'Transformers' headed to Blu-ray

Michael Bay gets his way after waiting almost a year

Michael Bay feels vindicated.

Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing his boxoffice hit "Transformers" on Blu-ray Disc, nearly a year after the studio's decision to issue the film in the rival HD DVD format triggered a tirade from the director.

"I've been waiting for 'Transformers' to be released on Blu-ray for a long time, and it was worth the wait," Bay said. He called the Sept. 2 release of the two-disc set "the complete high-definition package for fans."

"It looks stunning and really allows you to engage with this movie in new ways," Bay added. "Remember, I told everyone Blu-ray was best."

He sure did. In August, when Paramount stunned the industry by announcing it was dropping its support for Blu-ray Disc and would release films only in HD DVD, "Transformers" was the flashpoint of the controversy. It was the biggest title Paramount/DreamWorks had in store for the fourth quarter, and a Blu-ray Disc edition had already been mastered and prepped for release.

On his Web site, Bay blasted Paramount's decision to go HD DVD-only and threatened to take his sequel elsewhere.

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

Bay backtracked, writing the next day that he "overreacted" and "might be back on" for the sequel. As it turns out, HD DVD was soon to be doomed when principal developer Toshiba threw in the towel Feb. 19.

The Blu-ray edition of "Transformers" that Par is preparing will include extensive extras and special features, including a commentary from Bay and two docus about the film's human and robotic stars. Segments include exec producer Steven Spielberg discussing his love for the franchise and a detailed look at the casting process and real-world weapons provided by the military.

"We're so happy to finally bring Michael Bay's true vision to life with this release," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said. "Because of Blu-ray's expanded capacity, we are able to elevate the bit rate used for the picture as well as present uncompressed audio in the form of Dolby True HD."

Bay said principal photography on "Transformers 2" is set to begin Monday.
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