Why can't I rent The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?

I wanted to catch up on the first movie before I went to see the new Hobbit movie in the theater, but I can’t find it for rent anywhere. Amazon Prime, Netflix, Comcast On Demand; all of them have the HD version for sale for 17.99 or more, but I just want to watch it once. How come they won’t rent it at the usual $5.99?

You can rent it on DVD. I got it fromNetflix. Cost considerably less than $5.99, too. At the rate we get DVDs, probably less than $2.00.

Redbox has it. DVD or Blu-ray.

Is that HD?

It’s weird that there is no streaming rental. Redbox instant says only at the kiosk or buy it streaming.

I had the same problem, and lucked into a Blu Ray set from Amazon for $10. I figured for an extra couple of dollars over the rental price, I could deal with having my own copy. They have a DVD version available for about $10 these days, if you want to go that way.

I did spend at least an hour getting increasingly frustrated over the lack of availability of this movie in a rentable streaming format.

Weird. I streamed The Hobbit from Amazon to my TiVo last fall, no issues. Can’t seem to find it for rental there anymore. Apparently they’ve changed their offerings?

What’s especially weird is that they stopped streaming rentals before the second movie came out, which I would expect to be a prime time for people to want it. I bought my disc a few days before the opening of Desolation of Smaug.

Netflix has an annoying policy that they have different subscription rates if you want HD. Bothersome, since most of our Netflix pics are old movies that aren’t on HD anyway, and aren’t available on streaming; when we do want a new movie, we don’t want to pay the ridiculous monthly add-on for HD.

If you can, I do highly recommend the “extended edition” THE HOBBIT, which fixes a number of aggravations in the theatrical release.

I watched it through RedBox in early December.


Yeah, both Netflix and Redbox have The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-Ray. Sadly, neither of them carries the extended edition.

It’s important to remember that studios only option newer movies for rent, sale etc. for certain periods, and it’s not unusual for rental or even buy privileges to be revoked to help build a market for a sequel, a special edition release, etc. I’d guess that the studio knew there would be a lot of interest in Hobbit with Smaug coming out, and opted to make it purchase-only to maximize revenue. But this stuff happens all the time. Once available does not mean always available.

If there’s a Family Video near you, try there.


I don’t know if they have the extended edition or not, but if not they might be able to order it (yes, for you to rent, not buy) if you ask.

My daughter borrowed it from the library.

Not so odd when you consider that the Extended Edition Blu-Ray just came out…

This is one reason I hope streaming doesn’t kill DVDs off completely. Streaming rights can be revoked on a whim, but DVDs (being a physical object) can be rented out over and over as long as the DVD isn’t broken.

Such as?

I am curious about that as well. I thought a big problem with the film was that they added so much ancillary material that it already felt like an extended edition. What problems are fixed by increasing the running time even more?

There was a thread here not long ago that detailed all the improvements in the extended edition. I don’t remember what they were, but it made me want to see it.

A little-known fact: many movies *unavailable elsewhere *are available, free, from the local library. The library doesn’t stop lending them just because Netflix removes them from their inventory.

And has anyone noticed how few movies Netflix has for streaming anymore? It seems like their catalog is shrinking by leaps and bounds.