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‘Rumor’ spreads to HD

Warner to unveil combo DVD disc

Warner homevid has unveiled its first combo DVD disc — and it ain’t cheap.

The studio will release “Rumor Has It” — with an HD version on one side and standard DVD on the other — on May 9 for $39.99.

Part of Warner’s second wave of HD discs, the “Rumor Has It” combo carries a price about $10 higher than other initial HD titles from the studio. Those were all catalog pics, however, previously released on standard DVD. The studio will also release a standard DVD of “Rumor Has It” that day for $28.98.

The studio said “Rumor Has It” is the first title to be released in the combo format because it is the first eligible new release; the studio’s goal is to release all titles on HD and standard DVD simultaneously.

The second wave of Warner HD DVD titles also includes “GoodFellas” and “Swordfish” Tuesday, followed by “Training Day” on May 9 with “Rumor Has It.”

The first wave of Warner HD titles was pegged to the format’s launch, but they didn’t all make to stores April 18 as planned. “Phantom of the Opera” and “The Last Samurai” arrived on time, but copies of “Million Dollar Baby” were delayed a few days due to technical problems with the master (Daily Variety, April 19). Universal released “Serenity” for last week’s launch, but also ran into shipment problems.

Universal, the lone other studio backing HD DVD, released “Doom” and “Apollo 13” Tuesday, and will release “Cinderella Man,” “Jarhead” and “Assault on Precinct 13” May 9, followed by a fourth wave May 23. All 10 initial Universal HD titles are priced at $34.98.

The first high-def discs under the rival Blu-ray format are skedded for release May 23, with Blu-ray players expected June 25.

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