According to a Financial Times report, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation may be ready to drop support for the HD DVD format following last week’s shock announcement that Warner Bros. would support Blu-ray exclusively. Viacom-owned Paramount apparently signed a contract with the HD DVD camp that included a clause allowing it to switch sides in the format war if Warner Bros. should do so.
Last summer, Paramount, which distributes DreamWorks Animation films, threw its support behind the HD DVD format, joining General Electric’s Universal Studios as the main backer of the format. Warner joined the ranks of Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last week when it switched sides to back the Blu-ray format instead.
Paramount is expected to release several blockbuster titles this year including the latest installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. It is unclear whether DreamWorks Animation had the same clause in its contract as Paramount but the odds are high due to the close relationship between both. Each company signed a contract with the HD DVD group at the same time.
So far, Universal has declined to comment on Warner’s decision last week. Meanwhile, Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony, reached out to HD DVD saying the company was “open to dialogue”. “We are not going to push people around. We’ll talk to anyone . . . we have a lot of work to do to grow the market. We’ll be systematic and open to dialogue at all times,” he stated.