Well, it looks like Paramount and DreamWorks are catching a bit of heat from the industry over yesterday’s announcement of their move to HD DVD exclusivity.
I’ll start off with an interview Blu-ray.com did today with Steven Spielberg’s spokesperson and member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Marvin Levy.
Mr. Levy did confirm for us that Mr. Spielberg is “certainly a supporter of Blu-ray” and communicated the Spielberg camp’s excitement over the upcoming release of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, exclusively on Blu-ray.
High-Def Digest also has an article on the apparent friction between Spielberg and HD DVD, and his apparent support for Blu-ray. It also has a quote from Marvin Levy:
“It was important to Steven that if any of his films were to be released [first] on high-definition, that it would be a classic,” said Levy. “Steven is big supporter of Blu-ray, and chose ‘Close Encounters’ to be the first of his films on either format.”
Levy further clarified the Paramount/DreamWorks press release, saying that “…his movies, like ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘War of the Worlds,’ are not included in that deal. They are not exclusive to HD DVD, nor [are they] planned for that format at this time.’”
To say that Steven Spielberg has some clout in Hollywood is a bit of an understatement. Paramount’s decision is unlikely to help reduce the tensions between Spielberg and the studio.
Moving on from Spielberg, another hot director is Michael Bay – the man behind hits such as Bad Boys, Pearl Harbor, and, oh yeah, Transformers. He’s been a huge money-maker for Paramount – but apparently that may not continue. He made a post in his personal web forum entitled “Paramount pisses me off!” in which he said:
“I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me!”
I sure hope that $50 million pay-off to Paramount and the $100 million pay-off to DreamWorks was worth it guys!
But money talks: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD, according to two Viacom executives with knowledge of the deal but who asked not to be identified.
The incentives will come in a combination of cash and promotional guarantees. Toshiba, for instance, will use the release of â€œShrek the Thirdâ€ as part of an HD DVD marketing campaign.
The deal is apparently for 18 months of exclusivity – which would mean no Blu-ray from Paramount or DreamWorks until early 2009 – except perhaps for Spielberg films, of course. Though I’m sure that if Blu-ray really stomps HD DVD over the holiday season, they’ll find a way to break the agreement to release BD in 2008.
For now I guess I’ll just have to do without their movies – that leaves only Sony, MGM, Fox, Disney, Warner, New Line, Bandai, Funimation, etc… However will I cope.