Friday, February 22, 2008
Full house! Paramount quiety goes with Blu-ray
It was not a surprise. Paramount Home Entertainment quietly backed Blu-ray a day after Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD and Blu-ray became the standard for hi-def DVDs.
Paramount is part of Viacom, along with MTV, BET and the National Amusements movie theater chain.
Strangely there was no press conference or fanfare to accompany the move to Blu, just a statement sent exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday: "We are pleased that the industry is moving to a single high-definition format, as we believe it is in the best interest of the consumer," the statement reads. "As we look to (begin) releasing our titles on Blu-ray, we will monitor consumer adoption and determine our release plans accordingly."
No further details were given.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in contrast, cast its lot with Blu-ray within hours of Toshiba's announcement Tuesday morning that it was ending the format war by ceasing the development, manufacture and marketing of HD DVD players by the end of March. Universal made a big splash with its announcement, sending media outlets a statement from division president Craig Kornblau in which he said, "While Universal values the close partnership we have shared with Toshiba, it is time to turn our focus to releasing new and catalog titles on Blu-ray."
Ironically, Universal had been exclusive with HD DVD since the format's launch in April 2006, while Paramount had initially supported both HD DVD and Blu-ray. Paramount and its DreamWorks affiliate switched to HD DVD-only in August, reportedly after receiving a $150 million payment from the format's supporters for "promotional consideration."
Neither studio has announced specific titles earmarked for early Blu-ray release, though both are expected to start with new theatrical releases coming the same day as the standard DVD, beginning in late spring or early summer.
The four other majors committed to Blu-ray are Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (along with its distributed MGM Home Entertainment label), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video (including distributed labels New Line Home Entertainment, BBC Video and HBO Video). Mini-major Lionsgate also has been an exclusive Blu-ray backer since the start. (info from Hollywood Reporter)