More movies on the way for PSP

Lions Gate will release films for the handheld game player, making it the first third-party studio to support Sony's new UMD media format.

Lions Gate Entertainment plans to format movies for the PlayStation Portable, the company announced Friday, a move that makes it the first outside film studio to support Sony's new UMD media format.

A Lions Gate representative said that the studio planned to begin releasing movies in the Universal Media Disc format used by the PSP shortly after the portable game players are introduced in North America on March 24. Initial releases for the PSP will include recent thrillers such as "House of the Dead" and "Saw," and older action films such as "Total Recall" and "Step Into Liquid."

"Lions Gate has embraced each new viable technological advancement in the home entertainment arena as it has appeared on the horizon," Lions Gate President Steve Beeks said in a statement. "The PSP is truly an incredible machine that will quickly become a popular format with which to enjoy filmed entertainment...From the time it was initially announced, we were preparing for ways we could mileage our extensive library to deliver content for the platform."

Sony revealed plans for the PSP last year, positioning it as a potential breakthrough machine that would do for digital media what the Walkman did for analog music. Besides the new UMD format, the device includes built-in wireless networking and 3D graphics capabilities.

While Sony is primarily marketing the device as a game machine, movies have become an increasingly important part of the company's plans for turning the PSP into a mass-market phenomenon. The company is introducing the PSP in North America with a package that includes a UMD copy of the Sony-released "Spider-Man 2." Sony Pictures Home Entertainment plans to have other movies ready to play on the gadget when it arrives in North America.

Sony also has signed up a number of Japanese content partners that plan to sell anime-style cartoons and music videos on UMD discs.

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