Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) president, Benjamin S. Feingold, today announced the company's initial 20 titles for release on the next-generation, high-definition Blu-ray Disc format. The slate of Blu-ray titles from SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will be released in conjunction with hardware manufacturers' delivery of the first Blu-ray Disc products at retail.

"Beginning this Spring, SPHE will support the rollout of BD-compatible players, PCs and drives from a variety of consumer electronics and computer companies by offering a wide-breadth of high-definition movies and other promotional materials," said Mr. Feingold.

The first slate of BD titles encompasses a diverse mix of genres including The Fifth Element, in multichannel uncompressed audio "Bram Stoker's Dracula", Desperado, "For a Few Dollars More", "The Guns of Navarone", Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight's Tale, Kung Fu Hustle, "The Last Waltz", Legends of the Fall, "Resident Evil Apocalypse", Robocop, Sense and Sensibility, Stealth, Species, "SWAT" and XXX. Black Hawk Down and "The Bridge on the River Kwai" will also be available on 50 GB, dual-layer Blu-ray Discs Summer 2006.

"With the announcement of these first 20 titles, I am delighted to say that the age of Blu-ray has truly arrived," said Mr Feingold. "BD delivers the most advanced high-definition experience available to entertainment enthusiasts today, while offering filmmakers a limitless canvas to express their artistic vision."

In addition to 1920x1080p HD master quality, consumers will benefit from Blu-ray Disc's immense improvements over current DVD technology including enhanced menu navigation, increased added-value and new interactive capabilities.

"MGM has always been committed to presenting its films in the best formats available," said Blake Thomas, head of MGM Home Entertainment. "The Blu-ray high definition format allows us to give movie lovers what they deserve: the absolutely best viewing experience available today."

Commencing Summer 2006, SPHE will begin adding bonus BD Java games, and other anticipated features, to new release titles including Underworld Evolution that will street day-and-date with DVD. The studio announced it will also deliver four catalog titles per month beginning this Summer, accelerating to 10 titles per month by the fourth quarter 2006. Also being readied for Summer release is the complete television series of sci-fi favorite, "Stargate Atlantis," in high-definition.

"Our strategy is to release new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD to drive consumer awareness, excitement and sales of high-definition movies. We will also release a continuous slate of catalog titles that film enthusiasts love to own, to further maximize consumer interest," added Mr. Feingold.