tuesday touted big first-day sales for three-disc special edition sets of James Cameron's Avatar on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

But studio execs declined to detail the first-day shipment or sales figures of the much-hyped title. Three different running times for the sci-fi epic are featured in the set, all presented in 2D.

FHE is allowing Panasonic to bundle free copies of a 3D version of Avatar with its Blu-ray players and 3D televisions sets starting next month. The 3D version won't be released generally until next year.

DVDs and Blu-ray discs included in the 2D special edition feature 45 minutes of footage not included in the original theatrical version and 36 minutes more than was featured in a big-screen rerelease in August. The new discs also are the first to include bonus features.

Amazon listed Avatar as its best-selling title on Tuesday. But the first-day sales aren't expected to rival those of last spring's bare-bones version of the movie on DVD and Blu-ray -- 6.7 million units sold afterjust four days in release.

"As it's a collector's set, it's not a Day 1 story," an FHE spokesman said "[It's] more of a Week 1 story."

Fox executives expect the Avatar set to do well in the weeks ahead as the holiday gift-buying season takes hold. But already, the hot Blu-ray title has helped the high-definition format achieve more critical mass in the consumer marketplace, they believe.

"Avatar kicked down the walls for Blu-ray in 2010, driving the high-def revolution in the living room," FHE topper Mike Dunn said. "We are at the inflection point of convergence -- the facts support that. Blu-ray players are now in more than 21 million households, and Blu-ray unit growth is up 108%."

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