In what is fast becoming unofficial 'Blu-ray Day' at CES, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment threw its new title announcements into the ring, with a Q1 slate led by the powerhouse 'Casino Royale.'
Offering a somewhat more restrained press release than fellow Blu-ray backers Fox and Buena Vista in terms of disc titles, Sony outlined only their first quarter 2007 release plans for the format.
Divulged in the release are full specs for such already-announced titles as 'Stranger than Fiction,' 'Running with Scissors,' 'Open Season,' 'Resident Evil: Apocalypse,' 'Layer Cake' and 'Vertical Limit.' All are much more feature-packed than originally anticipated, and are a sure sign that Sony won't be holding back when it comes to fully-loaded BD-50 dual-layer releases in 2007.
Of course, the big Q1 announcement from Sony is what is expected to be a very hotly-anticipated format-booster, the latest James Bond blockbuster, 'Casino Royale,' which finally gets an official street date of March 13.
Other announced-but-not-scheduled titles include 'A Few Good Men,' 'Jerry Maguire' and 'Hostel.'
Of course, Sony also crowed about the strong sales of the PlayStation 3, which now puts the installed base of Blu-ray players in the U.S. at over 1 million, which the company will aggressively feed with a healthy spate of new titles throughout the coming year.
"With software sales up 700 percent since the mid-November launch of Playstation 3 and other Blu-ray hardware from manufacturers, the market is poised for maximum impact blockbusters like Casino Royale," said David Bishop, President, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "This is just the tip of the iceberg for Blu-ray in 2007."
Finally, in a last bit of surprise news, Sony is promoting their toe-in-the-water testing of the AVC MPEG-4 codec on two upcoming Q1 titles, 'Open Season' and 'Casino Royale.' Sony had previously been the most vocal and ardent supporter of MPEG-2. We'll certainly be looking forward to reviewing Sony's first two MPEG-4 titles as soon as we our hands on them.
We'll be adding all of Sony's new titles to our complete Blu-ray Release Schedule as the day progresses, including full specs. Stay tuned!