What’s worse: politicians trying to outdo each other or the Blu-ray Vs HD DVD debate. Both are boring and both seem to resort to the same sort of tactics to try and outdo each other. This is no more evident than today’s announcement from the Blu-ray camp that Fox and MGM are banding together in the Blu-ray corner to announce “an aggressive global Blu-ray Disc release strategy” including 29 titles.
In what can only be described as a blatant attempt not to be out-done on the day that Paramount and DreamWorks announce their exclusive commitment to HD DVD, the Blu-ray announcement from Fox and MGM includes the release of theatrical successes such as Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Live Free or Die Hard – as well as upcoming TV box-set releases such as Prison Break – the studios are sticking firmly to their claim that Blu-ray is the defining HD format, claiming a number of industry “firsts” in the upcoming months.
Those semi-arguable “firsts” include: picture in picture capability, enhanced viewing and surround sound modes with the ability to mix and match picture and sound, direct access to in-movie features through one of the four colored buttons on the BD remote and the most technically vibrant BD-Java interactive multi-player challenge and trivia games to date. The studios’ slate also takes full advantage of BD-Live functionality beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. BD-Live will allow internet-connected consumers to surf title-specific “web-enabled” interactive features and games, as well as “web-exclusive” downloadable content with the ability to connect and interact with other broadband BD users worldwide.
“Given that Blu-ray has consistently outsold HD DVD all year, and this is the case for any titles released by any studio in both formats, we believe that the time is right for us to accelerate our activities and help convert the nearly 60 million high definition households worldwide into Blu-ray households,” noted Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. However, while some of these “firsts” are hardly that – a few, such as the BD-Live functionality, show tremendous promise for the format.
The list of 29 announced titles includes the following:
MASTER & COMMANDER (OCT. 2)
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (OCT. 2)
FROM HELL (OCT. 9)
THE FLY (1986) (OCT. 9)
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (OCT. 9)
28 DAYS LATER (OCT. 9)
ROBOCOP (OCT. 9)
AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979) (OCT. 9)
BATTLE OF BRITAIN (NOV. 6)
A BRIDGE TOO FAR (NOV. 6)
I, ROBOT (NOV. 13)
DIE HARD (NOV TBD)
DIE HARD 2 DIE HARDER (NOV TBD)
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE (NOV TBD)
RED DAWN (NOV TBD)
MR. AND MRS. SMITH (DEC. 4)
INDEPENDENCE DAY (DEC. 4)
CAST AWAY (DEC. 4)
RONIN (DEC. 4)