In the latest shot in the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation have both declared their future high-definition disc releases will be on HD DVD only.
The first blockbuster releases this will effect will be Shrek the Third, Transformers and Blades of Glory - all available on HD DVD before Christmas.
However, in a key caveat to the move, films directed by Stephen Spielberg for the two studios will NOT be exclusive to HD DVD - meaning movies such as the Indiana Jones trilogy, War of the Worlds, Catch Me If You Can and Munich are likely to appear on both HD formats.
The HD DVD exclusivity deal will include all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.
The companies said the decision was due to "the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs."
“The combination of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation brings a critical mass of current box office hits to consumers with a line-up of live action and animated films that are perfect for HD DVD,” stated Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, which is currently the leading studio in domestic box office. “Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to our audience. I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount.”
“We decided to release Shrek the Third and other DreamWorks Animation titles exclusively on HD DVD because we believe it is the best format to bring high quality home entertainment to a key segment of our audience – families,” added DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We believe the combination of this year’s low- priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.”
Both companies have committed to releasing new HD DVD movies on the same day as the DVD release, with back-catalogue titles (Spielberg films excepted) also becoming available exclusively on HD DVD discs. The latter could mean Gladiator, for example, is only available on HD DVD.