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Universal Pictures' Blu-ray Strategy

By: Ben Gourlay | Editorials in HT & Movies | Posted: May 22, 2008 4:00 am

A Look At Universal Pictures' Blu-ray Strategy - In Closing


Universal have also announced one more Blu-ray title; this years megaflop Doomsday, coming out on July 29th in the U.S. The disc also features a generous extras package, including DTS HD Master Audio and a picture in picture making of.


I know of at least one currently unannounced Universal Blu-ray in production, which I am not allowed to name. What I can reveal however, is that whilst the HD-DVD was no slouch, Universal have gone above and beyond that and are creating some admittedly non-groundbreaking, but nonetheless significant extras which will make fans of the movie quite happy. What I can say is that it will feature similar upgrades as The Mummy; DTS HD Master Audio and a picture in picture making of, where there were none on the HD-DVD, in addition to the features that were included on that release.


Of course, the home video industry is a business just like any other, and the name of the game is to make as much money as possible. If that means selling the same movies over and over again, then so be it. I would argue that most early adopters that bought into the HD-DVD format have either already bought into Blu-ray, or intend to. So whilst it is in the interests of Universal to make a more appealing Blu-ray disc of a previously released HD-DVD disc, thereby selling it again, any movie fan worth their weight will want to see the film with upgraded visuals and aural quality (the latter at least a certainty), and will probably see benefit in re-purchasing many Universal films on Blu-ray.



Universal hold one of the largest film catalogues in the world, including the vast majority of Steven Spielberg films, such as Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Spielberg was, and still is an advocate of Blu-ray over HD-DVD. He threw his weight to ensure that none of his films were released on HD-DVD, but gave his blessing, and participation in the Blu-ray release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was released late last year. Spielberg even went so far as to force the HD-DVD consortium to issue a retraction when they 'accidently' included the aforementioned three films on their HD-DVD coming soon list, and on a trade show Power Point presentation, when the format war was at its hottest.


By years end, Universal estimate that they will have around 40 Blu-ray discs on the international market, including releases of both seasons of TV hit Heroes, and summer blockbusters The Incredible Hulk and Hellboy II. As I mentioned in the outset, they do have a lot of ground to make-up, but if they keep to the kind of standard they have started with then Universal might finally make it up to Blu-ray fanboys.


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