Movie PictureFor Blu-ray and Bond the mix keeps bringing smiles to Sony's bean counters.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE)'s blockbuster Bond title, Casino Royale, released March 13 on Blu-ray Disc, has hit the 100,000 units shipped mark and is setting records at retail for greatest number of high-definition copies sold in one day, it was announced today by SPHE Worldwide President, David Bishop. The title debuted in the top 10 on Amazon's DVD top-sellers list - a first for any film in high definition. The film's director, Martin Campbell, extolled the disc quality and commented, "It's just unbelievable. Clearly, it's fantastic. The comparison between standard def DVD and Blu-ray is quite stunning and quite transparent to the master. It's precisely what would make me want to buy a copy."

Since the November launch of Playstation 3, sales of Blu-ray titles have risen exponentially - a more than 700 percent increase. "As a point of comparison, the first DVD title to ship 100,000 units took approximately 11 months (Air Force One, in February 1998)," said Mr. Bishop. "Casino Royale on Blu-ray has done it in far less time and is clearly demonstrating the format's robust growth in the marketplace." Sony DADC has replicated more than two million Blu-ray Discs for Sony Pictures since the launch of the format.

SPHE's Blu-ray Disc offering at retail has expanded with new release titles such as The Holiday (March 13), Rocky Balboa (March 20), The Pursuit of Happyness (March 27), Volver (April 3), Catch and Release (May 8) and Stomp the Yard (May 15) hitting shelves across the next two months. One hundred percent of the new release and catalog titles just announced from SPHE, detailed below, fully utilize the capacity advantage the Blu-ray format's 50GB dual-layer disc offers, with more than 20 50GB titles already in the marketplace.

"Blu-ray has accounted for approximately 70 percent of the high-definition market since the first week in January, and as that market share continues to grow, we are dedicated to providing consumers with the content they crave," added Mr. Bishop.

SPHE's Blu-ray releases will continue to utilize MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC codecs, uncompressed audio and feature high-definition added-value content.

"We are wholly committed to bringing consumers the best picture and sound quality available, with the most innovative format features, and will continue to expand our high-definition slate in 2007 and beyond," said Mr. Bishop.

SPHE has also announced a broad selection of catalog titles including: Big Fish (March 20), Identity (April 3), Donnie Brasco (May 8) and Closer (May 22). Other catalog titles scheduled for upcoming release are Warriors of Heaven and Earth (March 27), Secret Window (April 24) and Revenge (May 8).

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