Blu-ray, HD DVD Pushing Major Titles This Week

Proponents of both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc will be closely watching the numbers to see how some of the biggest titles yet released exclusively in only one next-gen format or the other will sell, starting this week.

Disney is going all out with a major print and online campaign to push the exclusive Blu-ray debut of its first two titles in its "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise this week, preceding the theater release of its third pirate movie this Friday, May 25. Last summer's second movie in the trilogy, "Dead Man's Chest," broke several U.S. box office records for that time, and both films had been released on standard DVD months ago.

In full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal and other national and regional publications, Disney promises the 1080p two-disc pirate sets will come with "uncompressed surround sound and never-before-seen high-definition interactive bonus features."

Also this week, another one of the most successful movie franchises of the last decade, "The Matrix" trilogy, is being released on HD DVD. The more costly of two box sets includes five discs in what High-Def Digest and others are calling perhaps the most ambitious DVD package ever released. (Matrix titles also will be released on Blu-ray by Warner Brothers in late 2007.)

At least 15 other Blu-ray and/or HD DVD titles are being released this week, including "Flag of Our Fathers," "Apocalypto" and both "Mission: Impossible" films.