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page updated: 1/29/08



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 1/25/08 - 1/11/08)


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(EARLY UPDATE - 1/25/08 - 11:30 AM PST)

We're going to start today with some new announcements and cover art. Then we're going to check back in this afternoon with some format war business and the associated editorial you've come to expect.

First up, those announcements. New Line has just revealed that The Golden Compass will street on 4/29. There will be two DVD versions - a single disc DVD (available in full frame or anamorphic widescreen - SRP $28.98) and a 2-disc Platinum Edition (SRP $34.99). The 2-disc DVD looks to include three different series of documentary featurettes, with over 2.5 hours worth of extras, including Origins, Behind-the-Scenes and Lyra's World. There will also be a 2-disc Blu-ray Disc edition (SRP $39.98) that includes all of the DVD extras along with BD-Java "visually enhanced" commentary. A complete list of DVD extras is forthcoming. Here's what the cover art for all three versions is expected to look like (subject to change)...

Golden Compass DVD & Blu-ray

In other announcement news, Universal has set Who's Your Monkey for release on DVD on 5/6 (SRP $24.98).

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox and MGM have announced a few new catalog DVDs, including a Billy Wilder Giftset on 3/4 (includes The Apartment: Collector's Edition, The Fortune Cookie, Kiss Me Stupid and the Some Like it Hot: Special Edition) and a trio of baseball titles on 3/18 (SRP $14.98 each), including an Eight Men Out: Collector's Edition, The Pride of the Yankees: Collector's Edition and a Bull Durham: Collector's Edition. Bull Durham will include audio commentary by director Ron Shelton, a second commentary with stars Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins and 4 featurettes (The Greatest Show on Dirt, Diamonds in the Rough, Between the Lines: The Making of Bull Durham and a Kevin Costner Profile). Eight Men Out will include audio commentary by director John Sayles and 4 featurettes (a Two Part Retrospective, The Story Behind the Movie, and DB, the Bat & the 2005 World Series). The Pride of the Yankees will include 6 featurettes (The Making of Pride of the Yankees, The Man Behind the Iron Horse, What He Left Behind, Always, Lou Gehrig's Disease: The Search for a Cure and Curt Schilling: A Legend on a Legend). Here's a look at cover art...

Bull Durham: Collector's EditionEight Men Out: Collector's EditionThe Pride of the Yankees: Collector's Edition

While we're talking titles this morning, here's some cover art for a few more recently announced DVDs... Fox's Hitman: Unrated Edition (3/11 - available with Digital Copy on both DVD and Blu-ray), Universal's The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (4/15) and DreamWorks' Beowolf: Director's Cut (2/26)...

Hitman: Unrated EditionThe Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection: Volume 2Beowolf: Director's Cut

By the way, one last note this morning: Sarah and I managed to catch a matinee of the new U2 3D IMAX film yesterday... and let me tell you, it's pretty damn great. If you've never been to a U2 concert before, now's you chance for just the cost of an IMAX movie ticket. And if you're already a U2 fan and have seen them live, this film will bring you right back to the moment and we guarantee that it's the best seat you've ever had. The 3D effect is surprisingly good and it really enhances the live music experience in ways you wouldn't expect. But the better news is that the concert performance is extraordinary, just as you'd expect from this band. Seriously, if you're a music fan, you owe it to yourself to check this out. If it doesn't move you, envelop you or at least get your feet tapping, you might want to check your pulse. It's a terrific piece of concert filmmaking. Don't miss it (click here for the official website with a list of theaters).

Okay... we'll be back with that format war editorial in a couple hours, so stay tuned...

1/24/08

Okay, we have some official details for you on Buena Vista's No Country for Old Men. As we reported yesterday, look for the DVD and Blu-ray to hit stores on 3/11. The DVD (SRP $29.99) will include 3 behind-the-scenes documentaries (Working with the Coens: Reflections of Cast and Crew, The Making of No Country for Old Men and Diary of a Country Sheriff). The Blu-ray Disc (SRP $34.99) will include the same extras as the DVD.

Meanwhile, Universal's The Wiz: 30th Anniversary Edition streets on 2/12 (SRP $19.98) in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the Wiz on Down the Road featurette, the trailer and a bonus 8-track soundtrack CD.

Fox has announced the DVD release of Moondance Alexander on 4/29.

Koch Lorber will release Radiant City on 3/4, with Matías Bize's en la cama following on 3/11.

Sony will release The 6th Day on Blu-ray Disc on 4/8.

Tropics Entertainment is beginning its support of Blu-ray with the 2/12 release of Over America in High-Definition and Over California in High-Definition.

Paramount is bringing back its Jack Ryan Collection HD-DVD box set on 3/25 (includes Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears). You may recall that it appeared very briefly last year in stores, but was recalled because the packaging for a couple of the titles listed extras that weren't on the discs. The new discs will simply have no extras, and the packaging has been revised accordingly.

Warner Home Video has just announced a bunch of new and re-issue titles for their various umbrella companies, including TONS of classic Doctor Who episodes for the BBC on 3/4 (Ep. 13: The Web Planet, Ep. 45: The Mind Robber, Ep. 54: Inferno, Ep. 57: The Claws of Axos, Ep. 69: The Green Death, Ep. 78: Genesis of the Daleks, Ep. 87: The Hand of Fear, Ep. 92: Horror of Fang Rock, Ep. 105: City of Death, Ep. 110: The Leisure Hive, Ep. 120: The Visitation, Ep. 140: The Mark of the Rani, Ep. 143: Revelation of the Daleks, Ep. 157: Ghost Light, The Beginning Collection, Lost in Time: Patrick Troughton Years and Lost in Time: William Hartnell Years), more titles featuring The Wiggles than you can shake a stick at (and way too numerous to list here) on 3/11, Adult Swim's Frisky Dingo: Season 1 on 3/25, a new Harold & Kumar: Special Edition for New Line on 4/1, Sharkwater and CNN's Planet in Peril special on 4/8, the BBC's Seven Wonders of the Industrial World and Allo 'Allo: Complete Series 8 on 5/6, and the Sinatra mini-series on 5/13. Also, don't forget that Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 5 streets on 1/29 from Warner.

And we wanted to post this one separately, because we know a lot of you Gen-Xers will get a kick out of it. Warner will be releasing the Rankin and Bass classic The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town as a new Deluxe Edition on 2/19 (SRP $14.98). It includes three additional stop-motion animation shorts: Breakfast of Magicians, Floating Through Daydream Garden and Easter Bunny is Comin’ to Town: The Easter Express.

By the way, we looked into that TG Daily story from yesterday about Warner extending their HD-DVD support three weeks. It's actually not an extension, it's really just a clarification. It simply reflects the fact that Warner is delaying their catalog HD-DVD releases three weeks after the DVD and Blu-ray release as well as new release titles. So whatever the last major DVD and Blu-ray title announcement is before the end of May, the HD-DVD version will come out in early June and will be the studio's last release on the format.

Finally today, just a quick note: Industry sources are telling us that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is expected to sell its 2 millionth Blu-ray Disc in North America this week, probably either today or tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/23/08 - 1 PM PST)

We've got just a few more quick items to report this afternoon. First up, a quick Best Picture nominee release round-up...

We've confirmed with Buena Vista that Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men will street on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/11. Watch for the official announcement in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, industry sources are telling us to expect 20th Century Fox's Juno on DVD and Blu-ray in late March or early April. We anticipate official details soon.

Universal's Atonement will almost certainly be released on both DVD and HD-DVD, but no street date has yet been announced.

Paramount is expected to release There Will Be Blood, also likely on DVD and HD-DVD, but again no street date has yet been announced.

And Warner will release Michael Clayton on DVD and Blu-ray on 2/19, with the HD-DVD version following on 3/11.

Around the Net this afternoon, Video Business has a story up on the high-def format war's cost to the home video industry this past year, as well as the industry's hope for a better 2008 as the war resolves. Engadget is reporting that Samsung has decided to kill their BD-UP5000 dual-format combo player, but may release a high-end replacement later in 2008. The Courier Mail in Australia has posted a comprehensive piece on the status of the format war down under, post-CES. And TG Daily has reported that Chicago-based regional retailer Grant's Appliances has decided to discontinue carrying HD-DVD. TG Daily is also reporting that Warner's end date for HD-DVD support has been extended an additional three weeks.

Completely non-format war related, CNN has a bunch of "I-Reports" up from viewers who have met Heath Ledger over the years. I have a feeling that Ledger's death is hitting movie fans hard, and that they'll be feeling the loss for a while, especially given that his career seemed to be on a major upward track, that he was so young and that his last completed film is still currently over 6 months away from theaters. It's just such a shame.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/23/08 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning, film fans.

As promised, we're checking in early today with a brand spankin' new Classic Coming Attractions column from our very own Barrie Maxwell. In this installment, Barrie reviews some 14 new and recent classic film titles on DVD, including VCI's Showtime USA Jubilee Collection, Battling with Buffalo Bill and White Eagle, Grapevine Video's double bill of Horace Takes Over/The Last Three, Restored Serials Super Restoration Corp's Young Eagles, reelclassicDVD's The Our Gang Collection: Volumes One, Two and Three, MGM's The Young Savages, Fox's An Affair to Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition, Sony's two-disc release of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Warner's Othello (1965) and Paramount's Gunsmoke: Season Two, Volume One and Rawhide: Season Two, Volume Two. Enjoy.

Also today, just a quick note: For those of you who have asked us about the availability of larger sizes of our Digital Bits Anamorphic Widescreen T-shirts, we've just gotten in a limited stock of them in sizes 2XL and 3XL (white only). Click here to order if you're interested.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/22/08 - 6:15 PM PST)

You know, some things just suck to have to report. This is one of them.

Obviously, there's very sad news this evening. It seems that actor Heath Ledger has died at the age of 28. There's not a lot of details available yet, other than that he was found dead in his New York City apartment today. Ledger was recently nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Brokeback Mountain. He also starred in The Patriot and A Knight's Tale among other films, and will be featured as The Joker in Warner's The Dark Knight in July. He was currently in the middle of filming on director Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

First, this is obviously shocking news. We were all pretty stunned around here when we heard of it late this afternoon. Ledger was a very talented actor, and from everything we've heard he was a pretty decent human being too. It's a real shame - terribly sad news, especially when you consider that he has a daughter that's just a few years old. Ugh.

The other thing we can't help thinking this evening is just completely trivial, but as film fans we just can't help thinking it: Man, Terry Gilliam just can't catch a break. I mean, seriously.

Anyway, sorry to end the day on such a sad note, but there it is. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/22/08 - 1:15 PM PST)

Okay... we're naturally getting a bunch of e-mails today with questions about the NPD charts we posted this morning (click here for the permalink to the charts), and the raw data they were based on. So we wanted to post a follow-up.

For the record, we didn't get the charts from NPD... we created them ourselves based on the actual NPD unit sales data. And here, in the interest of transparency, is that actual sales data. Again, these numbers do NOT include the PS3 or the Xbox 360 add-on drive - these are just straight set-top players.

Here's how the January Week 1 unit sales looked for each format (week ending 1/5)...

Blu-ray Disc - 15,257 units
HD-DVD - 14,558 units

That was prior to the Warner announcement, which came on 1/4. Now here's how the January Week 2 unit sales data for each format looked AFTER the announcement (for the week ending 1/12)...

Blu-ray Disc - 21,770 units
HD-DVD - 1,758 units

As you can see, the HD-DVD player numbers dropped dramatically. However, it's also true that 21,770 isn't a doubling of the 15,257 of the previous week, so we stand corrected on the Blu-ray comment - Blu-ray player sales did not double, but they did increase significantly. It was always our intention that the data would speak for itself, which is why we were very careful in accurately creating the pie charts, and it's why we're posting the unit sales data for you now. We think the data DOES speak for itself, but now you can all draw your own conclusions.

While we're at it, here are the unit sales numbers for the month of December as well (weeks ending 12/8 to 12/29)...

Blu-ray Disc - 115,132 units
HD-DVD - 76,148 units

So there you go. FYI, we will post the numbers for the second half of January as they become available, to track how sales of both formats are affected by the various recent sales and discounts.

Discuss...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/22/08 - 12:15 PM PST)

How's about some more new title release announcements? We've got a bunch of them for you this afternoon.

First, 20th Century Fox has just revealed the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Hitman on 3/11. The film will be available as a single-disc edition in two versions - a 93-minute Theatrical Edition and a 94-minute Unrated Edition (SRP $29.98), each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the Unrated version also includes DTS 5.1). Extras on each include 4 deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Also available will be a 2-disc Hitman: Digital Copy Unrated Special Edition DVD (SRP $34.98) will include all of the single-disc extras, along with 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes (In the Crosshairs, Digital Hits and Settling the Score), 6 Instruments of Destruction featurettes (Para-Ordinance P18.9, Blaser R93 LRS2, MM16, FN F2000, Micro Uzi and M240), a gag reel and the Digital Copy version of the film compatible with Macs, PCs, laptops, iPods and other portable devices. Finally, the Hitman: Unrated Special Edition Blu-ray Disc (SRP $39.98) will include all of the above bonus content on one Blu-ray Disc, along with a standard DVD disc that includes the Digital Copy version. Audio on the Blu-ray will be English DTS HD 5.1, along with French DTS 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1.

Meanwhile, Disney will release its mostly live-action fantasy Enchanted on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/18. The DVD (SRP $19.95) will be available in separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions. Extras will include deleted scenes, bloopers, 3 Fantasy Comes to Life featurettes and the Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure game. The Blu-ray (SRP $34.99) will include all of the DVD features along with The D-Files interactive viewing option which allows you to spot all of the references to Disney classics hidden in the film.

Sony has announced the DVD release of What Love Is and The Good Night on 4/1.

Universal has set a Serial Mom: Collector's Edition for release on 5/6 (SRP $19.98). The studio is also re-issuing The Car and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on DVD on 5/6 (SRP also $19.98 each).

Criterion has announced a pair of new DVD releases for April, including Juan Antonio Bardem's Death of a Cyclist (Cat #472 - due 4/22) and Allen Baron's Blast of Silence (#428 - due 4/15).

Lionsgate has revealed its March release slate, set to include The Kill Point and Left for Dead on 3/4, the Leprechaun Triple Feature (including Leprechaun, Leprechaun 2 and Leprechaun 3) and Crave on 3/11, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, Don't Drink the Water and 8 Horrorfest titles - Borderland, Mulberry Street, Deaths of Ian Stone, Nightmare Man, Unearthed, Lake Dead, Crazy Eights and Tooth and Nail - on 3/18, and finally James Clavell's Noble House, the Alain Delon 5-Film Collection (including Diaboliquement Votre, Le Gitan, La Piscine, Notre Histoire and La Veuve De Couderc) and Wristcutters: A Love Story on 3/25.

Manga will release a Tactics Box Set on 2/12 (SRP $49.98) containing all 5 volumes of the anime series on DVD. For those who already own the first four volumes, Tactics: Volume 5 will be available separately on 3/11 (SRP $24.97).

Finally, Paramount has announced some new TV titles for release in April and May from its various umbrella companies, including A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila: The Complete Unrated First Season and Melrose Place: The Fourth Season (4/15), Laverne & Shirley: The Complete Fourth Season (4/22), Beverly Hills 90210: The Fourth Season, Celebration of Gospel: Spirit in Song, Cheers: The Ninth Season, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is and The Big Gay Sketch Show: The Complete Second Season (all 4/29), African American Lives 2, Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire Volume 3, The 4400: The Fourth Season and The Invaders: Season One (all 5/6), and Mission: Impossible - The Fourth TV Season, The Animation Show: Volume 3 and Backyardigans: High Flying Adventures (on 5/11).

And to close things out this afternoon, we have a couple notes from around the Net...

The online comic Penny Arcade has a funny strip up at the moment that should give those of you who recall Divx (not the video codec but the pay-per-view disc format) a laugh.

This article has nothing to do with the format war or DVD, but it should induce a bit of a horrified gasp when you read it - especially those of you working at a desk in a cubicle in some nameless office park. And to think, keeping his red Swingline stapler was once Milton's biggest worry...

We unintentionally neglected this sad news over the last couple weeks, but we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing Suzanne Pleshette, Brad Renfro, Allan Melvin and Johnny Grant. They will all, of course, be missed.

Finally, as we mentioned earlier, the Oscar nominations were announced this morning up in Hollywood. Vying for the Best Picture nod this year are Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. You can read the complete list here at CNN.

We'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell, featuring 14 new disc reviews. Until then... stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/22/08 - 12:01 AM PST)

Yeah, I know it's actually 7 PM on Monday evening. So what. Let's get an early start on our Tuesday morning post. Why? Because why the heck not? Plus, it'll save me having to get up at 5 AM, and it'll give you something to read over your morning coffee too. That's what they call a two-fer.

Real quick, before we get started: Our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. So if you're a cover art connoisseur, and we know that many of you are, enjoy.

Okay... so the latest hardware sales data from market research firm NPD Group is in, and it reveals that - as one would expect - HD-DVD player sales have also been impacted by the news of Warner's decision to drop the format later this year. One quick note: The data that follows does NOT include sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 or the HD-DVD add-on drive for Microsoft's Xbox 360. These are stand-alone, set-top players only.

First up, let's look at the month of December (weeks ending 12/8 to 12/29), along with the first two weeks of January (weeks ending 1/5 and 1/12)...

NPD - High-Def Hardware Sales

As you can see, Blu-ray Disc players outsold HD-DVD players in the month of December here in the States by about a 60/40 margin, and that split has grown to 70/30 in favor of Blu-ray in the first half of January. This despite the fact that HD-DVD players were (on average) some $200 cheaper than Blu-ray players throughout the holiday shopping season.

But the most striking revelation in the data is the change in the hardware sales ratios between the first and second weeks of January (ending 1/5 and 1/12), reflecting the impact of Warner's announcement (and the mainstream media reaction). The graphs below show player sales for each format both before and after Warner's 1/4 press release...

NPD - High-Def Hardware Sales

As you can see, HD-DVD player sales dropped dramatically in the week after Warner's announcement, while Blu-ray Disc player sales nearly doubled over the same period.

Nevertheless, Universal Studios Home Entertainment EVP of high-def strategic marketing, Ken Graffeo (also the co-president of the North American HD-DVD Promotional Group), continues to emphasize his studio's support of HD-DVD in a new interview with BetaNews. Among the comments Graffeo makes, he says that in the wake of Warner's decision to drop HD-DVD, retailers "want to wait for what the consumer does. We've always said we want to follow the consumer." He later adds, "Where the consumer has a say is what they do and what they purchase. That's probably the biggest statement that could be made." And once more, near the end of the piece: "I think anything is possible, and again it comes back to the consumer who has the final voice." Given this, it will be interesting to see what Universal does if the hardware and software sales numbers continue to favor Blu-ray going forward in 2008.

Graffeo also comments thusly on recent rumors (which The Bits, Daily Variety and other publications have reported), to the effect that Universal may change its high-def support status by the end of 2008: "First of all, I want to say that none of those rumors were substantiated. Nobody ever talked to us." For the record, when we attempted to contact Graffeo for an interview on this very subject upon returning from CES, we were told the following: "No one at Universal is commenting on or off the record on this subject currently."

In addition, we'd like to point out that nothing in this interview precludes Universal from announcing a move to support Blu-ray at some later date in 2008. What Graffeo says is: "This is business as usual for us and there are no plans to make any changes." You'll recall that Warner had no plans to abandon their dual format strategy... until the day they suddenly did. The same could be said for Paramount and DreamWorks last year, when they decided to support HD-DVD exclusively - a change of policy so sudden that even most of their own employees didn't know about it until the morning it was announced. You can be sure that Universal will continue to officially have no plans. Until they suddenly do.

In terms of news 'round the Net today, Oscar nominations are due in later this morning. Not sure if anyone still cares. Not even sure if we still do, but you know, we have to report such things.

In other news, There Will Be Blood is a pretty damn great little flick, in case you were wondering. Matt and I checked it out on Saturday. I'm betting Daniel Day-Lewis will be among the names revealed later this morning.

Also today, Cloverfield has already turned a profit, or so they say. And here's that Star Trek teaser trailer we mentioned on Friday, all sparkly and official like. Enjoy.

Stay tuned...

1/21/08

Well... here we go, folks. The HD-DVD format seems to have taken a pretty big sales hit following Warner's pre-CES announcement that they're dropping the format altogether in May. Home Media has posted the digital version of this week's issue, and here's the graph...

Nielsen/VideoScan data

The drop for the week is more than 50% of the previous week's sales. Things aren't much better on the hardware side either. We missed this when it was first posted, but Business Week reported last week that word at CES was that HD-DVD player sales were already being impacted by Blu-ray's gaining momentum during and immediately after the Christmas holiday:

"Industry watchers were abuzz with reports that retailers were seeing heavy return rates on HD DVD players since Christmas after buyers realized many of the movies they wanted were only on Blu-ray."

Keep in mind, that was prior to Warner's announcement, which likely also caused no small numbers of returns. The industry is now closely watching the hardware numbers (the latest NPD Group market research data should be in soon) to see what it reveals.

Along these lines, we've got a new Rumor Mill post today with some unofficial details of all that we're hearing from within the industry on this format war, so be sure to check it out.

There are also a few quick reports from around the Net today. The first is from The Edmonton Journal, which discusses Blu-ray's market domination over HD-DVD in the Japanese market. The original report is here.

Video Business also has a piece up on how smaller retailers are adjusting their high-def plans to favor Blu-ray in the wake of Warner's move toward the format.

Then there's this... a video report from CNN in London featuring an interview with Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Stephen Pope, who suggests that WalMart is going to stop carrying HD-DVD players in their stores.

Finally, DealerScope is reporting that Best Buy will be offering their customers additional incentives to pick Blu-ray over HD-DVD - $10 gift cards with the purchase of any two Blu-ray movies and $25 with the purchase of any three Blu-ray movies. The original report is here at Punch Jump.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/18/08 - 10:30 AM PST)

RAWRRRRR!

Sorry, couldn't resist. I saw that somewhere the other day and it made me laugh. ;)

Okay... so, Cloverfield. Matt and I (and Todd in Atlanta) all went out and caught Midnight screenings of the film last night. Turns out it's pretty good. Here's your basic plot (don't worry, there are no real spoilers in this review): A bunch of New York City twenty-somethings are at a going away party for one of their friends, who's moving to Japan. One of his buddies is videotaping the festivities for him to watch later. Suddenly, something big and nasty starts attacking the city, and the buddy keeps taping. Soon they're all running through the streets trying to escape Manhattan as the beastie rampages and whatnot. But oh-no! Party guy's sort-of girlfriend calls his cell (don't worry, it's all explained in like the first ten minutes). She's hurt and needs his help! So he goes back into the city to save her, and some of his buddies go with him, and naturally all hell breaks lose around them. And the whole thing plays as if you're part of the government team that found the camera later, so you're reviewing the footage after the fact.

The premise of the film has been called Godzilla meets Blair Witch Project, and yep... that's about right. As utterly derivative as the concept is, however, the most surprising thing is that it hasn't been done already. It's such an obvious take on the genre. It's actually quite entertaining too, with deft direction, mostly decent acting, solid CG effects and even some genuinely creepy and jolting moments along the way.

If I had any criticisms of Cloverfield, it's that it's about half an hour too short. It's only got a run time of 90 minutes, and it feels like about half of that is end credits (really only ten minutes or so, but you get the idea). This thing needed to have about half an hour of additional story, with maybe a few more characters and twists and kills along the way to really draw out the tension. And I also wish it had a little bit of a more satisfying payoff. Still, for what it is, Cloverfield works pretty well. Don't go in expecting the reinvention of the cinema or anything, because this ain't it. Or if it is, the cinema's gonna leave you wanting for a lot more substance from here on out, I'm afraid. But this is a film that, surprisingly, nearly lives up to its hype... and it's a pretty good little ride. We're betting it's gonna make a TON of money.

As for the Star Trek teaser trailer... it is indeed a tease. I kinda dig the vibe though, and I'm cautiously starting to think that maybe J.J. Abrams and company actually GET it. At the screening we went to last night, the trailer even elicited a few cheers from the kids, which I didn't expect given that Matt and I were by far the oldest guys in the joint. Do the kids even know what Star Trek is these days? Huh. Anyway, Christmas 2008 is a long way off. So I guess we'll see eventually. Watch for the trailer online later this weekend here (and in the meantime, our friend Anthony covers it pretty well over at Trek Movie).

By the way, if you do go see Cloverfield, don't sit too close to the screen. Just trust me. That was a little advice for Matt and I from Todd last night (thanks to the three hour time difference), and it was well followed. Imagine someone grabbing your head and shaking it for like 75 minutes straight and you'll get the gist.

Okay... so let's talk release news. Sony has just announced the DVD debut of Lonesome Dove: Comanche Moon as a 2-disc DVD (SRP $29.95). Yeah, that's that thing that was on CBS the other night with the guy from Lord of the Rings... who, as it happens, is also playing young Dr. McCoy on Star Trek. I hear the miniseries was pretty decent, but I don't know. I missed like the first 14 Lonesome Dove shows, so you know. You don't just want to jump in there right at the end.

Meanwhile, Fox has set American Dad: Volume Three for release on 4/15. They also just re-released Family Guy presents Blue Harvest on DVD complete with "Digital Copy for iTunes" on 1/15. Look for a little sticker on the front.

And Warner has set August Rush for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/11. The HD-DVD version will follow on 4/1. Warner will also release Echo and Other Elephants, the 2-disc David Attenborough: Wildlife Specials (includes Polar Bear: Arctic Warrior, Crocodile: Smiling Predator, Leopard: Agent of Darkness, Eagle: Master of the Skies, Humpback Whale: Giant of the Oceans, Wolf: Legendary Outlaw, Great Natural Wonders of the World and Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth - SRP $29.98) and The BBC Natural History Collection (includes Planet Earth, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, The Life of Mammals and The Life of Birds on 17 discs - SRP $199.92) all for the BBC on 4/1.

Stay tuned...

1/17/08

Morning, folks. We thought we'd check in a little early today. Just in case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out last night's post too, which features some good new upcoming release announcements.

Speaking of upcoming releases, we've just gotten word that Warner will deliver the I Am Legend: Special Edition on 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/18, with the HD-DVD version due to follow a few weeks later in early April (street date is TBA). Additional details on pricing and extras are expected to be announced shortly.

While you're coffee is still steaming this morning, we thought you might also enjoy a few new disc reviews, including Todd Doogan's take on Anchor Bay's new The Evil Deal: Ultimate Edition... also known affectionately around our offices as The Evil Dead: Are You F--king Kidding Me? Edition. Also available for your reading pleasure this morning are Peter Schorn's comments on the BBC's stunning Planet Earth: The Complete Series on Blu-ray and HD-DVD (distributed by Warner), as well as Jeff Kleist's two cents on Fox's Prison Break: Season One on Blu-ray. Enjoy!

Also this morning, in news around the Net, Home Media has a story up on the recent new announcements of HD-DVD titles following the news out of CES. And right there at the tail end of the piece may be the first official signal of declining sales for the format - the canary in the coal mine so to speak:

"The product announcements come in a week when the top 10 high-definition disc sellers are all Blu-ray Disc releases, according to an analysis of Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales numbers by Home Media Magazine’s market research department.

Net HD DVD sales, according to Nielsen, constituted only 15% of hi-def disc sales last week. And the top HD DVD seller, The Kingdom, sold just 10% as many copies as the top Blu-ray Disc release, 3:10 to Yuma."


This would presumably be for the week ending 1/13, and thus would be the first actual reporting data potentially reflecting the impact that the Warner announcement may have on HD-DVD software sales.

Stay tuned...

1/16/08

Okay... we've got a couple things to report this evening...

First, Warner has revealed that the Twister: Special Edition will be among the studio's last HD-DVD catalog releases. It's just been officially announced for DVD and Blu-ray on 5/6, and the HD-DVD version is now slated to follow on 5/27. Given that Warner's HD-DVD support ends on 5/31, that would seem to be it. The DVD will sell for SRP $20.97, with the high-def versions selling for $28.99 each. Extras on all three versions will include audio commentary by director Jan DeBont and visual effects supervisor Stefan Fangmeier, 2 featurettes (Chasing the Storm: Twister Revisited and Anatomy of a Twister), HBO's First Look special The Making of Twister, the 2003 History Channel special Nature Tech: Tornadoes, Van Halen's Humans Being music video and theatrical trailers.

Meanwhile, Sony has revealed a Midnight Express: 30th Anniversary Edition for release on DVD on 2/5 (SRP $19.94). Extras will include audio commentary with director Alan Parker, a pair of featurettes, a photo gallery and a booklet with photos and liner notes.

As we've reported previously, Universal will release American Gangster in 3 versions... and we now have a street date: 2/19. Look for a 2-disc Unrated Extended DVD (SRP $29.98), a 3-Disc Unrated Extended Collector's Edition DVD ($34.98) and a single-disc DVD/HD-DVD combo version ($39.98). The 2-disc Unrated Extended DVD will include the film with audio commentary by director Ridley Scott and writer Steven Zaillian, an alternate opening to the film, the 5-part Fallen Empire: Making American Gangster documentary (includes Tru-Blu: The Real Story, Killer Threads: Costumes, Crime War: Production, Into the Arena: Ali vs. Frazier and Rhythm of the Street: Sound, Music and Editing), 3 Case Files featurettes (Script Meeting, Heroin Test Show & Tell, Setting Up the Takedown) and a deleted scene (Frank and Eva's Wedding). The 3-disc Collector's Edition will include all of the above, along with the BET Special: The Making of American Gangster, Dateline NBC: American Gangster First Look, the Hip-Hop Infusion featurette, Second Session Digital Files, the film's theatrical trailer, 2 music videos (Blue Magic by Jay Z and Do You Feel Me by Anthony Hamilton featuring Ghostface Killah) and an elaborate insert booklet. Strangely, it seems that the DVD/HD-DVD version will feature only some of the extras, including the alternate opening, deleted scenes, PiP options, the commentary with director Ridley Scott and writer Steven Zaillian and something called Uncovering the Past: The Real Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. So it sounds like if you want everything, you have to buy at least two versions.

Also, Paramount will release the CG animated Beowulf on DVD and HD-DVD on 2/26. The DVD will be available in single-disc theatrical and 2-disc director's cut editions (SRP $29.99 each), as well as a 2-disc HD-DVD (SRP $39.99). The 2-disc DVD will include the A Hero’s Journey: The Making of Beowulf documentary, 4 featurettes (Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf, The Origins of Beowulf, Creating the Ultimate Beowulf and The Art of Beowulf) as well as deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. The HD-DVD will include an In the Volume PiP track, web enabled features, the A Hero's Journey: The Making of Beowulf documentary complete with interactive features, The 10-part The Journey Continues documentary, 5 featurettes (Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf, The Origins of Beowulf, Creating the Ultimate Beowulf, The Art of Beowulf and A Conversation with Robert Zemeckis), along with deleted scenes. All video extras on the HD-DVD will be in high-def.

And in news around the Net today, word out of the Adult Video News (AVN) convention in Las Vegas is that the porn industry is starting to lean heavily Blu after Warner's decision. There are now reports that Digital Playground may be dropping HD-DVD by the end of the year. You can read more here at TG Daily and here at Geerlog.

Finally this morning, no less a consumer authority than The Economist magazine has just weighed in on the high-def format war in the wake of CES. Their verdict? "It is possible that HD DVD will live on as a data-storage technology for computers, suggests Eiichi Katayama of Nomura, an investment bank. But as far as the living room is concerned, HD DVD now looks like the new Betamax."

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/15/08 - 5 PM PST)

Hey, how's about a nice Hawaiian Punch? Or maybe some new title announcements? The latter we can do...

Warner has just announced the DVD release of National Geographic's Eden at the End of the World and National Geographic's Six Degrees Could Change the World (both due 4/8), National Geographic's Human Footprint (4/15) and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim's Robot Chicken: Star Wars (5/20 - SRP $14.97).

Meanwhile, Universal will release Country Remedy on DVD on 4/29.

And Fox is planning to release The Seeker on DVD on 3/18. As we mentioned earlier, Fox has delayed Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on Blu-ray from 2/5 until June, at which time it will be part of a Father's Day Blu-ray promotion set to include Mrs. Doubtfire, Patton, The Longest Day, The Sand Pebbles, A Bridge Too Far and Battle of Britain among other titles. Also, word is the studio is prepping Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for DVD and Blu-ray release on 3/4, as well as Predator for Blu-ray release on 4/15. The latter is timed to coincide with the eventual DVD and Blu-ray release of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (TBA, but you can reasonably expect it sometime in April as well).

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/15/08 - 1:45 PM PST)

As you might expect, there are more high-def format war stories appearing around the Net this week, and so we wanted to comment today on a few of them, as many of you have been asking us about them via e-mail.

First though, credit where credit is due: Antone Gonsalves of InformationWeek has corrected the error in his story online (as we mentioned in last night's post). Blu-ray players can indeed upconvert standard DVD video to near high-def quality. Thanks to Antone for doing that.

Okay, there are rumors flying around the Net - seeming to originate from columnist Don Lindich in this piece at The Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Saturday - that prior to Warner's defection, the HD-DVD camp had nearly won both Fox and Warner over to their side, but the BDA reportedly paid Fox $120 million to stay in the Blu-ray camp at the "11th hour." This story has been spread around the Net in various movie and tech blogs, particularly those that have leaned towards HD-DVD thus far. Now, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: We're certainly not going to disparage Lindich for making the choice he did and standing by it. We obviously chose a side in this format war and stood by it too, because we (like Don) believed it was the right thing to do by our readers, and so we respect him 100% for having the courage of his convictions. 100%. But there are a few details in his original piece that readers have asked us to comment on today.

First of all, this is a format war. So not surprisingly, the main rule at play thus far with these two camps has seemed to be: "All's fair in love and war." For all the talk about how Warner must surely only have bitten the blue pill due to huge payoffs from the BDA (something Warner's Ron Sanders and others have repeatedly denied, I might add), does anyone really think that the HD-DVD camp didn't offer an equally "green" red pill to Warner to go HD-DVD only? And apparently also to Fox, according to Lindich's original story?

Second, I'll again point out that the HD-DVD camp did the exact same thing with Paramount and DreamWorks last year, to the tune of $150 million. And we're now hearing that they MAY be trying to do it again, to keep the remaining HD-DVD studios loyal in the wake of Warner's decision. So this would seem to be a case of "what goes around comes around." As we noted last week, you may recall that, at the time, Paramount simply cancelled many Blu-ray titles that had already been solicited with retailers. Warner is not only still releasing the HD-DVD titles it's announced, but it's releasing more that haven't yet been announced. The bottom line is that HD-DVD enthusiasts have until 5/31 to enjoy titles from Warner on that format, and there are still MAJOR Warner titles on HD-DVD that have yet to be released on Blu-ray.

Finally, as to these rumors about Fox... does anyone REALLY believe Fox would have flipped to the HD-DVD camp after all their talk about how important Blu-ray's added BD+ copy protection was? As some of you might recall, Fox actually delayed releasing titles on Blu-ray for a period of many months last year in order to wait for BD+ to be finalized. And all this was happening while AACS decryption keys were being extracted from HD-DVD releases and posted online. Fox has been one of the most vocal supporters of Blu-ray. The idea that they would suddenly flip to HD-DVD exclusivity, when software of their preferred format is not only more protected in their eyes but has also been outselling HD-DVD for over a year now, is completely absurd. That would be like a marathon runner with a significant lead at mile twenty-four suddenly deciding to sit down for a coffee break before finishing the race. The belief that Fox was about to go HD-DVD only may simply have been a case of wishful thinking, but wishing does not make it so.

As it happens, I've actually spoken about this today with Fox's senior VP of corporate and marketing communications, Steve Feldstein, who echoed something Warner's Ron Sanders has also said in recent days: "The kind of money they're talking about [in these stories] isn't worth jeopardizing a multi-billion dollar business." In other words, payoffs would not have impacted Fox and Warner's decisions. Feldstein also told me that when The Pittsburgh Post Gazette piece broke, he contacted Lindich immediately to let him know that he was being misled by someone. When Don posted the same piece on his own blog, it was edited to reflect this. Specifically, the references to $120 million and $500 million payoffs were gone - something that's worthy of note.

While we're on the subject of Fox today, we've got two more quick notes for you. First, the rumors that were going around at CES (to the effect that Apple's Steve Jobs may announced Macs with Blu-ray drives at MacWorld this week) appear to have been just that. However, it HAS been announced at the conference that Apple and Fox have agreed to make Fox's Digital Copy technology available to users of Apple's iTunes and video iPods. So going forward, when you buy Fox DVDs that feature Digital Copy, you'll be able to transfer a legal copy of the movie from the disc into iTunes and then on to your iPod, iPhone, etc. You can read the official press release here.

The other Fox note today pertains to the anticipated release of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on Blu-ray Disc, which had been set for 2/5. TCFHE's marketing team has apparently decided to delay the title and bundle it with others as part of a large Father's Day promotion in June. Among the additional titles set to be included in this promotion are Mrs. Doubtfire, Patton, The Longest Day, The Sand Pebbles, A Bridge Too Far and Battle of Britain among others. The exact street dates and specs are TBA.

Okay... there's one other news story worth commenting on this afternoon: It's being reported by BetaNews and other sites that some current Blu-ray Disc players won't be able to play all the features on future Blu-ray Disc releases. This isn't really news, as it's been widely known for months now. It's true that many current stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players are not BD profile 1.1 or 2.0 compatible. All new players sold as of last November MUST be profile 1.1 ready. Stand-alone profile 2.0 players will be available in the next few months, beginning with Panasonic's BD-50. By the end of 2008, virtually all new Blu-ray players should be 2.0 compatible, and the issue will resolve itself. However, by far the largest base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in the hands of consumers is ALREADY future-proof... Sony's PlayStation 3. It's already been firmware updated to profile 1.1 compatibility, and it features a built-in Internet connection, making it ready for a future profile 2.0 firmware update as well (which Sony has confirmed is coming). As to the fact that some existing players aren't 1.1 and 2.0 ready, it's unfortunate. But it should be pointed out that both HD-DVD and Blu-ray were rushed to market because of the format war before they were ready. Anyone who was there at the beginning two years ago will recall that both formats have had plenty of technical issues to deal with. But let's put this into context. Anyone who was there are the beginning of DVD will recall similar issues. People who purchased the first DVD players weren't able to access the DTS audio on many DVDs a couple years later without buying a new player. Many early adopters also needed new players to take advantage of DVDs with RSDL layer switches and seamless branching. It's just part of the reality of being an early adopter that when you're among the first to buy any technology, new features may come along that require new hardware. The good news is that by the time more mainstream consumers buy in, most of these issues have been resolved. So if you've been sitting this format war out so far but are now interested in Blu-ray, the PlayStation 3 is your safest buy at the moment... or you can wait a little longer for reasonably priced profile 2.0 Blu-ray players which will be available in stores in the coming months.

One last note today... there's a viral video that's been circulating around the Net on YouTube since the weekend, related to the "decline" of a certain high-def format in the wake of Warner's recent decision. It uses footage from a recent foreign film with, shall we say, somewhat "revised" subtitles. We've been getting hundreds of e-mails about it, including from many of our friends at the studios and elsewhere around the home video industry, as it name checks The Bits. We're not going to link to it here, as the obvious comparison it makes between said high-def format and certain historical personages depicted in the video is... well, not in the best of taste. But yes, we have seen it. Yes, it is very clever. And yes, we did get a pretty good laugh out of it around here. 'Nuff said.

Man... it sure will be nice when this format war is FINALLY completely over, so we can just get back to talking about great movies. Fingers crossed, that'll happen sooner rather than later. Speaking of which, we'll be posting a few new disc reviews tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/14/08 - 4:45 PM PST)

InformationWeek has posted an interesting piece this afternoon on what Toshiba's strategy might now be with regards to continuing to push HD-DVD over the next few months. The gist that that by sticking to their guns, Tosh might be hoping that Sony will simply pay them to stop. Here's the relevant text:

Toshiba's latest announcement appeared to be aimed at saving face and building a better future bargaining position with Sony, Michael Greeson, president and principal analyst for The Diffusion Group, told InformationWeek.

Greeson has been fairly close to the HD-DVD camp in the last year, and as recently as mid December was saying that the "next wave of consumers" would decide the format war in favor of HD-DVD. We're guessing maybe not so much anymore. Still, he has an interesting point here. With over 70% of the Hollywood studios now aligned against HD-DVD, there isn't anyone left in this industry who seriously thinks Toshiba can win the format war. You can almost certainly expect hardware and software sales to shift strongly in favor of Blu-ray over the course of 2008, particularly as Warner begins to release Blu-ray exclusive titles in June. What Toshiba CAN still do, however, is delay the inevitable Blu-ray victory by continuing to talk tough, and encouraging Universal and Paramount to keep releasing HD-DVD software in the meantime. In fact, Universal could be adopting a similar strategy. By digging in their heels in support of HD-DVD in the next few months, the studio may be hoping that the BDA will make them a lucrative offer to back down before yet another holiday season is squandered by the continued perception of a format war. If true, this would be a cagey - and risky - strategy on the part of both Toshiba and Universal. On the other hand, having bet so heavily on the wrong horse, what else do they have left to lose? It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months.

We have one last quick comment on the InformationWeek story, which we feel is important to point out. It contains a MAJOR error. As of the time of this post, the story text features the following sentence: The advantage of the HD DVD model is that it can play a standard DVD at near high-definition quality, which Blu-ray players can't do. That's COMPLETELY untrue. We don't know if Greeson told the writer (Antone Gonsalves) this, or if Gonsalves just got it wrong. In any case, BOTH of them should have known better. Blu-ray players can upconvert standard DVDs too. We assume this was just an error, and not classic format war FUD. Regardless, we hope the text gets corrected soon.

Here at the site this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with the latest DVD and high-def releases. There's lots of new art and Amazon pre-order links, and keep in mind that every time you order something from Amazon after clicking to them through our links, you're helping to support our work here at the site. As always, we appreciate it.

Finally, we've kicked off TWO new Giveaways, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Sony's It Came from Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles from Earth and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, along with Warner's Two and Half Men: The Complete Second Season, The New Adventures of Old Christine: Season One, What's New Scooby Doo?; The Complete Season Three and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, and the BBC's Persuasion. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, January 27th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/14/08 - 11:45 AM PST)

Toshiba has come out swinging in the week after the loss of Warner at CES. Sources are telling us that they may have gotten Paramount and Universal to delay making any Blu-ray announcements for a couple of months (until late March or early April), and they've now dramatically slashed HD-DVD player prices again in what could amount to a last ditch effort to make something positive happen for the format. The $299.99 HD-A3 is now just $149.99 at Best Buy, Circuit City and other retailers, while the HD-A30 has dropped from $399.99 to $199.99, and the HD-A35 is down to $299.99 from $499.99. We're also hearing of large ad buys to try and motivate consumers. Toshiba says that these marketing initiatives are based on "strong fourth quarter sales in 2007 and mass market acceptance of HD DVD." Word within the industry however is that these sales were at least in part motivated by the retailers, eager to either move HD-DVD hardware, clear out shelf space or both. The key question is, will these units be restocked much when they're gone? You can read more here at Yahoo and here at Video Business.

Speaking of which, we've already heard from a few readers this morning who purchased HD-DVD players over the holidays, who are headed back to their local retailers to get refunds of the difference of what they paid and the new sale price. We wonder how many others will be trying this too...

On the Blu-ray side, Engadget is reporting that Buena Vista is including $10 rebate coupons in their Blu-ray versions of The Rock, Crimson Tide and Con Air, redeemable if you can prove that you've purchased the DVD version as well (presumably with UPCs from the discs).

Meanwhile, industry pressure for Toshiba to end the format war continues to mount. Home Media editor T.K. Arnold has just posted an editorial column calling for the remaining holdout studios to go Blu.

It's a slow day so far in terms of title announcements, but Sony has revealed a few new releases for March, including Sleuth on DVD and Blu-ray on 3/11, plus It's a Big, Big World: Healthy and Happy, It's a Big, Big World: Everybody's Different, April Fool's Day, Jimmy Carter Man from Plains, Party of Five: The Third Season and all five seasons of The Shield (recently acquired from Fox) on 3/25.

By the way, do you recall how on Friday I talked about Human Tetris, and wondered if Human Space Invaders was far behind? Yeah, turns out the same guy's already done Human Space Invaders, as well as Human Pong and Human Pole Position too. Go figure! Thanks to the many readers who e-mailed us with that news. Okay... time to throw down the gauntlet: Human Asteroids anyone?

Back with more later. Stay tuned...

1/11/08

We've got a couple new release announcements this morning.

First, Paramount has moved the street date for the DVD and HD-DVD versions of Into the Wild and Things We Lost in the Fire to 3/4 (from 2/14). I wouldn't read into this, as the date change is far more likely related to taking advantage of Oscar buzz and timing than anything to do with the format war.

Meanwhile, Warner has announced Johnson Family Dinner for release on DVD on 3/4 (SRP $19.97). Also due from Warner (for the BBC) is the recent 2007 production of Sense and Sensibility. Look for that on 4/8 in two versions - a regular 2-disc set (SRP $34.98) and a more elaborate 3-disc gift set ($49.98).

Also, Criterion has just announced the next installment in its excellent Eclipse line, which is Series 9: The Delirious Fictions of William Klein. The 3-disc set (SRP $35.96) will include The Model Couple, Who Are You, Polly Magoo? and Mr. Freedom.

By the way, Image Entertainment will release Before the Devil Knows You're Dead on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD on 4/15. They also have Mystery of the Nile (IMAX) coming on Blu-ray and HD-DVD on 5/20. And don't forget that Breaker Morant streets on Blu-ray and HD-DVD on 2/6. Great film that last one - we can't wait for it.

We've got a couple new reviews for you anime fans this morning. Our own Jeff Kleist has given Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade a spin on Blu-ray Disc from Bandai Visual, USA. Both are worth a look.

Also this morning, we haven't verified this in any way, so file it heavily in the Rumor Mill category. But our friends over at Blu-ray.com have learned at CES that THX is starting prep on a future Blu-ray release of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That would make sense, as Spielberg is known to prefer the BD format. It is, of course, a Paramount title.

Finally this morning, I saw this story over at Game Daily and thought it was interesting, given all the format war news of late. It seems that God of War creator David Jaffe is speaking out about how he thinks that a single unified console is the way the gaming industry ought to go in the future. The idea would be to have a single standard spec, that all the major CE manufacturers could create hardware and accessories for. That would allow game developers to spend less money on developing for multiple platforms, and more on the actual gaming experience. I happen to think he's right, but I'd be surprised if that EVER happened. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would NEVER go for it at this point. Regardless, Jaffe makes a good argument and it's an interesting read, especially in the context of other format wars.

Okay... one last note. Had to get this in here - a little something to give you a good laugh this morning. Filmmaker and performance artist Guillaume Reymond has produced a YouTube video featuring Human Tetris. Very clever. Surely Human Asteroids and Human Space Invaders can't be far behind? ;)

Stay tuned...


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