The gloves are off. Backers of the high-definition Blu-ray Disc format are staging a two-day offensive in Hollywood this week, touting their triumphs and offering previews of upcoming releases such as Cars, Ratatouille, the "Die Hard" movies, Dirty Dancing and Spider-Man 3 to a crowd of more than 50 influential print and online journalists.
Representatives of all the Blu-ray-exclusive studios - Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment - were in attendance as were key executives with supporting consumer electronics manufacturers such as Sony, Philips and Panasonic.
Also there was Dan Silverberg, VP of high-definition media for Warner Home Video, which since Paramount's move to the HD DVD camp is the only studio to support both next-generation formats.
The press was given a fact sheet of more statistics and Blu-ray milestones, including the fact that even in a week in which Transformers came out on HD DVD and with no comparable title in its lineup, Blu-ray Discs still managed to outsell discs in the rival format. So far this year, Blu-ray titles have outsold HD DVD titles by a 2-to-1 margin. Since inception, Blu-ray software sales have accounted for 61% of high-def disc software sales. And 17 of the 20 top-selling high-definition disc titles are available on Blu-ray.
There also were indications that the Blu-ray camp is done playing nice. At the entrance to the opening breakfast, at the Hollywood and Highland complex, was a huge blowup of a Deadline Hollywood article by renegade online columnist Nikki Finke. The article raised questions about Paramount Home Entertainment's claim that it sold 190,000 copies of Transformers on HD DVD in a single week.
Later in the day, on the 20th Century Fox lot, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn blasted Paramount for its defection, accusing the studio of "taking the bait," referring to a reported $50 million payout to drop its support of Blu-ray Disc and release titles exclusively in HD DVD.