Casino Royale BD Marks First High-Definition Title to Ship 100,000 Units — Confirms Blu-ray Market Leadership

Casino RoyalCasino Royale BD Marks First High-Definition Title to Ship 100,000 Units — Confirms Blu-ray Market Leadership
Sales of SPHE’s Chartbuster Bond Hit Break Hi-Def Records
– 100% of SPHE’s Newly Announced BD Titles Utilize Capacity Advantage of 50GB Discs –

CULVER CITY, Calif.–(rushprnews)–Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE)’s blockbuster Bond title, Casino Royale, released March 13 on Blu-ray Disc, has hit the 100,000 units shipped mark and is setting records at retail for greatest number of high-definition copies sold in one day, it was announced today by SPHE Worldwide President, David Bishop.

The title debuted in the top 10 on Amazon’s DVD top-sellers list – a first for any film in high definition. The film’s director, Martin Campbell, extolled the disc quality and commented, “It’s just unbelievable. Clearly, it’s fantastic. The comparison between standard def DVD and Blu-ray is quite stunning and quite transparent to the master. It’s precisely what would make me want to buy a copy.”

Since the November launch of Playstation 3, sales of Blu-ray titles have risen exponentially – a more than 700 percent increase. “As a point of comparison, the first DVD title to ship 100,000 units took approximately 11 months (Air Force One, in February 1998),” said Mr. Bishop. “Casino Royale on Blu-ray has done it in far less time and is clearly demonstrating the format’s robust growth in the marketplace.” Sony DADC has replicated more than two million Blu-ray Discs for Sony Pictures since the launch of the format.

SPHE’s Blu-ray Disc offering at retail has expanded with new release titles such as The Holiday (March 13), Rocky Balboa (March 20), The Pursuit of Happyness (March 27), Volver (April 3), Catch and Release (May 8) and Stomp the Yard (May 15) hitting shelves across the next two months. One hundred percent of the new release and catalog titles just announced from SPHE, detailed below, fully utilize the capacity advantage the Blu-ray format’s 50GB dual-layer disc offers, with more than 20 50GB titles already in the marketplace.

“Blu-ray has accounted for approximately 70 percent of the high-definition market since the first week in January, and as that market share continues to grow, we are dedicated to providing consumers with the content they crave,” added Mr. Bishop.

SPHE’s Blu-ray releases will continue to utilize MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC codecs, uncompressed audio and feature high-definition added-value content.

“We are wholly committed to bringing consumers the best picture and sound quality available, with the most innovative format features, and will continue to expand our high-definition slate in 2007 and beyond,” said Mr. Bishop.

SPHE has also announced a broad selection of catalog titles including: Big Fish (March 20), Identity (April 3), Donnie Brasco (May 8) and Closer (May 22). Other catalog titles scheduled for upcoming release are Warriors of Heaven and Earth (March 27), Secret Window (April 24) and Revenge (May 8). Please refer below for more details on SPHE’s new release and catalog Blu-ray Disc line-up.

THE HOLIDAY – March 13

From acclaimed director and writer Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give), an all-star cast of Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law star in this heartwarming romantic comedy that follows two women on opposite sides of the globe who, desperate for a change in scenery, meet on the Internet and swap houses for the Christmas holiday. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc of The Holiday, which offers SPHE’s Blu-Wizard, includes the following features that consumers may customize:

-- Audio commentary with writer/director Nancy Meyers and guests

-- A behind-the-scenes featurette including interviews with Nancy

Meyers, as well as cast members Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law,

Rufus Sewell and Eli Wallach

-- Foreign Exchange: The Making of The Holiday

BIG FISH – March 20

From celebrated director Tim Burton, Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge) shines in the imaginative tale of a son’s quest to piece together the life of his father via snippets of magical stories from his youth. The capability of the 50GB Blu-ray Disc gives viewers the opportunity to experience the magic of the film in breathtaking high definition, with Java-based menus, and also comes with the following special features:

-- Director's commentary

-- Uncompressed audio

ROCKY BALBOA – March 20

Sylvester Stallone reprises his famous role in the inspiring underdog story of the Philadelphia-bred boxer with heart, Rocky Balboa. Written and directed by Stallone himself, this film marks the final round of the Academy Award®-winning franchise. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc provides Rocky fans with an abundance of high-definition features that can be customized using SPHE’s Blu-Wizard playlist technology, including:

-- Deleted scenes, including an alternate ending

-- Boxing bloopers

-- Audio commentary with Sylvester Stallone

-- Featurettes:

-- Skill vs. Will: The Making of Rocky Balboa

-- Reality in the Ring: Filming Rocky's Final Fight

-- Virtual Champion: Creating the Computer Fight

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS – March 27

Will Smith, in an Academy Award-nominated performance, stars in the poignant tale of a father’s struggle to build a future for him and his five-year old son, played by real-life son, Jaden Smith. Based on the inspiring true story of Chris Gardner, this 50GB Blu-ray Disc also features SPHE’s Blu-Wizard playlist technology and provides consumers with a variety of bonus features, including:

-- Audio commentary with director Gabriele Muccino

-- Featurettes:

-- Father and Son: Onscreen and Off - A look at Will Smith and his

on and off-screen son, Jaden

-- The Man Behind the Movie: A Conversation with Chris Gardner - A

behind-the-scenes look at the story of the man whose life story

inspired the feature film

-- Making Pursuit: An Italian Take on the American Dream

-- Inside the Rubik's Cube

-- "I Can" song feature (audio)

WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH — March 27

This action-packed adventure tells the story of two rival swordsmen who team up to defend a sacred holy relic from falling into the wrong hands of blood thirty bandits. Set in the ferocious Gobi Desert, the 50GB Blu-ray Disc provides several special features, such as:

-- Cast interviews

-- The Making of Warriors of Heaven and Earth featurette

-- Jolin Tsai Music Video, "Warriors of Peace"

VOLVER – April 3

Written and directed by Academy Award winner Pedro Almodovar (Talk to Her), this critically-acclaimed comedy stars Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky, Blow) in an Academy Award-nominated performance as one of two sisters whose mother returns from the dead to fix her daughters’ troubled lives and reveal family secrets. A comedic and compassionate story, the 50GB Blu-ray Disc contains a variety of interviews and features, including:

-- Interviews with director Pedro Almodovar and cast members Penelope

Cruz and Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)

-- A tribute to Penelope Cruz

IDENTITY – April 3

With a stellar ensemble cast, John Cusack leads this thriller about ten strangers stranded at a deserted motel, who quickly find themselves being murdered one by one. Encoded in MPEG-4 AVC, the 50GB Blu-ray Disc keeps viewers riveted with a wide assortment of special features, including:

-- Commentary with director James Mangold

-- Commentary with writer Michael Cooney

-- On the set featurette

-- Deleted scenes

-- Domestic Disturbance

-- I Put You in 8

-- The Search for Caroline

-- The Face in the Mirror

-- Deleted scenes commentary with the writer and director

-- Storyboard comparisons

-- Lou's Demise

-- George's Death

-- Rhode's Backstory

SECRET WINDOW – April 24

Johnny Depp gives a gripping performance in this spellbinding psychological thriller based on the Stephen King novel about a famed mystery writer who is confronted at his remote lake house by a stranger who cries plagiarism and demands justice. Full of murderous suspense, the 50 GB Blu-ray Disc brings consumers a number of added-value offerings, including:

-- Commentary with writer/director David Koepp

-- Featurettes

-- From Book to Film - A riveting featurette that explores the

creation of the film's script, collaborating with Stephen King

and casting

-- A Look Through It - A look at the design, acting and creating

of suspense in the film

-- Secrets Revealed - A behind-the-senses look at creating the

story twists, alternate ending and overall experience in making

the film

-- Deleted scenes

-- Deleted scenes commentary with the writer and director

-- A selection of animated story boards

DONNIE BRASCO – May 8

Al Pacino and Johnny Depp lead an all-star cast in this brilliant gangland thriller about an undercover FBI agent, Donnie Brasco, who befriends a hitman to gain entry to the mob. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc version of the legendary film from acclaimed director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) brings consumers 21 minutes of additional footage as well as a selection of added-value features, including:

-- Featurettes

-- Donnie Brasco: Out From the Shadows

-- Original Theatrical Featurette

-- Photo montage

CATCH AND RELEASE – May 8

This heartfelt comedy stars Jennifer Garner (“Alias,” 13 Going On 30) who, after the sudden and unexpected death of her fiance, turns to her fiance’s former roommates and friends, and moves in. With a fantastic supporting cast that includes Timothy Olyphant (“Deadwood”, The Girl Next Door), Kevin Smith (director/actor Clerks I & II, Dogma) and Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), the film, directed by Academy Award nominee Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), follows the haphazard events where wounds begin to heal and faith in love in renewed. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc is equipped with a wide variety of features, including:

-- Commentary with writer/director Susannah Grant and Kevin Smith

-- Commentary with writer/director Susannah Grant and cinematographer

John Lindley

-- From Concept to Completion - a featurette on the making of the film

-- Deleted scenes

-- Uncle John's Band

-- Whistling is Not Allowed

-- Rehearsal/Audition footage of the following cast members:

-- Kevin Smith

-- Sam Jaeger

-- Juliette Lewis

STOMP THE YARD – May 15

Stomp the Yard is an explosive film that follows a troubled 19-year old street dancer from Los Angeles on his quest for a new life at Truth University, a historically Black college in Atlanta. However, once he arrives, his aspirations for an education and search for love are put on hold while he is courted by two top campus fraternities who want his innovative street dance moves in order to win a highly-coveted National Step Show Championship. Bonus features on the 50GB Blu-ray Disc include:

-- Battles. Rivals. Brothers. - The Story of Stomp The Yard featurette

-- Filmmaker commentary

-- 2 Extended Dance Sequences: Get Buck & Opening Battle

-- Deleted scene: The Clean Up

-- Outtakes/Gag Reel

CLOSER – May 22

With an all-star cast of Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owens, Closer is a witty, romantic and dangerous love story that follows two couples who meet, cheat and deceive each other. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film, adapted from the award-winning stage play, includes the Damien Rice music video, “The Blower’s Daughter,” among other special features.

REVENGE

Academy Award winner Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) and Madeleine Stowe (12 Monkeys, The Last of the Mohicans) ignite the screen in the suspenseful thriller about a former fighter pilot who finds himself drawn to the wife of an old friend (Stowe). When her husband finds out, so begins a terrifying cycle of retribution against the newfound lovers in this film from the director of Top Gun and Crimson Tide. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc provides viewers with special features, including:

-- Audio commentary with director Tony Scott

-- Obsession: The Sex and Violence of Revenge - A look back at the

moving of the film with Scott, Costner and Stowe

About Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a division of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. Sony Pictures Entertainment’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Information on Sony Pictures Entertainment and Blu-ray can be found on the World Wide Web at www.sonypictures.com/bluray.

Please contact the SPHE press office for Blu-ray spokesperson availability and artwork.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5364243


Contact:

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Claire McKittrick, 310-244-4722

Mobile: 310-625-2665

claire_mckittrick@spe.sony.com

or

GCI Group

Danit Ross, 310-526-5529Mobile: 310-597-2523

dross@gcigroup.com


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Source: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment