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20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Announces Blu-ray Titles for First Half of 2007, Toots Its Own Horn

Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 11:58 AM

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced its lineup of Blu-ray high definition disc releases for the first half of 2007. They've also earned the title of chief Blu-ray cheerleader with their most recent press release (more on that later).

Cutting through the marketing-speak, here is the list of the releases that they announced:

January 2007

  • Alien Vs Predator (1/23)
  • Men of Honor (1/23)
  • Courage Under Fire (1/23)
  • Flyboys (1/30)
  • Hart's War (1/30)

February 2007

  • The Sentinel (2/13)
  • Entrapment (2/13)
  • Broken Arrow (2/13)
  • Phone Booth (2/13)
  • Planet of the Apes (2001) (2/13)
  • Chain Reaction (2/13)
  • The Marine (2/13)
  • The Usual Suspects (2/13)

March 2007

  • Ice Age (3/13)
  • Dodgeball (3/13)
  • Commando (3/13)
  • From Hell (3/13)
  • Dances with Wolves (3/13)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (3/13)
  • Hoosiers (3/13)

April 2007

  • The Fly (1986) (4/3)
  • Tristan & Isolde (4/3)
  • Me, Myself & Irene (4/3)
  • Dude, Where's My Car? (4/3)
  • Turistas (4/17)
  • The Silence of the Lambs
  • Hannibal

May 2007

  • Master & Commander
  • Man on Fire
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Predator
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • The Siege
  • Platoon
  • The Graduate
  • Battle of Britain
  • A Bridge Too Far

June 2007

  • Independence Day
  • I, Robot
  • Cast Away
  • Ronin
  • To Live & Die in L.A.
  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • Out of Time
  • Walking Tall
  • Bull Durham

This quite the list of movies, with my particular favorites being Master & Commander, Cast Away, and Dances with Wolves. Missing, however, are more A-list titles that would really get a person's attention, like Alien and Aliens, and of course, the Star Wars movies. Maybe something really exciting will come in the second half of 2007.

Not content with just announcing a list of the 46 titles, Fox went an additional step to boast about how right they think they are to be aligned exclusively on the Blu-ray front in the high definition format war.

Citing their own research, they believe that Blu-ray sales surpassed HD DVD sales in December, and that it will widen the gap to a 3:1 margin as early as March. Oddly, the chart they use to illustrate their research and projections shows dates beginning at "10/30/10" and ending on "4/2/11." I'm presuming that either someone at Fox Research isn't completely literate when it comes to using a spreadsheet, or they have some sort of internal references for years that don't match the Julian calendar the rest of the world has found useful. It's also possible that they actually do predict that Blu-ray won't overtake HD DVD sales by that 3:1 margin until March of 2011.

Needless to say, I am taking their figures with a truck-sized grain of salt, as any intelligent person should take unsubstantiated statistics and projections that cannot be independently verified, no matter who it's coming from.

That aside, Fox is planning to have quite a first half of the year in regards to high definition releases. Maybe if they see the kinds of sales they're predicting, they'll think about releasing some more A-list titles.

Hopefully it will also cause them to think about the 175,000 people that have purchased HD DVD players that currently are not able to play their movies (which will grow to 2.5 million if the HD DVD group's numbers become a reality). While patting themselves on the back for the choices they've made may be fun in the board room, it's the consumers who buy their product. All studios would do well to remember that.

Press Release

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Continues Blu-ray Industry Leadership with Aggressive Release Strategy

More Than 40 Fox and MGM Titles To Debut On BD In First-Half 2007

-- Studio Research Shows BD Vastly Outpacing HD DVD (chart) --

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. & LAS VEGAS, January 8 /CNW/ - Continuing its industry leadership role and unwavering commitment to the Blu-ray disc format, the only high-definition packaged media format supported by the movie, music, gaming and computing industries, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) announced its impressive slate of upcoming Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles due for release through the first half of 2007 in North America. Following the chart-topping sales success of Q4 2006 releases X-Men: The Last Stand and Ice Age: The Meltdown BD releases -- 2 of the top 3 BD sellers to date-- plans call for the Company to collectively release an average of 5 to 10 titles per month from Fox and MGM. The Studio's new release titles will be released day-and-date with DVD whenever possible including the recent box-office smash hit A Night at the Museum and the fantasy epic Eragon coming later this year.

"We are looking forward to this pivotal year and the ultimate establishment of Blu-ray as the high-definition packaged media standard. In fact, Blu-ray sales performance surpassed HD-DVD for the first time the week of December 24 and did so by an impressive 20 per cent. What's more, by the end of the first quarter our research shows the sales gap widening to Blu-ray outselling HD DVD by a 3.5-to-1 ratio," noted Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "We remain extremely encouraged by the growth in sales and player penetration and are fully committed to creating the most compelling products possible and to the continued pioneering development of BD with our partners."

Proprietary Fox Research incorporating industry data shows Blu-ray Disc eclipsing HD DVD on a weekly sales basis as noted in chart below.

Weekly Sales Rate of BD Movies to More than Triple HD DVD by End of First Quarter 2007 (Graphic: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC)

Fox is one of the first studios to release titles with advanced BD-Java interactivity as well titles on dual-layer 50 GB Blu-ray Discs. MGM will release its first 50 GB dual-layer Blu-ray disc later in January with the debut of Flyboys. Fox has plans to release eight additional 50 GB BD in the first half of 2007 beginning with The Fly (1986) in April.

The studio's upcoming North American slate features a wide range of titles that will benefit from the incredible audio and video elements of the Blu-ray format. All of Fox's BD releases are aimed at the core early adopter and include:

    January 23      Alien Vs Predator, Men of Honor, Courage Under Fire
    February 13     The Sentinel, Entrapment, Broken Arrow, Phone Booth,
                    Planet of the Apes (2001), Chain Reaction, The Marine
    March 13        Ice Age, Dodgeball, Commando, From Hell
    April 3         The Fly (1986), Tristan & Isolde, Me, Myself & Irene,
                    Dude, Where's My Car?
    April 17        Turistas
    May '07         Master & Commander, Man on Fire, Edward Scissorhands,
                    Predator, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,
                    The Siege
    June '07        Independence Day, I, Robot, Cast Away

Additionally, a stellar line-up of BD releases for North America are coming from MGM and include:

    January 30      Flyboys, Hart's War
    February 13     The Usual Suspects
    March 13        Dances with Wolves, The Thomas Crown Affair, Hoosiers
    April '07       The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal
    May '07         Platoon, The Graduate, Battle of Britain,
                    A Bridge Too Far
    June '07        Ronin, To Live & Die in L.A., A Fistful of Dollars,
                    Out of Time, Walking Tall, Bull Durham

Fox and MGM entered the Blu-ray in November 2006 to coincide with the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3. Currently available titles from Fox include X-Men: The Last Stand, Behind Enemy Lines, The Omen, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed,The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Transporter, Kingdom of Heaven, Fantastic Four, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Flight of the Phoenix, Rising Sun, The Devil Wears Prada and Transporter 2. Currently available MGM is Windtalkers, Bulletproof Monk and Rocky.

Blu-ray Disc is a next generation optical disc format developed for high-definition video and high-capacity software applications. A single-layer Blu-ray Disc holds up to 25 gigabytes of data and a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc holds up to 50 gigabytes of data. This greater storage capacity enables the Blu-ray Disc to store over six times the amount of content than is possible with current DVDs, and is particularly well-suited for high definition feature films with extended levels of additional bonus and interactive material. Blu-ray also features the most advanced copy protection, backward compatibility with the current DVD format, connectivity and advanced interactivity.

Fox takes advantage of the next generation format's high definition technology and advanced functionality to present its titles with the highest quality audiovisual elements. Showcasing picture quality with twice the resolution of DVD and theater quality "uncompressed" audio for the purest digital sound, the cutting-edge discs also feature enhanced and integrated menus, games, high-definition bonus materials and Java-encoding for more dynamic and sophisticated interactivity.

Fox's commitment to emerging technologies is dedicated to enhancing the consumer experience of its products and providing for backward compatibility with their existing home entertainment libraries while also aggressively protecting its intellectual property from piracy. The Blu-ray companies fully embrace the Studio's steadfast commitment to the fight against piracy and the preservation of the integrity of its properties. Twentieth Century Fox is a member of the Board of Directors of the Blu- ray Disc Association.

A recognized global industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC (TCFHE) is the worldwide marketing, sales and Distribution company for all Fox film and television programming on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) as well as acquisitions and original productions. The company also releases all products around the globe for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets -- from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce - throughout the world. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC is a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company.

Source: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Press Release

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