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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Sony Promises Blu-Ray Movies Late May

Sony Pictures on Tuesday said it aims to deliver its new Blu-ray DVD format to U.S. stores on May 23 to coincide with the entry of compatible disc players.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight Blu-ray titles, followed by another eight in mid-June. The first movie titles include "50 First Dates," "The Fifth Element," "Hitch" and "House of Flying Daggers."

Blu-ray is locked in a multibillion-dollar standards war against a rival DVD format known as HD DVD. The technology companies supporting HD DVD, championed by Toshiba, plan to start rolling out movie titles and disc players in March.

Each side hopes to reignite a sagging $24 billion home video market with new players and discs that offer greater capacity and interactive features.

Sony Pictures, a division of Japan's Sony, earlier this month disclosed pricing for Blu-ray format discs which amounts to a premium of about 15 percent to 20 percent to the current DVD standard.

The company said on Tuesday that its target delivery date would coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available Blu-ray disc player by Samsung Electronics. Other Blu-ray disc players are scheduled for release to market from Sony and Pioneer.

In related news, Lions Gate Entertainment, one of the leading independent filmed entertainment companies, today announced plans to release ten titles on the Blu-ray Disc next May.

The first wave of films from Lions Gate, available on May 23, will include Crash and Lord of War, priced at a $39.99. Other titles include The Punisher, Saw and Terminator 2. The second wave with five additional titles will follow shortly thereafter with a June or July date still to be determined. These Blu-ray Disc titles include Reservoir Dogs, Total Recall and The Devil's Rejects.

The company plans to follow this announcement with an additional wave of Blu-ray titles in the coming months.

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