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DreamWorks sticking with HD DVD?

Even though every other major Hollywood studio has come out in support of the Blu-ray high definition disc format Reuters is reporting that DreamWorks, for the time being, is sticking with HD DVD. This despite the fact that Toshiba, the primary hardware backer of the format, has all but killed it off. The Digital Bits has what may be the possible reasoning behind this unusual decision. But first a little background information is necessary.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has been a bit wishy-washy when it comes to high definition content and his latest statement only exacerbates his track record. In March 2007 he said, “Blu-ray and HD DVD are a niche business. They’re not going to become the next platform”. Just five months later, and after accepting $100 million to release movies exclusively on HD DVD, Katzenberg called HD DVD a “game-changer” and “the best way to view movies at home”. Now with HD-DVD the declared loser in the HD disc war, Katzenberg is claiming they have no choice but to continue with the format. “We have a partnership with Toshiba and have an obligation to see this through. As you know, we have been well-compensated for our support. It really is in their court at this point to really declare what the next step will be”. He even claims they have left the decision about how to release their upcoming animated film up to Toshiba: “We said, we have a release coming up on Bee Movie. What would you like us to do?”

The Digital Bits warns that while what they are hearing is firmly in the rumor category, they may have an explanation of what is going on. “Very reliable sources are telling us that DreamWorks Animation is currently authoring and replicating multiple new titles on the Blu-ray format for release in the coming months, including Bee Movie. They’re also working on an official announcement of Blu-ray support. So why the new comments from Katzenberg? Well, our sources are hinting that as of the day Toshiba threw in the towel, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount hadn’t yet been paid the full $150 million they were promised for abandoning Blu-ray and supporting HD DVD exclusively… Both studios are reportedly negotiating with Toshiba as to just how much of the still unpaid amount they’ll receive for having remained loyal to the end. That’s why neither studio has officially announced new Blu-ray titles yet, and that’s why Katzenberg is still talking about loyalty to Toshiba.”

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