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3D Blu-ray 'Avatar' exclusive to Panasonic into '12?

Panasonic currently has the rights to "Avatar" on Blu-ray 3D. But a new report suggests that it will stay that way through the first two months of 2012.

Will Panasonic have the 3D Blu-ray version of Avatar through February 2012?
Will Panasonic control the 3D Blu-ray version through February 2012? Fox Home Video

"Avatar" on 3D Blu-ray may not be available in general release for another year, claims a report from T3 magazine.

According to U.K.-based tech publication, Panasonic confirmed that it has exclusive selling rights to "Avatar" on 3D Blu-ray through February 2012. After that, the film will be made available for general release.

Assuming that's true, consumers will have to leap some serious hurdles and cough up some serious cash just to get their hands on James Cameron's blockbuster on 3D Blu-ray. That version was released exclusively via Panasonic on December 1.

Currently, Panasonic is offering a copy of the film in its 3D Full HD Ultimate Pack, which also includes two pairs of Panasonic 3D glasses. That bundle sells for $399.95.

Consumers can also opt to buy a Panasonic Viera 3D HDTV VT series or GT series set, which comes with the 3D Full HD Ultimate Pack. Panasonic is also offering a free copy of "Avatar" to people who bought one of its 3D sets between March 10 and November 30. To tap that offer, customers must fill out a mail-in request form.

It's worth noting when Panasonic launched its "Avatar" offering, a company representative wouldn't tell CNET how long it had the exclusive rights to sell the film.

If "Avatar" on 3D Blu-ray isn't made available until 2012, though, it will have another blockbuster to contend with.

In September, LucasFilm announced that it will start showing 3D versions of the "Star Wars" saga in theaters in 2012 with the launch of "Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace." Reports claim LucasFilm will then premiere the rest of the films in chronological order by episode each year after that. There is currently no word on when those films will be offered on 3D Blu-ray.