Paramount, the last studio to convert to Blu-ray, is now fully on the bandwagon, offering consumers a financial incentive to make the switch. Studio will give consumers who upgrade certain library titles — including “The Godfather” and “Transformers” — a $10 rebate through the end of the year.
Par’s promotion, which kicks off Sept. 2, will likely be followed by other enticements from its rivals, who all want to see the high-def format take off this holiday season. Blu-ray has been a little slow taking off for a number of reasons, including a bruising format war that ended in January. Several homevid toppers have projected $1 billion in Blu-ray revenue this year, but halfway through the year, consumer spending had yet to crack the $300 million mark, a fraction of the $10.1 billion spent on homevid overall during the period (Daily Variety, July 21).
Library reissues are especially problematic since Blu-ray players are backward compatible and thus can play earlier DVD versions of the same movie.
Discs included in Par’s promotion will contain rebate certificates, which consumers need to mail in along with proof of purchase tabs for both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the title. “Transformers,” a pic that was previously released on HD DVD when Par exclusively backed that high-def format, arrives first on Sept. 2. Helmer Michael Bay kicked up a fuss when the movie was released in that format, suggesting he wouldn’t make the sequel because of it, although he soon backed down.
The Blu-ray “Transformers” will be followed by “The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration” on Sept. 23 and “Sweeney Todd” on Oct. 21. Other featured titles include “Old School,” “Stardust” and “Zodiac.” Every one, with the exception of “The Godfather” trilogy, has previously been released on HD DVD. The restored “Godfather” movies will be released in a four-disc Blu-ray collection for $120 before the rebate, although Amazon is already taking pre-orders for $80.