Fox and MGM unveil aggressive Blu-ray Disc release strategy

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) today unveiled an aggressive global Blu-ray Disc release strategy including 29 new release and “must-have” catalog titles that runs through the end of the 2007 calendar year. Among the many highlights are six day & date BD/DVD new theatrical releases from Fox including the $241 million box-office family favorite FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER and the $335 million box-office action powerhouse LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, four day & date BD/DVD (U.S. only) new theatrical releases from MGM, 19 ‘must-have on BD’ films from the two studios’ libraries, Fox’s first-ever TV release on BD – PRISON BREAK — and Fox’s intention to release at least one state-of-the-art title per month featuring numerous BD ‘firsts.’

The only high-definition packaged media universally supported by the film, music, gaming and computer industries, BD is the #1 selling high-definition packaged media. In fact, on a worldwide basis, BD is averaging nearly 70% market-share per week of all high definition titles sold this year and, in the U.S., it is out-performing HD DVD by a margin of 115%.

“Given that Blu-ray has consistently outsold HD DVD all year, and this is the case for any titles released by any studio in both formats, we believe that the time is right for us to accelerate our activities and help convert the nearly 60 million high definition households worldwide into Blu-ray households,” noted Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, in the press release. “By the end of this calendar year there will be expansive availability of technically vibrant releases featuring never-before-seen, advanced BD-J interactivity as well as a broad offering of playback devices at attractive prices that will prove to any doubting consumers once and for all that Blu-ray is the only way.”

“And as Blu-ray continues to grows stronger, it has become survival of the fittest which is most apparent in the retail landscape where our eager and growing global Blu-ray consumer base has caused a shift that is forcing the allocation of more space to the format that is selling the best. And, in many recent instances of note, top retailers in North America are choosing to promote the Blu-ray format exclusively in their stores,” continued Dunn.

Among the BD industry ‘firsts’ from the Studios’ upcoming global release slate are picture in picture capability, enhanced viewing and surround sound modes with the ability to mix and match picture and sound, direct access to in-movie features through one of the four colored buttons on the BD remote and the most technically vibrant BD-Java interactive multi-player challenge and trivia games to date. The Studios’ slate also takes full advantage of BD-Live functionality this fourth quarter. Internet-connected consumers will enjoy unique, title specific “web-enabled” interactive features and games and “web-exclusive” downloadable content with the ability to connect and interact with other broadband BD users worldwide.

Cementing its leadership position within the industry – previous BD releases NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and X-MEN THE LAST STAND rank in the Top 20 best-sellers – the vast majority of the Studios’ upcoming global slate will be presented on 50 GB dual-layer discs with advanced BD-J interactivity and feature numerous Blu-ray exclusive high-definition bonus materials that further realizes BD’s incredible potential. Consumers will enjoy the superior video and audio elements of AVC encoding and Lossless HD audio on many of the coming titles as well as enhanced and integrated menus, personal scene selections, search indexing, trivia and other title specific games and high-definition bonus materials.

Upcoming BD-J features exclusive to priority catalogue titles from Fox and MGM include an “Alien Scavenger Hunt” (INDEPENDENCE DAY) that challenges players to earn points by identifying the correct number of aliens in select scenes to unlock additional bonus features; a “Global Warming Trivia Track” (THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW) where users must correctly answer questions about global warming to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising and being destroyed; and a historical and geographical pop-up map (MASTER & COMMANDER) that tracks the location of Captain “Lucky” Jack Aubrey and his enemies.

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, player 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 six times 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.

The Studio’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.

Full press release with upcoming release schedule here.


  1. To put the nail in the coffin Blu-Ray should release a player @ 200 dollars. It’s war clearly if Paramount is sticking with HD-DVD. Their reasons is because HD-DVD is a cheaper platform yet Blu-Ray is outpacing them by 115 percent. Something doesn’t make sense here. Apple should make the push and decide now. I know they favor Blu-Ray be done with it and release it on the Macs. Like how Apple did with the SuperDrive. They brought down DVD authoring within reach for many. If Sony can sell a PS3 for 399 then they can sell a player box for 199.

  2. I’ll wait and see which format takes the prize as the official HD format before I buy anything. Not to mention those players and recorders are just way to expensive along with the media.

  3. Somebody call me when they narrow it down to one format or the other. In the meantime, I can’t really muster any enthusiasm about this topic. Except maybe the fraction of an enthusiasm unit it took to post this reply, about .3 on the enthusometer.

  4. Yeah, right. Like consumers are going to want to get involved in the middle of another format war. Hollywood, figure it out & put your egos aside! The consumers do not want to be your guinea pigs! In the meantime, regular DVD’s are plenty fine. I don’t hear anybody clamoring for these new HD formats.

  5. If you only count players, then HD-DVD is leading in percentage of sales – but nobody will release the number of players sold.

    Sony has sold 1.5 million PS3’s, which all include Blue-Ray. MS has only sold about 160,000 HD-DVD players for their Xbox 360.

    But, Sony consistently claims that Blue Ray disks outsell HD-DVD disks. How much of those sales are to Blockbuster, which recently decided to go BD vs HD-DVD?

  6. There’s more to the press release? God spare us, that was boring enough.

    Anyhoo, to paraphrase SJ at the Town Hall, I guess some people still burn disks. 720p movie downloads and streaming movie rentals. Disk = future 8 track. Future Macs – no disk burning at all, think Apple TV. Still using disks? You’ll need one of those computers that still burn 3.5″ floppies.

  7. whuddevah ….

    i’m perfectly happy with my dvds. i think i’ll skip the blu-ray vs. hd-dvd boat and catch whatever comes next.

    i’m all for early adoption of technology, but this is a plain case of the studios playing the suckas.

  8. Just as Apple head for small downloadable, highly compressed film formats for Apple TV the film makers are heading in the other direction.
    I wonder who is going to win ? You don’t get many 20Gig movies on any consumer sized HD.

  9. FYI: Blue-Ray disks are mastered in the old outdated MPEG2 compression. Why you ask? Because Sony requires it. Why? Because Sony collects licensing fees from MPEG2.

    Blue-Ray disks could look so much better. But hey, when they do release them with superior compression, you can just buy them again!

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