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Paramount Gets Back in the Blu-ray Game with New Releases and Old Friends

Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2008 2:15 PM

Last August, Paramount and Dreamworks stunned the high definition home theater community by declaring exclusive support for HD DVD; dropping all Blu-ray releases from their schedule and eventually recalling existing titles off the market. Many, including myself, saw that as a sign that the HD format war was turning in HD DVD's favor.

My, what a different world we live in now! Fast forward to this past February, and Paramount jumps back to Blu-ray after Toshiba declares that it is ending HD DVD support. Details were non-existent in February, but a series of announcements this week have brought clarity to Paramount's plans for a high definition future.

Cloverfield on Blu-rayThings get started on May 20th with the release of Blades of Glory, Face/Off, Next, and Bee Movie as new Blu-ray releases and they will be re-issuing at least eight titles that were formerly available on Blu-ray before their departure from the format last year. Aeon Flux, Babel, Black Snake Moan, Dreamgirls, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sleepy Hollow, The Untouchables, and The Warriors will be re-released on May 20th as well.

In June, Cloverfield, There Will Be Blood, and The Spiderwick Chronicles will be released (the latter will be day-and-date with the DVD release). July will see Drillbit Taylor, but that's as far out as the Paramount calendar goes so far.

Amazon.com lists 51 Paramount titles right now, including the ones listed above.

Missing from the Paramount collection is the Mission: Impossible series. I rather enjoyed the last installment, and the HD DVD and Blu-ray editions garnered lots of technical praise for both video and audio quality. It's possible that they're gearing up for a special edition of sorts, but the better guess is that they are rolling out the titles that they think will sell the best first (the initial Blu-ray release of the M:I movies sold very well, so maybe they think that the available market is smaller than for the other movies announced) and then start releasing the rest on a regular basis.

It's good to see Paramount on board with solid release announcements. Day and date releases are an absolute must if consumers are to be expected to pay attention to Blu-ray, and it looks like Paramount is on its way to doing just that. Universal came out with their announcements of Blu-ray releases starting in July, so the future of Blu-ray is looking brighter!

Now, if the manufacturers would just get their acts together...

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