When Paramount announced in August that it sided
with HD DVD as the exclusive format for which it will release its
high-definition films, most thought of it as a marriage that would prolong the
optical format war.
Just prior to the opening of CES 2008, Warner revealed that
it will slowly transition from being a format neutral company to supporting
Blu-ray Disc exclusively starting this summer. Warner’s shift represents a
staggering loss to HD DVD – one so severe that it has Paramount reconsidering
its vows with HD DVD.
According to the Financial
Times, Paramount is understood to have a clause in its agreement with
HD DVD that allows the film company to back out of its exclusivity deal should
Warner back Blu-ray Disc. Furthermore, the Times
added that, with Warner officially on Blu-ray Disc, Paramount is poised to drop
its support of HD DVD.
Should Paramount truly abandon the format they were backing,
HD DVD owners will suddenly find themselves without yet another classic movie
trilogy with the loss of Indiana Jones
– originally expected for release in high-definition in 2008.
DreamWorks Animation, makers of Shrek, also signed an
exclusive deal with HD DVD in August 2007, though it is unclear if the studio
has the same back-out clause as Paramount.
Somewhat confusingly, Paramount told High-Def
Digest that it currently has no plans to abandon HD DVD. "We are
still supporting HD DVD," said the Paramount spokesperson. A somewhat
startling sign, however, might be that Paramount will not be making any new HD
DVD movie announcements at CES 2008.