* Disc released in April will have no special features
* Two other “Avatar” DVDs to be released later
* Fox sees film’s theme as good match for Earth Day (Recasts with second release to include special features)
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES, March 16 (Reuters) - Twentieth Century Fox on Tuesday set Earth Day, April 22, for the DVD and Blu-ray release of “Avatar”. But fans will have to wait until November for another disc with all the usual extras, and even longer for a 3-D version.
Fox said it had chosen Earth Day as “Avatar’s” U.S. and Canada home video release, because the film’s theme matches the day’s goal of environmental awareness.
The April release will be in 2-D and is thought to be one of the first major movies put out in home video format without any of the special features that are normally included, such as deleted scenes, trailers and behind-the-scenes footage.
The studio plans another home video release in November of the “Ultimate Edition” of “Avatar,” and that will include extra features, said sources at Fox, a division of News Corp (NWSA.O).
A third version, in 3-D, will likely come out next year, they said. By then, more consumers are expected to have 3-D televisions in their homes.
“Avatar” has made a record-breaking $2.64 billion so far at worldwide box offices since its Dec. 18 release, with a large bulk of that coming from 3-D showings.
Sources at Fox said the April disc will come without extra features so that all available storage space can be used for the best picture and sound possible.
“Avatar,” which won three Oscars, is about a soldier from an environmentally degraded Earth who is sent to infiltrate a tribe of humanoids aliens living atop a rich mineral deposit on the distant moon Pandora.
The soldier’s mission is to find a way to move the tribe so humans can mine the mineral, but he falls in love with a member of the tall, blue Na’vi and leads a revolt against the human colonizers.
Some U.S. conservatives criticized the film, with columnist John Podhoretz of the Weekly Standard faulting it for displaying “hatred of the military and American institutions.”
The DVD and Blu-ray disc for “Avatar” will be released in the U.S., Canada and some other countries on April 22. In France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, it will be available on April 21, and in Japan, Germany and Mexico it will hit stores April 23, with other dates varying by country. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)