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Anchor Bay Charts Course for UMD

20 Jun, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Halloween is one of Anchor Bay's upcoming UMD titles

Anchor Bay Entertainment has become the third independent home video supplier to say it will release movies for Sony's handheld PlayStation Portable (PSP), joining six studios and fellow indies Image Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment.

Anchor Bay, known chiefly for its large library of horror films, will begin its rollout Aug. 23 with six titles on the Universal Media Disc (UMD) format: Halloween, Evil Dead, Time Bandits, Blood the Last Vampire, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll. Each title will be priced at $19.98.

Ray Gagnon, SVP of sales for Anchor Bay, says all six films appeal primarily to PSP's target young-male demographic. He said Anchor Bay was prompted to take the plunge because there's so much support among big retailers.

“All the majors are carrying it — Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.,” Gagnon said. “They are putting a lot of support behind it. UMD will do very well and could be fairly big.”

Gagnon said Anchor Bay hopes to crack the rental market as well with UMD movies, and plans on releasing select new titles on a day-and-date basis with the DVD.

“We have a few potential titles in mind for that,” he said.

Sony's PSP was launched March 24 and has since sold upwards of 1.3 million players in the United States. By year's end, nearly 100 UMD movies will have been released, including high-profile theatricals from studios Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Among the major studios, only Warner Home Video — still trumpeting its Mini-DVD for the handheld market — is not releasing movies for PSP, although observers expect the studio to jump in shortly.

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