The first wave of full HD 3D Blu-rays to appear in the UK were all brand-exclusives; to get your mitts on Monsters Vs Aliens you had to purchase Samsung 3D hardware, while to get copies of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and
Yet the situation is improving with Walt Disney and Sony Pictures both allowing titles to go straight to retailers. At present, these are
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Ice Age 3D: One for all the family
Confusion may arise from the fact that, while Sony Pictures adamantly won't allow any of its films to be tied into hardware, the consumer electronics wing of Sony has woken up to the idea of following Samsung and Panasonic down that route, but has had to turn to Walt Disney for material.
So while Walt Disney is releasing A Christmas Carol direct to shops, its films Bolt and Alice in Wonderland are being bundled with Sony 3D kit. The good news is that the exclusivity period for these titles is only 60 days, so they should be available to buy before Christmas.
Coraline 3D: Neil Gaiman's spooky fairytale
In our list below, Piranha 3D is schedule for December 27. Beware that, for reasons known only to complete idiots, this is also being released as an anaglyph title in the UK, and distributor Entertainment in Video hasn't yet confirmed whether there'll be a full HD 3D version. So make sure you know exactly what you're buying if you go for it, or you might end up bitten.
Full HD 3D completists should check out online auction sites such as eBay, where some people are selling on discs such as Ice Age 3. But be prepared to pay over £40 for a 3D BD…
A Christmas Carol 3D: A heartwarming tale for a family get-together
Online retailer, Amazon has listings for a range of IMAX 3D titles distributed in the UK by a little-known company called Cornerstone Media International. Many of them are listed as coming in 2011, but three titles should be available to buy now (although, as these three have already had their release dates amended once before, we wouldn't be surprised if the situation has changed by the time you read this....).
Across the pond It won't surprise many home cinema enthusiasts to know that the situation in the US is better than in the UK, with more titles available for 3D freaks to wrap their eyes around. Again, though, there are some exclusivity deals.
Of most interest is the initial run of Warner 3D titles that hit stores on November 16, which included Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Clash of the Titans and The Polar Express, plus various IMAX docs. As Warner typically makes all its discs region-free, these may be worth importing (no announcements have been made for UK releases). Double-check the region code, though, before you get your credit card out.
Polar Express 3D: One of the first 3D Blu-rays
One US 3D title that is definitely region-free is Lionsgate's My Bloody Valentine 3D, but it's only available in Best Buy stores, so you may have more trouble importing a copy. Again, eBay might be your best bet.
Another region-free platter in the US is The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film in 3D. Whether or not you'd want it is another matter – it runs for only 64 minutes, is presented in 720p, and England were useless in the tournament anyway.