Fox Jumps on PSP Movie Bandwagon9 May, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has become the third major studio to announce a slate of films for Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP), fueling sentiments that the hot new game machine will become the dominant handheld device for watching movies.
Already, two other majors — Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and Buena Vista Home Entertainment — are onboard, as are mini-major Lions Gate Entertainment and independent Geneon Entertainment. Universal Studios Home Entertainment also is expected to release movies on Universal Media Disc (UMD) by summer, with a slate sources say will likely include The Chronicles of Riddick, Assault on Precinct 13 and Van Helsing.
Collectively, suppliers have either released or announced more than 50 films on the PSP's proprietary UMD format. No other format has gotten this much software support since DVD's launch eight years ago, noted analyst Tom Adams of Adams Media Research. “Studios are counting on Sony's remarkable marketing success with PlayStation to carry over into the portable area,” he said.
Fox worldwide home entertainment president Mike Dunn said the PSP “enables our consumers to experience Fox movies with the same high-quality picture and audio to which they have grown accustomed.”
Fox's first UMD titles, all targeting the PSP's core demographic of men ages 18 to 34, are I, Robot; Napoleon Dynamite; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Super Troopers and Predator, due in July. More are on the way, Fox said.
Sony and Buena Vista have been aggressive UMD supporters since the PSP's March 24 launch.
Benjamin Feingold, president of SPHE, said it was always the plan for PSP to be a movie-watching platform. “Based on preliminary results, we are very pleased,” he said.“There is no doubt in our minds that this machine will create a new market for movie-watching on the go,” said Steve Beeks, president of Lions Gate Entertainment.
Geneon has announced Appleseed and the series “Samurai Champloo,” (July 26). “Anime is a great companion to the PSP handheld, as it has the same demo as our consumer base,” said Jim Yardley, Geneon's VP of sales.
Retailers have great faith in UMD. “The mobile gaming and movie-watching opportunity is taking on a ‘must-have' status, as consumers are buying not only games but also movies at rates far exceeding our original expectations,” said Gary Arnold, SVP of Best Buy.