The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies may have just hit movie theaters, but that doesn’t mean retailers will waste any time taking pre-orders for the Blu-ray and DVD home media releases of the film. Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers are already offering three different disc editions of third film in the “The Hobbit” trilogy, including three-disc Blu-ray 3D, two-disc Blu-ray, and single-disc DVD editions.
Warner Bros. hasn’t given an exact date for the home media releases of “The Battle of the Five Armies,” but if the previous two “Hobbit” film disc and digital releases are any indication, we should see the film hit shelves and download servers around March or April, 2015.
This, of course, will be the theatrical edition of the film. At a total run time of 144 minutes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the shortest of the “The Hobbit” films that have released for three consecutive years since 2012. One might expect an extended edition of “The Battle of the Five Armies” to be released in the summer, 2015.
While J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit” is a much shorter read than any of the “The Lord of the Rings” volumes, it has translated comparatively longer to film. The theatrical versions of “The Hobbit” trilogy combined amount to 474 minutes, versus the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy at 602 minutes.
The extended versions of “Lord of the Rings” films total a whopping 726 minutes of film. So far, “The Hobbit” two extended versions amount to 368 minutes. If “The Battle of the Five Armies” is extended as long as the two previous films to about 180 minutes, the “The Hobbit” trilogy extended trilogy will end up at about 545 minutes.
Some critics of “The Hobbit” films say the story drags compared to the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Fans of Middle-earth tales, however, wonder why “The Battle of the Five Armies” is almost 20 minutes shorter than the first two movies.
One point that may be debated for years to come, and one Peter Jackson himself may ponder, is whether or not “The Hobbit” trilogy should have been produced in 3D, a technological film advancement that was still being developed by James Cameron for “Avatar” (2009) several years after “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy ended in 2003.