updated 11:20 am EST, Fri February 29, 2008
DreamWorks Free From HDDVD
The last major movie studio bound to HD DVD, DreamWorks SKG, has been officially released from its obligation to produce movies in the now obsolete HD format, according to a statement by the company. The Hollywood business had previously said it was locked into a contract to produce high-resolution movies only in the format but now reveals that it will cancel the vast majority of its scheduled HD DVD releases effective immediately. This includes imminent releases such as the CG animated title Bee Movie, which was due March 11th.
DreamWorks' parent studio Paramount has also said it would cancel the majority of its own schedule, with two last HD DVD titles -- Into the Wild as well as Things We Lost in the Fire - shipping on March 4th.
However, neither DreamWorks nor Paramount is expected to resume publishing HD titles until they begin offering Blu-ray titles in the summer, according to reports. No explanation has been given for the delay, though both companies were subject to a long-term contract with Toshiba and HD DVD promoters that barred either movie house from producing Blu-ray titles. Technical issues are possible but less likely given the existence of some shared audio and video formats between Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.
The other previously HD DVD-exclusive major studio, Universal, switched quickly to Blu-ray courtesy of its contract-free support for HD DVD.