Warner Announces UMD Slate31 Oct, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Warner Home Video Monday announced it will release movies and other content on the Universal Media Disc (UMD), making it the sixth and last of the major studios to release software for Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) multimedia player.
Warner's UMD rollout begins Dec. 6 with The Dukes of Hazzard, which streets the same day as the DVD. Also available Dec. 6: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 4, from Cartoon Network.
The second wave of Warner titles hits Dec. 20 and includes four recent theatricals: Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Constantine and House of Wax. Wave two also includes The Matrix, Terminator 3 and Enter the Dragon.
“Warner Home Video is excited to offer consumers and fans of our films the opportunity to own their favorite titles on UMD for PSP and we are pleased to be able to launch with such an impressive line-up,” said Ron Sanders, Warner Home Video's newly installed president.
Sony last week announced that while earnings for the second quarter were down significantly from the second quarter of last year, the PSP was a bright spot in the corporate financial picture. While Sony Pictures revenue was down 17.2 percent, game division revenue was up 79 percent, largely due to the PSP.
By year's end, Sony said, it expects to have sold 10 million PSP units worldwide, about 4.5 million of them in the United States and Canada.
While the handheld device is primarily a video game player, studios and independent DVD suppliers have been quick to release their content on the tiny UMD as well, although some of the smaller suppliers are rethinking their commitment due to lukewarm retail support.
According to The DVD Release Report, more than 300 non-game UMD titles have either been released or announced since the format's late-March 2005 launch.
Of the six majors, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has been the most prolific, with 51 UMD titles already released and another 14 in the pipeline. Buena Vista Home Entertainment has released or announced 30 titles, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has 23, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has 22 and Paramount Home Entertainment has 21.