Harry Potter and the biggest and most expensive DVD box sets of all time

With a 31-disc Harry Potter set coming soon, we track down some of the most elaborate compilations of all time

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Muggles with an extra £260 in their back pockets come September will doubtless be excited to hear that Warner Bros is releasing an elaborate 31-disc DVD box set of the Harry Potter movies.

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Comprising all the original films alongside 37 hours of extra content and housed in a gift box that weighs 19lbs, The Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection is the biggest box set ever issued by Warners.

But it’s far from being the biggest DVD box set in the world. Oh sure, there’s no shortage of material and memorabilia crammed into this beast of a box, but in the grand scheme of things it’s actually something of a minnow.

And so, inspired by the announcement of this whopping Potter set’s imminent arrival, here are six of the biggest, longest and most expensive box sets ever produced. And to keep you in suspense they’re in reverse order, from the large to the downright ridiculous:

The X Files Complete Collector’s Edition

Priced at $329.98 and consisting of a staggering 61 discs, this set brings together all nine TV series of the show, plus the first X Files feature film, Fight the Future. Every disc’s supplemented with commentaries, documentaries, DVD-Rom games and more, and the set looks like a labour of love for the person who designed it (a fairly arduous labour of love, at that). If you want a better look at the set, check out this video:

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Law and Order: the Complete Series

If you thought The X Files set was big, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Law and Order, the popular US police series, ran for 20 years on TV and racked up 456 episodes in its time on air, all of which are collected in this 104-disc behemoth of a box set. While you won’t get much in the way of DVD extras for your $700, the collection does come with an exclusive episode guide, which is something…

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United Artists 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection

Film fans with $869.98 to spare might want to invest in this trawl of UA’s archive, which was released in 2007. Containing 90 films spread over 110 discs, the set is housed in a giant book containing info about the movies and photos of their stars, as well as the DVDs.

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Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series

As impressive as the UA box set is, it’s outdone by this Dark Shadows set, which contains 131 discs and will take you 450 hours (a little over two and a half weeks) to plough through. Astonishingly, this gothic soap opera (!) was only on air for five years, but 1,225 episodes were produced in that time, all of which are included in the set. Oh, and you’ll want to spare a thought for any poor postman who has to deliver one of these things – the commemorative coffin box weighs 15.5lbs.

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Prisoner Cell Block H

This whopping collection of DVDs, contained in a steel strongbox, was billed as the largest box set on earth when it was released. Alas, it no longer retains the crown but, standing at 174 discs and costing fans $1,500, it’s certainly an impressive product. The Aussie women’s prison drama ran for 692 episodes, all of which are included here alongside a welter of extra stuff. An Amazon reviewer, writing in March 2009, says that she received the box set six months prior and was still working her way through it when she wrote her review…

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The Ultimate Star Trek Collection

But the daddy of them all is this gigantic Trekkie’s pacifier. Boasting 212 discs, this collection brings together every Star Trek TV series and movie in one package for a mere $2,500, though fans discussing it on the internet lament the absence of the Star Trek animated series and the Trekkies documentaries from the set. One can only hope that the manufacturers see sense and put together an even bigger box before too long that includes those, too.

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So, have you ever seen a bigger box set than this lot? What’s the most elaborate DVD set you’ve ever bought? Post a comment and let us know…

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