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Warner becoming more selective about Blu-ray?


Well, it seems as if Sony have finally made good one one of their blustering promises: after considerable delay, the first 50 GB dual-layer Blu-ray title has arrived: the, er, classic Adam Sandler vehicle Click. Yep, looks like they picked a winner to launch their high-capacity media.

It’s not all fun and games at camp Blu-ray, though. Warner and Universal have announced their initial slate of HD DVD titles for release in France, among them some high-profile titles like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. These are the same titles that are already available, or will soon be available, in the US, so nothing on the list is particularly surprising. What is insteresting, however, is that a number of major Warner titles, including Harry Potter and Batman Begins, are listed as being HD DVD exclusives.

Warner is, as you probably already know, a format-neutral studio, along with Paramount, both of whom so far have a decent record of releasing material of similar quality on both formats. The suggestion that Warner are going to become more picky regarding which titles they port to Blu-ray, however, is pretty noteworthy. Warner recently announced that it was lowering its high definition software sales forecast from $500 million to $150 million. The reason? It’s speculation, but the theory is that its Blu-ray sales have been a fraction of what they had been expecting. That they now seem to be withholding some of their most prized titles from Sony’s format would seem to suggest a considerable shift in their faith in it. Another theory, of course, is that, as the titles marked as HD DVD exclusives are all fairly long and/or feature significant bonus materials, Warner don’t want to have to pay for the more expensive (and currently in short supply) dual-layer discs.

Time will tell how this pans out, of course, but on the face of things, this would seem to be major news for a studio that, not long ago, was espousing the merits of complete format neutrality.

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 6:48 PM
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | HD DVD | Technology

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