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'Ultimate' Avatar Blu-ray lands, but not 3D yet

The 'ultimate' 2D version of Avatar is about to hit stores but fans will have to wait a lot longer until the 3D edition hits stores.

The "ultimate" 2D version of Avatar will be released on November 24 but fans will have a longer wait until the 3D edition officially hits stores.

While the Avatar 3D Blu-ray is available as part of a bundle with Panasonic 3D televisions a date has yet to be set for the retail version.

"We really have to see how 3D televisions take hold in the home. We don't want to be the chicken before the egg. We need the television to be the egg and then we'll be there", Avatar producer Jon Landau said.

Boasting an extra 16 minutes of additional scenes and hours of behind-the-scenes footage, the 2D Avatar Extended Collector's Edition Blu-ray will be available in November.

"I told our team — let's do the ultimate box set of Avatar, with everything in it the fans could possibly want", said director James Cameron in a press release.

virtual camera avatar
The virtual camera enables the operator to "shoot" animated footage in real time (Credit: Ty Pendlebury/CBS Interactive)

The Extended Edition Blu-ray is the second release of the movie after the theatrical-only version was released in April.

Despite lacking the third dimension, Landau said the 2D Blu-ray is enjoyable in its own right.

"I know people who've seen it and seen it in the theatres and they say they see more in their Blu-ray than they ever do in the theatres", said Jon Landau

The set comes with three different versions of the US$2.7 billion grossing film with the original theatrical release, a special edition re-release, and new collector’s extended cut with 16 minutes of additional footage including a new creature: the Sturmbeast.

Owners can watch the entire film and toggle between three stages of production: from the performance capture stage, the barebones 'template' animation, or the 'final' mix. The 'template' view resembles the on-the-fly animation that director James Cameron saw when using a 'virtual camera' on set.

Landau said the extensive documentaries also captured moments of humour from director James "Jim" Cameron.

"There's some great behind the scenes footage of Jim with a red stick in his hand pretending to be the Thanator", Jon Landau said as he waved his hands around imitating the sound of the virtual monster.

For a comprehensive photo gallery of each step of the process in making Avatar Extended Collector's Edition — from motion capture through to the finished product — click through to Avatar: behind the scenes at Weta Digital.

Ty Pendlebury flew to Wellington as a guest of 20th Century Fox.