Concurrent release for 'Treasure' planned

Having released its first two movies for Sony’s PSP videogame system last week, Disney has already announced about 10 more for the next three months.

Following up on “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” the studio is releasing “National Treasure” on May 3 concurrently with the debut of the standard DVD edition. The PSP version, on a disc called a Universal Media Disc that is about two inches in diameter, features interactive menus and navigation elements that are customized specifically for the DVD, as well as previews for movies designated specifically as “coming soon to PSP.”

Although “Pirates” and “National Treasure” are too long at 131 minutes and 143 minutes, respectively, to include any bonus features, Disney is including extras on most of its releases. DVDs can store about five times more optical media than the UMD.

Disney is the only major studio other than Sony to release movies on PSP. Fox is believed to be close and Lions Gate has committed to doing so.

“Reign of Fire” and “Hero” also will be released May 3.

Disney has also announced that “Tron,” the pioneering CGI movie that takes place inside a videogame, will be released for the PSP on June 21, along with “King Arthur: The Director’s Cut” and simultaneous PSP releases of “Hostage” and “Cursed” with the standard DVD.

“Kill Bill Vol. 2,” “Gone in 60 Seconds: The Director’s Cut,” “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Armageddon” will debut have their PSP debut on July 19.

Daniel Silverberg, new business development exec director at Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment, says the studio is eyeing a release of “The Incredibles” on PSP in time for Christmas.

Early sales results of the first few PSP movies launched April 19 — five from Sony and the first two from Disney — are considered strong given that PSP hardware hasn’t leaped off shelves as quickly as projected.

Musicland, Best Buy and Virgin Entertainment Group reported that unit sales are exceeding projections.

“Thirty percent of our stock has sold through on (Sony’s) ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ ” Virgin manager Bart Saunt said. “We’ll have to re-order.”

Studios have been relatively conservative with their shipments of PSP movie discs. Insiders say Sony shipped collectively about 500,000 units of its first five titles — “Hellboy,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” “XXX” and “Flying Daggers.” (“Spider-Man 2” has been included with PSP players sold since March.)

For standard DVDs, studios typically ship millions of units of each new major release.

About 15% of Sony’s total PSP movie stock sold at retail in their first week on shelves, according to industry estimates.

Movie UMDs are priced similarly to movie DVDs.

(Susanne Ault and Eliza Gallo of Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive contributed to this report.)

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