Bay in high-def transformation

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The hubbub over Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation dropping Blu-ray Disc from their high-definition disc plans has reached a fever pitch on the Web.

Bloggers tossed out all sorts of claims that the studios received boatloads of cash from Toshiba and other HD DVD backers to drop their dual-format approach to the next-generation format war.

One report, from Bloomberg News, cited a blog from Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield that said Viacom (which owns Paramount) would receive $50 million and DWA would get $100 million from a group including Toshiba, according to unnamed sources.

A Paramount spokesperson declined comment.

Perhaps the strangest Web reaction to Monday's decision came from director Michael Bay, whose "Transformers" was held up by Paramount as one of its fourth-quarter tentpoles that will be available only on HD DVD.

On his Web site, an irate Bay threatened to not give Paramount a sequel to his blockbuster movie should the studio limit its high-definition disc release to HD DVD.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible," he wrote. "For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No 'Transformers 2' for me!"

On Tuesday afternoon, Bay had backtracked with this post. "Last night at dinner I was having dinner with three Blu-ray owners. They were pissed about no 'Transformers' Blu-ray, and I drank the Kool-Aid hook, line and sinker. So at 1:30 in the morning I posted — nothing good ever comes out of early a.m. posts, mind you — I overreacted. I heard where Paramount is coming from and the future of HD and players that will be close to the $200 mark, which is the magic number. I like what I heard.

"As a director, I'm all about people seeing films in the best quality possible, and I saw and heard firsthand people upset about a corporate decision. So today I saw '300' on HD (DVD). It rocks! So I think I might be back on to do 'Transformers 2!' "
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