James Cameron is notorious for taking his sweet time to do his films justice on DVD: A proper release of 1997's Titanic wasn't out until 2005, the director's cut of The Abyss took ten years to put together (and still has never been issued in anamorphic format) and True Lies never received the special edition treatment it deserved.
Cameron is also known for re-releasing his films on DVD endlessly (e.g. Terminator 2: Judgment Day), so it should come as no surprise that Avatar will make its home video debut on Thursday April 22 on DVD and Blu-ray in a bare-bones edition completely devoid of supplementary materials.
Producer Jon Landau has given the L.A. Times a juicy rationalization for the cash-grabbing double-dip movie-only decision. "Everything that is put on a disc takes up room -- the menus, the extras, the trailers and studio promotions -- and we got rid of all of that so we could give this movie the best picture and sound possible." Landau did not explain why the filmmakers didn't just throw in an extra disc of supplements, perhaps because the truth would make him sound greedy.
With 3D Blu-ray technology poised to hit the market, and the existence of a longer director's cut already confirmed, the home video re-release potential of Avatar is endless. "There are details that you can see on the Blu-ray that are just amazing," Landau told the paper. "And the reason the movie has done so well isn't because of the 3-D, it's because of the story and the messages and the imagination. The way I view the Blu-ray is a chance for people to go back to Pandora." Of course he does.
When Cameron does release a special edition, the results are usually fantastic (the making-of documentary on the DVD of The Abyss remains one of the best and most candid I've ever seen). So I'm sure the eventual tricked-out release of Avatar will be worth the wait. It's just going to be a long wait.