In the latest indication of a lessening of support for the controversial HD DVD/DVD combo format, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has reconfigured the planned April combo releases of 'The Jerk' and 'The Nutty Professor' to be HD DVD-only.
Eagle-eyed HD DVD fans first noticed the change late last week, when Amazon.com cancelled pre-orders of the two combo discs, only to re-list both titles under new SKUs, with updated specs and a new suggested retail price of $29.98 (down from $34.98).
This latest move by the Universal comes on the heels of news late last week that the studio is discontinuing two of its most popular combo catalogue releases ('Army of Darkness' and 'Unleashed') and instead re-issuing them as HD DVD-only editions.
Universal had been the most vocal supporter of the hybrid concept, going so far earlier this year as to pledge that 90% of its 2007 next-gen titles would be released in the hybrid format.
But while these recent moves and a quick glance at the specs on their other upcoming releases would appear to indicate that Universal is dropping the combo format on its catalogue titles altogether, the studio seems to still be embracing the hybrid concept for their day-and-date (with standard-def DVD) releases -- including such recently announced titles as 'The Hitcher' and 'Alpha Dog' -- most of which are still planned for combo disc release.
As always, we'll keep you posted on any further changes to Universal's combo plans, and in the meantime, we've updated the listings for 'The Jerk' (due April 17) and 'The Nutty Professor' (due April 24) in our HD DVD Release Schedule to reflect their new configurations. Watch for complete reviews of both titles as their release dates draw near.