UMD movies priced, <i>House of Flying Daggers</i> added

$19.99-$28.95 price range established for UMD movies; Zhang Yimou's kung-fu adventure becomes the seventh film confirmed for the format.

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Until today, if you didn't like animation, action, or horror, you had no options when it came to watching prerecorded movies on the PSP. So far, Sony had only confirmed that a quintet of titles would appear on its handheld gaming devices' proprietary Universal Media Disc (UMD), a 60mm optical disc capable of holding up to 1.8GB of data.

Now, the art-house crowd will have one of their own favorites in the slowly expanding UMD film library. Sony announced this afternoon that The House of Flying Daggers would be the sixth film officially released on the format. Directed by Oscar-nominated Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou (Hero, Raise the Red Lantern), it features Hong Kong film icon Andy Lau and Japanese leading man Takeshi Kaneshiro playing two medieval police deputies hot on the trail of a suspected revolutionary, played by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi.

While Ziyi's legions of fans will be pleased to hear Daggers is coming to UMD, Sony revealed more news regarding the format--namely its price. While no price was given for Spider-Man 2, which will ship free with the first 1 million PSPs sold in the US, XXX, Hellboy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico will all retail for just $19.99, roughly in line with their DVD editions. Given its upscale pedigree, The House of Flying Daggers will retail for around 30 percent more, for $28.95. All five UMD films will be available on April 19, just under a month after the PSP goes on sale on March 24.

No price was revealed for the seventh US-bound UMD announced thus far, the still-undated, computer-animated Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, based on Square-Enix's popular role-playing game. Also, the US UMD price is lower than the approximate 3,900 yen ($36) cost of Japanese UMD movies, which was announced by Sony Japan earlier in the day.

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