'Spiderwick Chronicles' will be first big release

Paramount Home Entertainment, the last remaining HD DVD holdout among the studios, will bow its first Blu-ray discs next month and its first day-and-date Blu-ray release one month later with “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

Move comes nearly two weeks after die-hard HD DVD backer Universal unveiled its initial Blu-ray slate.

Par will dip its toes into Blu-ray waters May 20 with “Bee Movie,” “Face/Off” and “Next,” the latter two previously released on HD DVD; “Bee Movie” was pressed for HD DVD but never released on that format. Blu-ray versions of “There Will Be Blood” and “Cloverfield” will arrive two weeks later, on June 3; release will mark the high-def bow for each. A few weeks later, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” arrives on standard DVD and Blu-ray simultaneously.

The studio will continue to reissue older titles on Blu-ray throughout the year. It issued its last titles on HD DVD on March 4.

Paramount initially backed both formats but threw its support behind HD DVD last summer, due, in part, to financial incentives offered by Toshiba.

In January, Warner Home Video effectively ended the format war when it threw its weight behind Blu-ray (Daily Variety, Jan. 4).

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