Competition is heating up at the box office for the New Year's weekend starting today, with the attention focused on whether "A Frozen Flower
", a drama of homosexuality and betrayal, can knock "Speedy Scandal
" off its perch.
Ticket reservation data showed that yesterday "A Frozen Flower
", directed by Yoo Ha
, emerged as the favorite for the holiday weekend, outpacing "Speedy Scandal
", a comedy starring Korean Wave star Cha Tae-hyeon
"Ssanghwajeom", whose English title is "A Frozen Flower
", dominated 71 percent of the ticket reservations on Wednesday, according to the Korean Film Council, while "Speed Scandal" lost its momentum to stand at No. 3.
The strong ticket sales of "A Frozen Flower
" were widely expected because it not only deals with highly sensational topics, including homosexuality during the late period of Goryeo Dynasty, but also features two of the country's most famous actors, Joo Jin-mo
and Jo In-Seong
In the film, the nation is now under the virtual rule of China's Yuan Dynasty, and Goryeo's king (Joo Jin-mo
) has to produce a son to keep his position. The only problem is that he cannot sleep with a woman and his real romantic partner is his chief bodyguard Hong Lim (Jo In-Seong
Their secret relationship begins to fall apart when the king decides to ask Hong Lim to sleep with his wife, assuming falsely that all his political problems will go away once there is a royal son.
Due to the graphic violence and frequent sex scenes, "A Frozen Flower
" is clearly targeted at adult viewers, a limitation that critics expected would limit its box-office performance in competition with other family-oriented films. Defying such predications, the historical drama seems likely to stage a solid performance in the New Year's holiday between Thursday and Sunday.
Even though the momentum has subsided a bit, "Speedy Scandal
" is holding up. The small-budget film, whose one and only recognizable actor is Cha Tae-hyeon
, already sold 4 million tickets, emerging as a sleeper hit toward the end of the year.
" appeals to Korean moviegoers largely because Cha, who built his fame with a role in Asia-wide hit movie "My Sassy Girl
", plays a graceful supporting role instead of trying to do all the work.
The film portrays a 30-something radio host (played by Cha) who has to confront his long-forgotten past in a situational comedy format. Although the plot is far from creative, it is Cha's creative choice to remain low-key that allows other characters to shine in a way that entertains many Korean viewers and has helped the movie remain at the No. 1 slot at the box office for the past four weeks.
"Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", the latest animated feature by renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, is also expected to continue its strong box-office performance thanks to its lighter theme and adorable characters.
"Bolt", an animated feature that heavily relies on computer graphics, is now set to compete with "Ponyo" during the holiday period. "Bolt" is the latest film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Its voice actors include John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Claire Holt, Diedrich Bader and its plot centers upon a small white dog named Bolt who thinks that he has super powers.
Meanwhile, "Yes Man", a situational comedy where Jim Carrey plays a junior loan officer at a bank, who keeps saying no to everyone and to every opportunity, is within the top five rankings of major ticket reservation databases.
The film depicts a transformative process through which the main character enters a new phase in his life, taking on many challenges in life, including Korean language lessons.
The Korean Film Council data also showed that two Hollywood films - "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Twilight" - are still favored by Korean viewers at the end of the year.
But "Dalkomhan Geojitmal" ("Lost and Found
"), a Korean romantic comedy produced and distributed by CJ Entertainment, continued to lose ground at the box office, failing to make it to the top rankings in ticket reservations. The film was released in 480 theaters thanks to CJ Entertainment, Korea's biggest film production and distribution company, but CJ's bet turned out to be misplaced.
By Yang Sung-jin