There’s more fallout today from yesterday’s announcement that Paramount has gone from supporting both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats to just the losing high-def format HD. An obviously vexed Michael Bay wrote in a forum posting on his “Shoot for the Edit” website that he will not make a Transformers sequel because of it. “I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me!” Bay’s outburst is thought to be the first time a director has openly criticised a studio for its choice of high-def formats. And this’ll come as a surprise to the studio bosses who have been salivating over the brand new franchise. My question to Paramount is: was the $50 million I reported for the deal really worth it?
Meanwhile, I hear that Paramount’s decision could also cause problems with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas over the Indiana Jones franchise. I’ve got more clarification about the helmer’s format fence-sitting position which was highlighted in that one line notation yesterday. Spielberg’s Paramount movies like Saving Private Ryan and War of the Worlds are not included in that studio’s HD DVD deal. Nor will the director give permission to Universal to include his titles (like Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park) in that studio’s long-time exclusive support of the HD DVD format. Spielberg, in fact, is so touchy on this format-choosing subject that, back in February, the so-called HD DVD Promotions Group issued and then retracted a “coming soon” list of several of his titles, tacking on this abject apology. People around the director keep emphasizing that Spielberg is a “big supporter” of Blu-ray, even if Universal and now Paramount don’t. The only Spielberg pic in the high-def pipeline on either format is Sony’s fall release in Blu-ray of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind timed to its 30th anniversary. Specifically for Close Encounters Blu-ray, Spielberg approved the new high-def transfer, recorded a new intro and OKed a storyboard comparison.
See my previous: Desperation Move & Cash Grab? Or Bloodier Blu-ray/HD-DVD War?