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Paramount Pix, DreamWorks To Support HD DVD Standard

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation announced Monday they will exclusively support the HD DVD standard worldwide. The decision came after evaluating today's market conditions and offerings, which the companies say confirm technology benefits and lower manufacturing costs.

The 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.

It's a move few predicted, given Blu-ray format's 2-to-1 lead over HD DVD in disc sales during the first half of 2007, according to Home Media Research. Earlier this month, the division of Home Media Magazine said sales of Blu-ray discs, backed with a Sony technology, totaled 1.6 million units during the first six months of the year, compared with 795,000 HD-DVD discs sold during the same period.

Still, the studio said it will debut the program with the release of "Blades of Glory" on Aug. 28, followed by "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third." The three titles represent more than $1.5 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide.

Paramount Home Entertainment will issue new releases, as well as catalog titles, exclusively on HD DVD. The announcement does not include films directed by Steven Spielberg, whose films are not exclusive to either format.

--Laurie Sullivan

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