Sony slates four pix for new game system

PSP-ready titles to include 'Hellboy,' 'XXX,' 'Mexico'

Sony Pictures will release “XXX,” “Hellboy,” “Resident Evil 2” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” for the PSP, the portable game system sister company Sony Computer Entertainment America debuts in March.

Company previously said it would bundle “Spider-Man 2” with the first 1 million PSP units but didn’t provide details on any separate releases (Daily Variety, Feb. 4).

Four pics will be released on April 19. Pricing for the mini-discs, which will slip into the PSP like a cartridge, will be announced next week.

Each month thereafter, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release four-to-five catalog movies that fit the PSP target audience of 18- to 34-year-old men, according to SPHE prexy Ben Feingold.

The biggest question remaining for the PSP, a multimedia device for vidgames, movies, music and digital pictures, is whether other studios will release pics for it. Feingold said Sony has been meeting with other studios for the past nine months to solicit support and expects several to announce plans soon.

Manufacturing costs for the universal media disc (UMD) are considerably higher than current DVDs, Feingold conceded, but lower than they were for DVDs initially. He expects manufacturing costs to drop quickly as players proliferate and more content is released.

He said retailers will initially carry PSP movies in the videogame sections, but he expects the movies to eventually migrate to DVD sections of stores as the market expands.

More than 1 million units have already been sold in Japan since the launch of the PSP in December.

SPHE will release movies for the PSP in Japan in April, followed by Europe once the device reaches that continent.

(Ben Fritz contributed to this report.)

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