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Hollywood Movies Come to Wii

Honor for first real Japanese video service for a console goes to Wii and Fuji Soft


Sony, Microsoft, Fuji Soft. Which of these companies actually managed to set up a domestic movie download service with actual Hollywood movie content?

The answer is: Fuji Soft. The company announced today that its "Minna no Theater Wii" ("Everyone's Theater Wii") WiiWare app will take delivery of movie content starting June 17. Downloaders can look forward to eventual availability of 250 movies of Western, Japanese and Korean origin.

Minna no Theater Wii has been providing video downloads since January 27. The service requires that users download a 500 WiiPoint viewer program from the Wii Shopping Channel. This is then used to browse and view videos in streaming form at DVD quality. While the service provides different viewing plans, the cheapest course consists of a two day rental for 300 WiiPoints (multiple episodes of an anime are bundled together for this price).

The service has had categories for anime, movie, drama, variety, education and music since day one, but most of the offerings have been in the anime area, with some 4,000 episodes of content now available. Recently, the service gained some attention by offering Academy Award winning Tsumiki no Ie for download.

Starting on June 17, Fuji Soft will begin a big push for the movie area of the service. The first batch of titles is due on that day and will consist of 34 Hollywood movies, including Eagle Eye, Mission Impossible, Bad news Bears, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Racing With the Moon, and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. Joining these titles will be 30 Japanese movies and 3 Korean movies.

For the Hollywood side of the business, Fuji Soft says that it's working with Sonic Solutions' Cinema Now. Through this partnership, it plans on continually delivering films from major studios.

The viewing charges will remain unchanged for the full length features.

Coinciding with the big Hollywood push, Fuji Soft is improving the quality of its viewer program. In addition to a tweaked interface, users will now have have access to expanded searching capabilities and a "recommended" list.

A full list of available titles can be seen at the Minna no Theater Wii official site. The site has yet to be updated with the new movie content.

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