DVD & Blu-ray Interesting News

Michael Bay off Transformers 2?

It would appear that Michael Bay is upset again.

Bay Forum Post

After the huge success of Transformers (and his dispute with some producers on the film) he now appears to be angry at Paramount’s recent decision to drop support for the Blu-ray DVD format.

Posting on a forum on his website he says:

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!

Unless there is some joker with access to Michael Bay’s login I’m guessing this is real.

Given that Transformers was Paramount’s biggest live action hit this summer and their best hope for a genuine franchise over the next 5 years, losing the director would be a big blow.

But even more puzzling is the decision for Paramount and DreamWorks Animation to go exclusively down the HD-DVD route.

According to Variety, DreamWorks Animation hasn’t released any movies in HD DVD. They even quote head honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg saying back in March that:

“Blu-Ray and HD DVD are a niche business. They’re not going to become the next platform. I think for the general consumer, there is not a big enough delta between the standard DVD in terms of where it is today and the next generation.”

But on Monday he says:

“We believe the combination of this year’s low-priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.”

At the moment Blu-Ray outsells HD-DVD but surely it makes sense for a studio to sell titles in both formats?

Whatever short term deals Paramount may have struck with HD-DVD miss the bigger picture. With emerging DVD formats shouldn’t they be making it easy for the customer to decide what they want?

Imagine you have just expensively upgraded your HD television and have invested in a Blu-Ray DVD player. Now Paramount is effectively saying “sorry you can’t watch our movies”.

As one poster on the Bay forum puts it:

Wow. I’m both surprised and glad to hear you say that, Bay. I have a Blu-ray player and was more than a little disappointed today to find out that I wouldn’t be able to get my favorite film of 2007 on it.

Why the hell would Paramount give up 66% of their HD profit (Blu-ray outsells HD DVD by about 2:1)? Their decision makes no sense to me. Oh well, if Microsoft were to give me $150 million, I’d probably bark like a dog too!

Michael: Could you please yell at some Paramount idiots for me?

For commercially successful film makers like Michael Bay (and even those not churning out big hits) will they really want to make films for a studio who are effectively limiting DVD distribution to one format?

** UPDATE **

Bay has now posted this on his site saying he over reacted in his initial post:

Last night at dinner I was having dinner with three blu-ray owners, they were pissed about no Transformers Blu-ray and I drank the kool aid hook line and sinker.

So at 1:30 in the morning I posted – nothing good ever comes out of early am posts mind you – I over reacted.

I heard where Paramount is coming from and the future of HD and players that will be close to the $200 mark which is the magic number. I like what I heard.

As a director, I’m all about people seeing films in the best quality possible, and I saw and heard firsthand people upset about a corporate decision.

So today I saw 300 on HD, it rocks!

So I think I might be back on to do Transformers 2!

But why do I get the feeling both formats will still ultimately lose if the studios persist in exclusive deals?

> Check out the forum at Michael Bay’s website
> Read an article by Walt Mossberg of the WSJ on the DVD format war