Universal joining Blu-ray bandwagon in the summer

Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:34am BST

Trademark of Blu-ray DVD technology is displayed at an electronic shop in Tokyo February 17, 2008. Universal Studios, once Hollywood's top backer of the doomed HD DVD video format, will soon release all its new videos on the victorious Blu-ray rival at the same time as its standard DVDs. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Trademark of Blu-ray DVD technology is displayed at an electronic shop in Tokyo February 17, 2008. Universal Studios, once Hollywood's top backer of the doomed HD DVD video format, will soon release all its new videos on the victorious Blu-ray rival at the same time as its standard DVDs.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Universal Studios, once Hollywood's top backer of the doomed HD DVD video format, will soon release all its new videos on the victorious Blu-ray rival at the same time as its standard DVDs.

The studio is set to announce Thursday that the program will kick off in the summer with the recent box office flop "Doomsday."

Universal's Blu-ray strategy includes plans to release about 40 titles in the second half of the year.

Among them are the studio's five big feature films of the summer, including "The Incredible Hulk," with Edward Norton, William Hurt and Liv Tyler; "Wanted," an action thriller starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie; "Hellboy II: The Golden Army"; "Mamma Mia," the adaptation of the musical starring Meryl Streep; and the sequel "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," with Brendan Fraser and Jet Li.

Universal officially will enter the Blu-ray market July 22 with a trio of films from its "Mummy" action-adventure franchise: "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns," both starring Fraser, and the spinoff "The Scorpion King," with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Also planned for domestic Blu-ray before the year is up are the catalog titles "American Gangster," "Knocked Up," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Miami Vice," "End of Days," "U-571" and "Land of the Dead," among others.

Universal had been HD DVD's biggest studio backer ever since the next-generation optical disc format came to market in April 2006. But when Toshiba pulled the plug on the format in February, the studio wasted no time switching its allegiance to Sony's Blu-ray.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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