The Retailing of HD-DVD and Blu-ray

Evan Powell, September 1, 2006

Blu-ray has more studio support

The last pitch that we heard frequently on our retail tour is that we should buy Blu-ray because Blu-ray is supported by all of the major studios except one. While this is certainly true, the statement is intended to give the impression that there won't be much to watch if you buy into HD-DVD, and that is false.

It is true that only one major studio has refused to support Blu-ray. But that one is Universal Studios, a company with an extensive film library that includes popular titles like King Kong, Gladiator, U-571, A Beautiful Mind, Jurrasic Park, Jaws, E.T., Schindler's List, Scarface, The Bourne Identity, Back to the Future, The Mummy, American Pie, The Fast and the Furious, Seabiscuit, Love Actually, Munich, Apollo 13, Scent of a Woman, Casino, Field of Dreams, Bridget Jones' Diary, and hundreds of others. As things stand now, these and all Universal titles will be released exclusively in HD-DVD.

Now, there are several major studios that currently plan to release their titles exclusively in Blu-ray, including Sony Pictures, MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Lions Gate. Movies from these studios include the Rocky films, the James Bond films, the Star Wars films, Charlie's Angels, The Patriot, The Mask of Zorro, The DaVinci Code, Spiderman, Legends of the Fall, Sleepless in Seattle, Black Hawk Down, Men in Black, A Few Good Men, Basic Instinct, Jerry Maguire, The Terminator, The Fifth Element, Dirty Dancing, Reservoir Dogs, Moulin Rouge, Minority Report, Fight Club, Never Been Kissed, Edward Scissorhands, Patton, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and of course many hundreds more.

However, in addition to the movies that are exclusively in one format or the other, there are many that will be released in both formats. That is because HD-DVD and Blu-ray both have the support of the studio giants Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as the strategically important HBO Films and, notably, New Line Cinema, a studio widely recognized as a leader in the delivery of high quality DVD transfers.

Titles from these studios that we can expect to be released in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray include the Batman films, the Matrix films, the Star Trek films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Austin Powers films, the Band of Brothers mini-series, the Mission: Impossible series, Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Beverly Hills Cop, Forrest Gump, Ocean's Eleven, The NeverEnding Story, Goodfellas, Caddyshack, 48 Hours, the Lethal Weapon films, Driving Miss Daisy, Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, Ferris Bueller's Day off, Trading Places, Wedding Crashers, Dumb and Dumber, Rush Hour, Se7en, and many hundreds of others.

The bottom line is that the consumer need not be worried about having enough to see in HD-DVD. At the moment, there are more HD-DVD titles than Blu-ray either available or about to become available. Therefore, when someone tells you that you need to buy the more expensive Blu-ray player because all of the major Hollywood studios support it except one, be on your guard. You are being told the truth, but it is not the whole truth.

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