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Paramount and DreamWorks Animation Announce HD DVD Exclusive Support

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation today announced that they will be dropping support of the Blu-ray format and will release all future titles on HD DVD.

The news, which is stunning to say the least, comes as Blu-ray has held a consistent 2:1 software advantage over the past year. Having said that though, HD DVD has more than held its own against the PS3 fueled Blu-ray format, and holds a key advantage in stand-alone hardware sales, thanks in large part to the lower cost of those players.

Exclusive support will begin with the August 28th release of the comedy Blades of Glory and will include other high-profile box office releases such as Transformers and Shrek the Third.

Currently, Blu-ray is supported exclusively by Sony Pictures, Buena Vista (Disney), 20th Century Fox, MGM and Lionsgate while HD DVD, in addition to new exclusive studios Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, is supported exclusively by Universal and Weinstein Company. Warner Bros. supports both formats equally.

It’s important to note that the exclusive support does not extend to past films from Spielberg, as the director has complete say in which format his title is released in. That, however, has not changed and it’s been like that from the very beginning (applies to his films on Universal as well).

I’ve included the official press release from the company below:

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation Each Declare Exclusive Support for HD DVD

Movies Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment Including Paramount
Pictures, DreamWorks Animation SKG, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage,
Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films to be Released Exclusively in HD DVD
Exclusive Program To Begin with Release of “Blades of Glory,” Followed by
“Transformers” and “Shrek the Third,” Films Representing More Than $1.5
Billion in Combined Worldwide Box Office

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 / — Paramount Pictures, a
unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) and DreamWorks Animation SKG
(NYSE: DWA), each announced today that they will exclusively support the
next-generation HD DVD format on a worldwide basis. The exclusive HD DVD
commitment will include all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures,
DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed
exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.

The companies each said that the decision to distribute exclusively in
the HD DVD format resulted from an extensive evaluation of current market
offerings, which confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its
market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs. Paramount Home
Entertainment will launch its exclusive HD DVD program with the release of
the blockbuster comedy hit “Blades of Glory” on August 28th and follow with
two of the biggest grossing movies of the year “Transformers” and “Shrek
the Third”. These three titles alone represent more than $1.5 billion in
box office ticket sales worldwide.

“The combination of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation brings a
critical mass of current box office hits to consumers with a line-up of
live action and animated films that are perfect for HD DVD,” stated Brad
Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, which is currently the
leading studio in domestic box office. “Part of our vision is to
aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality
and features that appeal to our audience. I believe HD DVD is not only the
affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for

“We decided to release “Shrek the Third” and other DreamWorks Animation
titles exclusively on HD DVD because we believe it is the best format to
bring high quality home entertainment to a key segment of our audience —
families,” stated DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “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.”

With the rapid increase of HD TV screens in households, and audiences
wanting to enjoy the total entertainment experience, HD DVD has emerged as
the most affordable way for consumers to watch their movies in high
definition. In addition to pristine quality, HD DVD also offers consumers
the chance to personalize the movie-watching experience, to interact with
their movies and even to connect with a community of other fans.

Paramount Home Entertainment will issue new releases day and date as
well as catalog titles exclusively on HD DVD. Today’s announcement does not
include films directed by Steven Spielberg as his films are not exclusive
to either format.

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor
of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading
content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital
entertainment brands. The company’s labels include Paramount Pictures,
Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV Films, Nickelodeon Movies and
DreamWorks Studios. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital
Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures
International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studios and Worldwide
Television Distribution.

About DreamWorks Animation SKG
DreamWorks Animation is principally devoted to developing and producing
computer generated, or CG, animated feature films. With world-class
creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced CG
filmmaking technology and techniques, DreamWorks Animation makes high
quality CG animated films meant for a broad movie-going audience. The
Company has theatrically released a total of fourteen animated feature
films, including Antz, Shrek, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, Madagascar, Wallace &
Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Over the Hedge, Flushed Away, and
Shrek the Third. DreamWorks Animation’s newest release, Bee Movie, opens in theaters November 2, 2007.

SOURCE Paramount Pictures; DreamWorks Animation

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