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2005 In Review Part 12: DECEMBER 2005

1 Jan, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Paramount bolstered its holdings with its purchase of DreamWorks.

Now it's HD DVD's turn to lash out. Warren Lieberfarb, the feisty ex-Warner Home Video president credited as the “father” of DVD, and now a chief cheerleader for Toshiba's next-gen format, says studios are being “duped” by rival Blu-ray Disc supporter Sony. “Hollywood blew it,” he says at a conference in France. “They could have created the format that optimized their creative interests.”

Bob and Harvey Weinstein cut a home video distribution deal with Genius Products, the independent label headed by a team of ex-Warner Home Video executives. The joint venture between filmdom's prolific sibs and Genius follows the Weinsteins' exodus from Miramax Films, which they sold to the Walt Disney Co., and subsequent formation of The Weinstein Co. The new joint venture is expected to release two theatrical and direct-to-video titles a month, beginning in March 2006, including sequels to Sin City and Scary Movie.

Viacom buys DreamWorks SKG, with home video rights to DreamWorks films, as well as its 60-title-strong library, going to Paramount Home Entertainment. The sale will likely ding the market share clout of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, which had been distributing DreamWorks product.

Seeking to create greater brand awareness in the digital age, Lions Gate Entertainment bowed a new animated logo and changed its corporate name to Lionsgate.

Twentieth Century Fox becomes the latest studio to halt the practice of sending DVD screeners to retailers, announcing the content would instead be available for streaming from a Web site. Many retailers increasingly found the trend to be frustrating, saying most video piracy is in-house from the studios and not a result of screeners.

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