Universal’s Final HD DVD to be Atonement

Posted by Dave Cowl on March 3, 2008 
Filed Under: Format War, HD DVD, Studios

universal.jpegWe have seen a couple of sites reporting that Atonement will be the last HD DVD from Universal Studios.

Sites like The Man Room are reporting that the final disc honors go to Atonement since references to Charlie Wilson’s War have been removed from the Universal Pictures’ website.

The posting further theorizes that Paramount’s decision to end HD DVD support promptly may have affected Universal’s plans. Universal has not announced any Blu-ray release titles yet.

In any case, while indications are that Atonement will be the last HD DVD from Universal, we have yet to see any formal announcement from the studio.

UPDATE: It appears that Universal has confirmed with High Def Digest that Atonement will be its last release on HD DVD.

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8 Responses to “Universal’s Final HD DVD to be Atonement”

  1. Felix on March 3rd, 2008 12:15 pm
  2. Felix on March 3rd, 2008 12:16 pm

    Ironic… the studio who makes the wars end, is the last to abandon HD DVD

  3. Dave Cowl on March 3rd, 2008 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the pointer.

    We have already seen Paramount and now Universal cancel titles – it would not be surprising to see Warner cancel titles also – especially the ones further out.

    None the less it does seem that Warner will close out major studio support for HD DVD.

  4. Jesterrace on March 3rd, 2008 12:41 pm

    Well if you think about it right now is the best time to be dual format. I don’t know how the royalties system works with HD-DVD now that Toshiba has pulled the plug but I imagine that they are getting away with virtually no royalties right now and there is still a fairly decent sized player base. Furthermore if the other movie studios bag HD-DVD this month that would leave Warner in a unique position as being the only movie studio releasing content for the given format and roughly a market of a million players out there. So in effect they would have a monopoly for as long as they continue to release on HD-DVD, while still enjoying the sales from the dominant Blu-Ray format (at least in terms of high-def).

  5. Merrick97 on March 3rd, 2008 12:41 pm

    Id be more excited if Universal and Paramount would announce their first bluray discs rather than announce their last HD-DVDs….

    The waiting continues.

    We will see what tommorrow brings in regards to Paramount.

    Im hoping its more than Blades of Glory though

  6. Belard on March 3rd, 2008 2:35 pm

    @ Jesterrace:

    ??? Best time? First, you’d need to spend $800 on a dual-format player, unless you already have one… that is twice the cost of a standard BR player.

    2nd: What million players doesn’t = million users. Units have died, owners have bought 2~4 playerss for their home and whats sold are used as back-ups.

    WB has NO incentive to continue HDD. As it is, where would people BUY such discs? Amazon or a few online stores will be the ONLY ones to carry it, and most sales are in stores – I walk by, and I may by a movie that I hadn’t planned on. I did it this weekend, saw some DVDs for a good price.

    Most likely, WB doesn’t own HDD production hardware – such companies will want to get rid of the hardware and install BLU hardware.

    Prices: As Blu-Ray sales numbers climb, the cost to manufacture drops. Simple example (not exact – packaging, disc, etc)):

    Disc title run:
    10,000 = $5.00 per disc / $ 50K
    50,000 = $3.00 per disc / $150K
    100,000 = $2.00 per disc / $200K
    500,000 = $1.00 per disc / $500K
    1million= $0.75 per disc / $750K

    With HD-DVD being D-E-A-D, very few owners will bother to buy titles for players that will no longer be functional in 2~5 years. (1yr warranty)

    So a lower production run = higher prices = less sales. In 12 months from now, some BR players should be under $200 MSRP. BR discs should $20~25 for a single full-featured New title disc. (New DVDs are $20+ for AAA titles) But while a DVD costs about 10cents to make, Blu is about 60cents today.

    And what few HD-DVD titles were to come out, they would be $30~40 range because of the very limited run.

    A person would feel kind of dumb in 1-2 years *IF* WB was the ONLY one to release a title a month… while Blu is pumping out 50~100! And YES, they would have to still pay royalties to make HD-DVD discs, even thou Toshiba isn’t making players. LG has players, but I bet they aren’t making more of them… just that not many people are actually buying them. Count them out once their inventory dries up.

    As it stands: About 15 or so titles have not been scraped for the last HD-DVDs on current US schedule of 90days… while over 40 are for Blu(13 a month avg), without Paramount or Universal announcements yet.

    “Its an EX-PAROT!”

  7. Ralf the Dog on March 3rd, 2008 5:39 pm

    Belard, I think that Jesterrace was saying this is the best time for a STUDIO to be dual format (for a short time).

  8. Belard on March 3rd, 2008 6:15 pm

    What studios that WERE dual format, haven’t been since January.

    If it was profitable for them to support both formats at this time, they would. While the fanboys will buy anything (Some have posted with goals to OWN every single HD-DVD disc = about 400 titles, even the crappy ones) the avg consumer will not waste money on a dead format.

    AFAIK: Walmart, Best Buy, Circut City and Frys are the top sellers of movies. They have stores and online sales. Walmart & BB are out of the HD-DVD business. So when a studio makes an HD-DVD disc in April and beyond – there are only a handful of places to buy in the whole USA.

    Dual formats was ALWAYS a temp thing – it was never to go on forever. When a studio of today masters a HD-DVD title, they are losing out of resources to master a Blu-Ray title which would sell more copies. Let’s see – Lets spend $50,000 x2 for dual format of the same title in which BLU will sell hundreds of thousands of copies and we can re-produce the discs every year as inventory gets low – while RED may sell a few thousand copies and won’t make more.

    Or simply spend $50K on just Blu – and eventually the RED customers become BLU customers. And since we didn’t spend time making a RED title, we can make another Blu title that sells much more.

    Its all about the money.

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