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'X-Men' to Rally For Blu-ray

1 Nov, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold



Seeking to ride PlayStation 3 momentum, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is rush-releasing X-Men: The Last Stand to Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 14, three days before the next-generation video game console from Sony makes its eagerly awaited U.S. debut.

Executives from studios supporting the high-definition optical-disc format believe PS3 will be the “Trojan Horse” that gives Blu-ray an unbeatable advantage over rival HD DVD. Both formats are vying to succeed standard DVD as consumers transition to HDTV.

PS3, which will hit stores at retail prices starting at $499, comes with a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive, while the other hot game console currently in the market, Microsoft's Xbox 360, will have an add-on HD DVD drive available for about $200.

“The demographics between X-Men and PlayStation 3 are a near-perfect match,” said Steve Feldstein, SVP of marketing communications for 20th Century Fox. “This is the biggest new release yet for Blu-ray, and we're working closely with retailers and others to ensure that when people are buying their PS3s, they're going to know they can get X-Men to play on it.

“PlayStation is by far the dominant game platform, and this should put questions about format wars to rest.”

The Blu-ray version of X-Men: The Last Stand, which lists for $39.98, includes both the film — the year's No. 3 movie with a domestic gross of $234.4 million — and all bonus materials in high-definition. The film itself is authored in HDMV with AVC (MPEG-4 compression) and features 6.1 DTS ES HD Lossless Master Audio. Bonus features include two commentary tracks (one from director Brett Ratner with writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg; the other with producers Avi Avrad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter), 12 alternate or extended scenes, and a “Marvel Trivia Track” consisting of color graphics that pop up throughout the film with inside information on characters and events in the Marvel universe.

The standard DVD of the third film in the “X-Men” franchise was released Oct. 3 and has since sold more than 6 million units.

Fox's other Blu-ray titles coming Nov. 14 include Behind Enemy Lines, Fantastic Four, Kingdom of Heaven, Kiss of the Dragon, The Omen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Speed and The Transporter.

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