Sony Pictures Entertainment is delaying the launch of its first titles on the new Blu-ray Disc high-definition video format for a month, it said Thursday.
The company had originally planned to ship eight movie titles on May 23 and seven more on June 13. Now the initial eight titles will ship on June 20 while a new launch date for the latter seven has not been decided, said Sony.
The delay is unlikely to inconvenience consumers as the first Blu-ray Disc player isn’t expected to be available until five days later on June 25.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. had originally planned to launch a player on May 23 and Sony’s original launch date was chosen to coincide. However, a month ago Samsung said it was delaying the sale of its player. At the time Sony said it wouldn’t hold up its Blu-ray Disc launch, but on Thursday said retailers had requested a delay to match Samsung’s launch date.
The first eight Sony titles will be: “50 First Dates,” “The Fifth Element,” “Hitch,” “House of Flying Daggers,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “The Last Waltz,” “Resident Evil Apocalypse” and “XXX.” A ninth movie, “Underworld: Evolution,” that had been scheduled to debut on June 3 will also launch on June 20. The latter seven titles are: “Kung Fu Hustle,” “Legends of the Fall,” “Robocop,” “Stealth,” “Species,” “Swat” and “Terminator.”
Lionsgate Films is also planning to launch Blu-ray Disc titles on June 20.
Blu-ray Disc is one of two new optical disc formats vying to replace current DVDs for high-definition content, such as movies. The format battle has pitted industry giants against each other. The main backers of Blu-ray Disc include Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and Samsung while companies supporting the rival HD-DVD format include Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp. and Intel Corp.
Players and discs for the rival HD-DVD format went on sale in Japan in March and in the U.S. in April.