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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to Have Digital Cinema Release

(July 10, 2001)
Columbia Pictures will release "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" nationally on July 11 in more than 2,500 theaters, with seven premiering the sci-fi action-adventure in digital cinema format, it was announced today by Rory Bruer, executive vice president, general sales manager for Sony Pictures Releasing.

The film, directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and produced by Sakaguchi, Jun Aida and Chris Lee, features the voices of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin, Ming-Na, Ving Rhames, Donald Sutherland and James Woods.

Only 12 theaters nationwide currently possess the capability to present films in digital format. A digital cinema release is often praised for its consistent quality and ability to enhance the visual experience of moviegoing.

The seven cities that will release "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" digitally are: AMC Empire, New York City; Edwards Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, Calif.; AMC Media 6, Burbank, Calif.; Cinemark Legacy, Dallas; Famous Players Paramount, Toronto; AMC Barrington, Chicago; and the AMC Van Ness, San Francisco.

"These screens will be using a Texas Instruments DLP projector, operating from a server called a QuBit," explained Bill Hausch, senior vice president, Strategic Technologies, Digital Studios Division for Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The sensation you get with digital cinema is a picture without a flicker, scratches, dirt or focus flutter. We're providing the moviegoing patron a glimpse of the future of theatrical exhibition."

The presentation of "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" in digital cinema is also the first presentation of an 8 Channel Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS) motion picture in an electronic format. The premium audio format utilizes five full-range screen channels instead of the conventional three. SDDS equipment currently installed in theaters will reproduce the 8 Channel audio in the seven digital engagements across North America.

"We are very excited that Columbia is releasing this film in a digital format," said Chris Lee, one of the producers of "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within." "This medium is something exciting and different, and so is our film."

The first major studio film to be released digitally was "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" in 1999. "Toy Story 2," released digitally later that same year, was the first CGI (computer-generated imagery) film to do so.

"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" emerges from its successful interactive game roots to deliver an exciting new breed of motion picture adventure. A fresh take on the sci-fi genre, the film blends its spiritual underpinnings and the universal concerns of man vs. nature with the energy of the digital gaming medium and the scope of the motion picture environment. Final Fantasy game creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's vision now comes to the big screen -- a feast of concept, motion, design and imagination featuring all new-characters in an all-new adventure.

Columbia Pictures and Square Pictures present "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within." Sakaguchi directs, with the screenplay written by Al Reinert and Jeff Vintar, from an original story by Sakaguchi. Motonori Sakakibara co-directs. The film features the voices of actors Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin, Ming-Na, Ving Rhames, Donald Sutherland and James Woods, among others. Sakaguchi, Jun Aida and Chris Lee are producers. The film's creative team includes director of photography Motonori Sakakibara, animation director Andy Jones, staging director Tani Kunitake and composer Elliot Goldenthal. "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sci-fi action violence.

Columbia Pictures is a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. SPE is a division of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corp. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home video acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at

Square Pictures Inc. is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Square Co., Ltd., which is the leading third-party developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software in Japan. Square Co., Ltd. became famous for its role-playing games -- including its world-renowned Final Fantasy, which has sold more than 33 million units to date -- and now publishes other titles under the SQUARESOFT brand spanning all genres.

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