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Universal Fighting The Good Fight For HD DVD

If you're a next-gen format with only three supporting studios total, and only one studio that's exclusive to your format, you could do worse than having that one exclusive studio be Universal. Following up on its promise to release over 100 HD DVD titles in 2007 Universal is releasing 13 catalog titles on the Toshiba-backed format this June. Count 'em- 13!

Among the releases will be the Jim Carrey duo of Bruce Almighty and Liar, Liar, and Stallone's action war horse Daylight, which is still in the demo reel hall of fame, even if it's a bit long in the tooth. I say long in the tooth because I saw the fireball through the tunnel on Laserdisc and DTS Laserdisc hundreds of times back in the day!

Also included are the underrated (and admittedly bizarre) comedy Mystery Men and the overrated comedy Being John Malkovich, along with Sneakers, Meet Joe Black, American Me, Born on the Fourth of July, Monty Python's the Meaning of Life, and mysteries like Bulletproof and The Watcher. The term mystery doesn't refer to the genre of these titles, but to the choice in releasing them. Don't blame yourself for not remembering these two. I had to look them up on IMDB. Bulletproof is a 1996 Damon Wayans-Adam Sandler action comedy, while The Watcher is a serial killer flick from 2000 starring James Spader and Keanu Reeves, of all people. Hardly the kind of stuff to drive a format, Adam and Keanu notwithstanding.

Rounding out the group is Kevin Smith's Mallrats, perhaps the underrated gem in the Jersey mainstay's catalog and a welcome addition to any next-gen catalog.

Many believe the format war will be won or lost on who has the most movies and the most desirable available. While Universal is practically keeping up with the output Blu-ray's five exclusive studios by itself, I don't know if I'd want to bet that this group of titles will be more popular combined at the cash register than Pixar's Cars by itself when the latter is released exclusiely to Blu-ray in June.

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