Amongst the officially released details of the upcoming Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray, alongside the unsurprising confirmation of a rather light load of new special features, was one odd and interesting twist.
Now, there’s a pretty standard part to the deal to begin with. Packaged with the disc will be an Ultraviolet code, allowing you to unlock a streaming version of the film to play from the cloud on all manner of your devices . This is becoming increasingly common and, while I don’t use Ultraviolet yet, I imagine I will, before long.
In this particular case, though, the Ultraviolet code will also allow users access to the online premiere of a Desolation of Smaug preview.
This will be happening on March 24th at 3pm Eastern, 12pm Pacific, 8pm GMT. The discs will be available from the previous Tuesday, March 19th, giving you plenty of time to pick one up – possibly even from March 18th in the UK, though this is yet to be confirmed.
As each Ultraviolet code is unique you won’t be able to google one up or share with a friend. This is, effectively, even more stringent than releasing the trailer on the disc.
How long it will be between this premiere and when the trailer becomes widely available isn’t clear but I’m sure Warner Bros. will make sure there’s some kind of window. They can’t offer an exclusive that only stays exclusively for a couple of days, surely?
Of course, whatever window they do settle on, I’m sure it will be smeared with plenty of shot-from-the-screen pirate copies.
And, just to confirm while we’re here, this is a 24fps 2D or 3D version of the theatrical cut. The extended version will be along later in the year and a 48fps home version… well, that could actually be a few years.