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For about five minutes, it looked like Michael Bay was going to do something incredibly rare and cool: Take a stand on something. Well forget it.
It was recently announced that Paramount has taken sides in the format wars (after being bribed to the tune of $50 million), and now their movies will be available only on HD-DVD. That means anyone with a Blu-Ray player will be screwed out of owning Transformers will be screwed out of owning it in high-def. They aren’t the first studio to take sides, several others have, including DreamWorks which The Hollywood Reporter says was bribed a cool $100 million.
When Michael Bay heard his film wouldn’t be available to some of his fans… he was pissed off. He responded by posting dropping a post on his official site this morning in which he threatened to refuse to direct Transformers 2 if Paramount didn’t make his movie available in both formats. Fans everywhere went “hell yeah!” It’s about time someone did something about how stupid this whole format wars thing is. If not for all the greed-motivated, corporate jockeying we’d all have dual version players and be done with it. It’s not fair, and the people being screwed are the studio’s fans who may or may not have simply bought the wrong player.
Well don’t get too excited, because Michael Bay is already backpedaling. His rant against corporate greed and stupidity has already been removed from his website and replaced with an apologetic, conciliatory post in which he takes back everything. He explains, “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.” But now he’s taking it back because: “So today I saw 300 on HD-DVD, it rocks!” And that changes the fact that Blu-Ray owners are being screwed out of your movie… how Michael?
To me, it sounds like somebody got to him. The post sounds like the lame backpedaling of a man who has been pressured by people with a lot of money into towing the company line. Sure, HD-DVD looks great. That was never in question. The problem is that this ridiculous insistence on taking sides in the format wars is screwing your fans Michael Bay. It’s one thing to say nothing, it’s another to come out and say something brave and true only to then turn tail, run away, and take it all back. You sure you want to do that? Alright then, I’ll take back whatever respect I had for you as well. I’m sure I can find someone else willing to earn it.