Posted Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM PDT by
In the first example of a studio "demoting" a combo release, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will re-issue 'Army of Darkness' and 'Unleashed' as stand-alone HD DVD titles this June.
Universal first released both 'Army of Darkness' and 'Unleashed' last year as HD DVD/DVD combos, at the format's slightly higher $34.95 price tag. The studio is now discontinuing those versions from the market, and re-issuing both as $29.95 HD DVD-only versions on June 26.
Specs and features remain the same -- Universal is simply dropping the standard-def DVD side, with no other changes to the discs' content.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise, since only a couple of months ago, the studio was touting an aggressive release strategy that would see an estimated 90 percent of its entire HD DVD 2007 line-up go combo. However, over the past several weeks, the studio has announced its HD DVD release schedule all the way through July, and not a single catalog title is a combo.
Of Universal's 2007 titles announced thus far, only new release theatrical hits, including the recently-announced 'The Hitcher' and 'Alpha Dog,' are slated to be combos.
No word has come from Universal on just what the strategy is behind their seeming about-face on combos. Perhaps the lower price point on HD DVD-only catalog titles will prove more attractive to consumers, and help further drive sales? Certainly, with the news of Blu-ray's success with titles like 'Casino Royale,' which last week became the first next-gen title to ship over 100,000 copies, the battle for sales bragging rights is certainly more competitive than ever.
We'll keep you posted on any further Universal conversions of combo titles to HD DVD-only releases. We've also added new listings for both 'Army of Darkness' and 'Unleashed' to our HD DVD Release Schedule, under June 26.
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