Legendary Korean Director Kang Woo-seok will be in Los Angeles for a special presentation of his highly anticipated upcoming release "Fist of Legend". This film will be the first Korean film to have a same weekend theatrical release in Korea and N. America! Director Kang is in Los Angeles for just 2 days, before rushing back just in time to see the film open in Seoul on April 10! "Fist of Legend" will open in 20 cities across N. America on April 12.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Dir. Kang will be participating in 2 special screening events both taking place at CGV Cinemas during his short Los Angeles visit...More
Kang Woo-seok who stepped back from the production team of "King of Chosun" due to conflicts with CJ, has confirmed on his next project. Cinema Service conveyed that Kang Woo-seok will be making web-toon "Fist of Legend" into a movie.
"Fist of Legend" is a web-toon that was published serially on the portal site Daum...More
A scene from "Gabi" / Courtesy of Cine De Epi
By Kwaak Je-yup
The wild popularity of coffee has spilled over to the silver screen, and that Western influence has created an unconventional period piece set in the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1897).
"Gabi", the newest film by Jang Yoon-hyeon ("Hwang Jin Yi", "Tell Me Something" and "The Contact", among others), has solid star-studded insurance but its first and foremost attraction remains its intriguing story. It mixes one of the most turbulent times in Korean history with the fictional tale of the beverage's introduction to the country...More
by KOFIC staff
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the Korea Movie and Video Industry Association (KMVIA) and the Korean Film Producers Association led 108 companies and organizations in a Declaration for the Normalization for Online Film Distribution on July 27.
The declaration called for online service providers to stop the illegal circulation of films. It also demanded they stop indirect technical protection of piracy and the omission of legal sales figures. It strongly demanded they adhere to guidelines for the normalization of online copyright protection. Lastly, the declaration warned online service providers that the film industry would, in collaboration, henceforth take strict and rigorous action if they did not...More
Intelligence Chase over Coffee "Gabi"
Directed by Jang Yoon-hyeon
By RA Jegy
It's the end of 19th century, and Gojong, King of Josoen flees to the Russian legation to save himself from foreign threats. The king comes into contact with western culture during his stay there, and tastes coffee for the first time in his life. After he returns to the palace, Gojong continues to enjoy coffee, while an assassination attempt takes place to kill the king by poisoning his coffee to prevent him from establishing the Korean Empire...More
'Box Office Hitter' director Kang Woo-seok's movie looks serious.
Kang Woo-seok flew to Cannes, France where the 64th Cannes International Film Festival is being held on the 12th. This is in 10 years. Chungmuro is focusing on what his actions will have to do with anything later on....More
Director Kang Woo-seok chose historical "I Am King of Chosun" as his next work.
Productions Cinema Service revealed on the 14th, "This is his 19th piece of work and first historical"....More
By Lee Hyo-won
In 1999, a story about four juvenile delinquents trashing and robbing a gas station out of sheer boredom became the second highest grossing film that year, as well as a national sensation with the word "attack" placed in random contexts becoming household vocabulary.
Director Kim Sang-jin
has taken the megaphone into his hands for a second time to direct its sequel, "Attack the Gas Station 2
But it's hard for sequels to live up the glory of its predecessor, especially when the original was a megahit.
The new movie's flaws are reflected in its very title. The film is nothing but a sequel; lacking the ability to stand and breathe on its own, it can only clutch desperately onto the number 2 at the end of its name. It is, at best, a homage to the origi...More
"No Mercy" - Can you have mercy on the film's ending?
Actors Sul Kyung-gu (left) and Ryoo Seung-beom in "No Mercy" [Cinema Service]
A chopped-up body of a young woman is found at the mouth of the Keum River. Korea's top forensic investigator Kang Min-ho (played by Sul Kyung-gu) is brought in to look into the cruel, horrendous crime method. His medical advice and detective Min Seo-young's (played by Han Hye-jin) deduction lead to the arrest of a prime suspect -- an environmental activist named Lee Sung-ho (played by Ryoo Seung-beom). Lee's confession wraps up the first part of the movie but this is where the real story of film "No Mercy" begins. Lee Sung-ho, who has kidnapped Kang Min-ho's daughter, demands that Kang prove his innocence. During the process of carrying out Lee's orders, Kang finds the connection between Lee and a criminal case for which he was a witness years ago....More
By Lee Hyo-won
opens the New Year box office with a slice of gruesome cadaver-cutting and a dash of heart-thumping chases. Obviously, this murder story is no firework event for families.
In the past, the normative formula for box office success had been period epics or action-packed stories highlighting the North-South Korean divide. But lately the focus has shifted to medium-budget, crafty crime thrillers featuring unexpected endings that slap you in the face.
Thrills once rooted in ruthless psychopathic terror lately began to take a more dramatic spin with sympathy-provoking homicides, throwing big moral questions into a murky gray zone. "No Mercy"
takes the latter to extremes; this tale of revenge may not be as visionary as "Oldboy" but it certainly is a match in terms of shock factor.
Indeed, "it's so violent, it's tragic", just as described by first-time director ...More
By Lee Hyo-won
In his first feature film, "White Night
"' ("Baekyahaeng" translation Walking the White Night
), director Park Shin-woo
does a compelling job of condensing Keigo Higashino's best-selling Japanese mystery novel ("Byakuyako" in Japanese) into a solid two-hour melodramatic thriller. And the noteworthy cast, including Son Ye-jin
, Ko Soo
and Han Seok-Kyu
, keeps things highly intriguing.
The film explores some classic themes ― the loss of innocence, traumas that haunt one for life like a phantom limb and how self-sacrifice weighs in when it comes to love. The movie invites some comparison to the indie flick "LaLa Sunshine
" as it poses some ethical questio...More
Costume drama meets violent film noir
Kyu Hyun Kim (qhyunkim)
The film opens in 19th century Korea, the late Joseon period. A small island off the coast of Seoul, known for the production of high-quality paper, it is commissioned by the court, is visited by the special prosecutor Won-kyu (Cha Seung-won
) and his men, after a suspected arson burns down a freighter and its shipment of valuable papers.
Soon Won-kyu finds himself embroiled in an island-wide conspiracy and a murder investigation, as those rumored to be responsible for the frame-up and gruesome execution of Commissioner Kang (Cheon Ho-jin
) several years ago are killed off in equally horrendous ways: boiled alive in a dyeing kettle, having his skull crushed by a rock, and so on.
Neither the old yangban owner of the paper mill (Oh Hyeon-kyeong
) nor his cynical son Kim In-kwon
) seems happy to have an outsider like Won-kyu meddle in the affairs of the island.
Meanwhile, the beautiful local shaman (Choe Ji-na) predicts an even greater disaster looming ahead for the islanders.
", written by Kim Seong-jae and Lee Won-jae
("The City of Violence
"), is a well-structured, almost old-fashioned murder mystery transposed to th...More
The first Korean blockbuster of the summer, "Public Enemy Returns"
, opens June 19th, just in time to shake up a national box office that has been dominated by Hollywood fare for several weeks. Director Kang Woo-seok
brings forth his third installment in the successful franchise that began with "Public Enemy" in 2002.
Star actor ...More
Director Kang Woo-seok
highly praised Kim Tae-hee
's potential as an actress.
On the 29th, Director Kang said, "Kim Tae-hee
will receive recognition as an actress some day". Director Kang is known for being stingy with compliments of actors and having a sharp eye, so this seldom happens.
Director Kang, who heads Cinema Service...More
Local film weekly magazine, Cine 21, provided its annual list of the most powerful players in the Korean film industry, with CJ Entertainment president KIM Joo-seong at the top for the first time. With the industry taking a downturn last year, CJ Ent. has grown to become the key investor and distributor for many of the biggest projects expected out this year, including "Modern Boy
" and "...More
is one of Korea's most popular child actors since the film The Way Home
(Jibero) in which he played a spoiled city boy left with his grandmother in the country. YOO's next film will be "Unforgettable"
(Seouli Bonya, English translation: "can you see Seoul?"), two years after his latest film "Hearty Paws" ("Heart is...
. - Maeumi).
The film reunites YOO with director Song Dong-yoon
, the two also collaborated on Woori Seonsaengnim in 2005. The Cinema Service production will be rel...More
"Shadows in the Palace
" Women's film of 2007
Women in Film selected director Kim Mi-jung
's "Shadows in the Palace
" as the 2007 women's film deserving special attention. The court mystery is KIM's directorial debut and Park Jin-hee
was her leading lady.
PARK played a medically skilled court lady who investigates a murder cover-up and becomes entangled in power relations in the C...More
Korean films are struggling to maintain their market share, as a dearth of major hits undercuts their competitiveness, latest data released by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) showed.
The number of Korean moviegoers who watched local films plunged 29.1 percent year-on-year in the January-October period this year. In contrast, foreign films witnessed a 35.3 percent growth in ticket sales during the same period.
The market share of Korean movies also tumbled from 62.3 percent last year to 46.4 percent this year, while foreign films rallied to achieve the remaining 53.6 percent, sharply up from 37.7 percent.
What's worse, while viewership slid significantly, the number of Korean films released in the first 10 months was 89, three more than the same period a year ago, further worsening profitability.
Hostile market conditions are dealing a harsh blow to major film distributors here. Heavyweight producers like CJ Entertainment, Showbo...More
Debuting director Kim Mi-jung
joined the increasingly influential ranks of female directors in Korea. She starts out with a historical thriller set in a harem at a royal court, titled "Shadows in the Palace
portrays the protagonist. She investigates a murder in the court which is kept under wraps. The headstrong woman pushes on while being opposed and unc...More
The summer season has been dominated by Hollywood blockbusters, but a wide collection of Korean films are lining up for a release during the Chuseok holiday in September.
The holiday, which will effectively last from September 22 to 26, is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year at the local box office. With many big hits having been launched during Chuseok in past years, attention is focusing on which of this year's films may have the potential to break out.
Local distributors CJ Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment, Showbox, and Cinema Service have each lined up a film for release, while Hollywood branch office Fox will also distribute one Korean title.
CJ's selection is "The Happy Life"
by director Lee Joon-ik
, who has acquired star status in Korea after box office smash "More
SK Telecom, one of Korea's leading telecoms firms, is strongly considering a move into the Korean film industry.
The company announced on June 14 that it is considering setting up a film investment and distribution arm in 2008. Although SKT has already participated in film investment funds and owns a significant share of talent/production houses iHQ and Chungeorahm, the establishment of its own distribution arm would be expected to cause a considerable shakeup in the film industry.
"If we enter the film industry, we will unveil our new businesses from next year, however we have not yet determined the scale of the endeavor", the firm said. "We are also not ruling out the possibility of importing foreign titles in order to establish a distribution lineup".
Nonetheless, SKT stated that it is not consideri...More
As big Hollywood blockbusters start flooding our screens this summer, with every one claiming some box office record or other, the Chosun Ilbo for the first time rates the ticket sales of Korean movies, as opposed to audience numbers. The numbers come from movie distributors like CJ Entertainment, Showbox and Cinema Service, and the results are sometimes surprising.
When we rated the top 10 according to box office takings, the first to fifth were all overturned (chart 1). Thus "The Host"
by Bong Joon-ho
, which was seen by 13.02 million people, only comes second with a total income of W79.1 billion (US$1=938). Instead, "The King and the Clown
" by Lee Joon-ik
, which was seen by 12.3 million people, came first with a total income of W80.5 billion. "...More
The big-budget period drama "Hwang Jin Yi
" has received a special screening in North Korea ahead of its local release.
The film, which is based on the life of Korea's most famous gisaeng (the Korean equivalent to the Japanese "geisha"), is adapted from a famous novel by North Korean author Hong Seok-jung
As the novel references several famous sites in what is now North Korea, the filmmakers made a special effort to shoot the...More
Director Lee Chang-dong
's highly anticipated fourth feature will shine on screens at around the same time in France and Korea this month. "Secret Sunshine
" will have its World Premiere on May 24th both domestically and in competition at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival.
The film's distributor , Cinema Service, coordinated the date of its local release with that of the Cannes official screening, in order to make it truly a World Premiere. The film was originally set to be released locally May 17th. "...More
The Korean film 'Miryang' ("Secret Sunshine
") starring Jeon Do-yeon
and Song Kang-ho
will concurrently be released domestically and at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in France on May 24.
The film's distributor...More
Acclaimed actress Lee Mi-sook
has signed on to her first new project since the 2003 drama "...ing"
LEE first emerged as a star in the 1980s in films such as Bae Chang-ho
's box-office hit "Whale Hunting" and LEE Doo-yong's "Mulberry Tree". After retiring from the cinema for close to a decade, she made a highly-praised return in 1998 in ...More
Inventive director Jang Jin
portrays this time the relationship between an estranged father and son in his new film "My Son
" (Adeul). The father is played by Cha Seung-won
and the son is a role for Ryoo Deok-hwan
The drama will open May 3rd. My Son
is a project...More
IM Pictures, a movie distributor and investment firm, has delayed the release of its 2006 movie business summary which was expected at the beginning of this year. IM Pictures has released an annual profit-and-loss report on Korea's film industry since 2001. It has cited a lack of data for the delay, but experts believe that IM Pictures doesn't want to scare off new investment by revealing last year's huge losses.
Industry insiders estimate the loss for 2006 at W100 billion(US$1=W945). That's nearly twice as much as the W63.3 billion in combined profits from 2003 to 2005. Last year, 90 Korean movies out of 110 failed to recoup production and marketing costs.
The problems facing the domestic film industry are serious. The average cost to produce a feature film is now W5.1 billion, according to a report by the Korean Film Council. And while the number of movie-goers remained about the same, the number of film releases jumped 30 percent over last year's fig...More
Korean-Japanese director Choi Yang-il
, known in Japan as SAI Yoichi, is in town with his first film made entirely in Korea with a Korean cast. "Soo", is a hard-boiled revenge-thriller about a man, Tae-su, who witnesses the killing of his identical twin brother Tae-jin. Recovering from the trauma, he sets out to cold-bloodedly avenge his brother's murder in a grisly, exacting fashion.
Actor Ji Jin-hee
Samji Animation (CEO: Kim, Soo-Hoon), a 3D animation studio, held a signing ceremony on the co-planning of an animation with major US production company Man of Action at the 2006 Cultural Contents Investment Roadshow, held in Los Angeles, USA on Nov. 7. The deal also includes the participation of renowned writer Matt Danner.
The contract stipulates that Samji Animation will collaborate with Man of Action and Matt Danner to co-develop two action comic adventure animation series for TV, aimed for global distribution, which will begin production in 2007.
The movie "Tazza: The High Rollers
", based on the same-titled cartoon by cartoonist Heo Yeong-man
, has joined the ranks of top-10 domestic movies.
Since its opening September 28, the film had drawn 5.68 million viewers as of October 22, according to its distributor, CJ Entertainment, surpassing the number of viewers drawn by "Marrying the Mafia" (5.66 million). If the film's popularity remains as high, it will likely even outperform "JSA - Joint Security Area
", which is currently ranked ninth at 5.83 million viewers.
Cinema Service, the film distribution company for domestic mega-hit "The King and the Clown
" announced that April 18th, 2006 would be the last day of screening for the film. The Chosun period drama about a mad king and his court jester made history last month when it smashed all previous box-office records, ousting Korean War pic Taegukgi
, to become the top grossing Korean film of all-time.
Cinema Service said that the final recorded numbers at the end of its nearly 4-month run was 12,301,289 ticket sales including 3,659,525 in Seoul. While a number of independent cinemas will continue to run the film, the distribution company said that it will consider t...More
Selling 12,301,289 tickets by April 18th, the Korean movie "King and the Clown" broke the former "Taegukgi
" record and has newly earned its spot as the most viewed film in Korea.
Cinema Service, the film's distributor, announced that April 18, 2006 was the last day of viewing, with a final recorded, nationwide ticket sale of 12,301,289 including 3,659,525 in Seoul. They added, "Though some independent theaters are still showing the film, we consider the number of tickets sold by April 18th to be the final official figure".
"The King and the Clown
" breaks the mold of an event film like ...More
The film "The King and the Clown
", which made history in Korean movies by drawing more than 12 million viewers, will be expanded into many forms of licensed entertainment and other products.
The movie's producer Eagle Pictures and distributor Cinema Service have decided to launch a licensing business and signed a trust contract with the licensing company YZOO.
YZOO is seeking contracts with a publisher to publish educational comic books and novels based on the movie and with a character business to use the film's characters for stationery, cosmet...More
The film 'The King and the Clown' (director: Lee Joon-ik
; Production: Eagle Pictures, Cineworld) has set a new box office record in Korean film history as of 5 PM on Mar. 5.
"Today at 5 PM, the total number of viewers nationwide has surpassed 11.75 million people, thus setting a new box office record in Korean film history". Cinema Service, the official distribution company for 'King and the Clown' made the official announcement. The previous record was 11.74 million viewers set b...More
The blockbuster film "The King and the Clown
" has broken the country's all-time box office record, just 67 days after its release.
Distributor Cinema Service announced that the movie became South Korea's number-one blockbuster after drawing more than 11-point-75 million viewers as of Sunday, overtaking the record of 11-point-74 million held by the 2004 film "...More
The record for the most-watched Korean movie is about to be broken, for the first time in two years.
Korean film distributor, Cinema Service says, the movie, "The King and the Clown
", is expected this weekend to exceed the previous record of 11.7 million tickets sold, by "Taegukgi
This means, roughly a quarter of the Korean population, could have seen the film.
If realized "...More
The film "The King and the Clown" (2005) will likely make its mark in Korean film history by setting a new box-office record.
"The King and the Clown", directed by Lee Joon-ik
and produced by Eagle Pictures and CineWorld, has attracted a total of 11,616,067 viewers across the nation as of Mar. 2. Around Mar. 5, this film will likely break the box-office record previously held by the film "Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War" (2003) over two years. As of 2004, "Taegukgi" had attracted a total of 11.74 million viewers nationwide.
The distribution agency Cinema Service said on the morning of Mar. 3, "'The King and the Clown' has so far attracted a total of 11,610,067 viewers acr...More
By Kim Tae-jong
The film "The King and the Clown
" is expected to break time boxoffice records and become the nation's No. 1 hit on Sunday. Released here on Dec. 29, it has drawn almost 12 million moviegoers.
"The King and the Clown
", a story about a love triangle between a king and male court jesters in Choson Kingdom, is expected to become the No. 1 hit in the nation's film history this weekend.
According to the film's distribution company Cinema Service, the film will break the previous record of 11.74 million ticket sales set by the 2004 war movie "...More
A ragtag team of Korean soldiers in the Vietnamese jungle find more than they bargained for
Kim Kyu Hyun (internews)
"R-Point" (2004) marks the directorial debut for Kong Soo-chang
, a screenwriter behind such hits as "Tell Me Something" and "Ring Virus". One of Kong's personal preoccupations seems to be Korean participation in the Viet Nam War, which he previously tackled as a co-screenwriter for "The White Badge", adapted from An Jung Hyo's groundbreaking English-language novel.
A CN Film Production. Distributed by Cinema Service.
Written and directed by Kong Soo-chang
. Executive Producer Chang Youn Hyun. Produced by Choi Kang-hyeok. Cinematography by Seok Hyeon-jeong. Lighting by Lee Joo-saeng. Edited by Nam Na-yeong
. Production design by Ha Seon-min. Starring Kam Woo-seong
, Son Byeong-ho
, Oh Tae-kyeong
, Park Won-sang
Internationally distributed by Cinema Service. 107 minutes.
"R-Point" returns to the topic in the guise of a horror film. The year is 1972. A ragtag team of Korean soldiers is assembled to investigate a missing squadron, lost somewhere in the Vietnamese jungle. Volunteers are chosen from those about to be shipped back to Korea for various reasons, including being diagnosed with STDs, and morale is low. The team is led by Lieutenant Choi (Kam Woo-seong
), a seasoned veteran and an excellent soldier who nonetheless has become cynical and desensitized to the gruesome massacres taking place around him, backed up by Sergeant Jin (Son Byeong-ho
), a typical military hard-butt. What they do not know is that their destination, so-called Romeo Point, is a haunted precinct, which has been swallowing up foreign invaders since the French colonial period.
It is clear that director Kong Soo-chang
wanted to make his film relevant to current affairs, especially Korea's participation in the American war against Iraq, but "R-Point" works first and foremost as an atmospheric thriller. In that regard, the film does pretty well, enormously aided by the location shots in Kampuchea, with the huge, abandoned, and moss-covered colonial-period mansion as its main setting. The jungle looks damp and uncom...More
By Park Chung-a
The latest Korean hit film, "The King and the Clown
" seems poised to break the all-time record set by the film "Taegukgi
Cinema Service, the distributor of "The King and the Clown
" said yesterday that the audience for the movie about a love triangle in the Choson Kingdom r...More
All eyes in Korea's film industry are now trained on whether "The King and the Clown" (Wang-ui namja) will set a new record as the country's biggest box office hit after breaking the 10 million viewer mark last weekend.
It is the third movie produced in Korea to reach the 10-million milestone at the box office, following "Taegukgi" and "Silmido" in early 2004. "Taegukgi" attracted 11.74 million viewers and "Silmido" drew 11.08 million moviegoers.
The question is whether the period drama featuring court jesters and homosexuality will overtake the country's No. 1 hit "Taegukgi" in terms of ticket sales.
The media spotlight on the low-budget film reaching the 10-million viewer record is also helping drive up sales. Positive reviews by criti...More
The historical film "The King And The Clown" directed by Lee Joon-ik
and produced by Eagle Pictures and CineWorld topped 10 million viewers nationwide as of 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11.
An official from the film distribution agency Cinema Service said on Feb. 12, "The film has attracted a total of 10,068,989 viewers as of Feb. 11 across the nation, with the moviegoers in Seoul numbering 2,973,936".
This was the third box-office hit film to exceed the 10 million viewer mark, following "Silmido" (2003), which hit 10 million viewers on Feb. 19, 2004, and "Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War" (2003), which achieved the ...More
Some 9.78 million people had watched the hit film "The King and the Clown
" as of Thursday, the film's distributor Cinema Service said Friday. It predicted ticket sales will reach the 10 million mark around Saturday afternoon, 45 days after its release.
That means one in four Koreans and almost half of all adults saw the film, which is estimated to have generated some W50 billion (US$50 million) in economic effects.
The milestone also puts the movie ah...More
The film "The King And The Clown", directed by Lee Joon-ik
and starring Kam Woo-seong
and Jeong Jin-yeong
, will soon likely top 10 million viewers.
An official from the film distribution agency Cinema Service said on Feb. 6, "'The King And The Clown' was seen by 450,000 viewers during the weekend of Feb. 4-5, exceeding 9.45 million viewers as of the morning of Feb. 6. An average of 150,000 moviegoers are coming to watch this film each weekday. We expect it to top 10 million viewers as early as Feb. 9, the 42nd day after it was released on Dec. 29 of last year".
If it exceeds 10 million viewers, "The King And The Clown" will follow in the footst...More
The Pusan International Film Festival will kick off with the final version of Chinese director Hou Hsiao Hsien's "Three Times" on Oct. 6 in a gala event that features 307 films from 73 countries.
PIFF, the biggest film festival in Asia, will focus on solidifying its position in the fast-growing Asian movie industry while celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and close with Korean director Hwang Byeong-gook
's "Wedding Campaign
" on Oct. 14, organizers said in a news conference Tuesday.
"This year, PIFF will concentrate on showing its gratitude for Korean and Asian fans who support the film festival, and we have duly increased the number of world premieres to 61 this year, up from 40 last year", festival director Kim Dong-ho
Hou's "Three Times" was first screened at the Cannes film festival this year and has since gone through extensive editing. The final 135-minute version will be shown to the public at the southeastern port city of Busan for the first time. Director Hou is also known to have strongly expressed his willingness to get his finished film screened first at PIFF as he has long maintained amicable relationships with the festival and its organizers.
"Three Times" introduces three love stories that use epochal moments in Taiwanese history as a touchstone. It follows a couple in love, as acted by the same performers (Shu Qi
and Chang Chen
), with the couple undertaking different identities in three time-related episodes.
A dramatic dispute between film directors and film stars highlights how soaring guaranteed payments for actors could cripple Korea's film industry -already struggling with a shrinking share of the domestic market - and taint the image of the Korean Wave, an Asia-wide surge in the popularity of Korean culture.
Not long ago, Korean filmmaking was touted as a thriving business, with locally made high-quality films outsmarting Hollywood blockbusters at the box office and grabbing awards in the world's major film festivals. Korea's film industry is valued at 717 billion won and boa
sts an 18-percent annualized growth rate, but in recent months, the market share of Korean movies has declined amid an overall slump in ticket sales.
Korean movies' share in the local box office hit a new low of 43.6 percent in June, down from 59 percent in May and 69.8 percent in April, according to the Korean Film Council and IM Pictures. The figure is respectable compared with other foreign cinema markets where Hollywood flicks dominate, but given that Korean films accounted for 51.1 percent of the market in June 2003 and has outpaced Hollywood competitors in the past couple of years, recent signs of weakness are sending alarms. This year, only a couple of Korean movies including director Chung Yoon-chul
's "Running Boy" - "Marathon", director Park Yeong-hoon
's "Innocent Steps" and director Choo Chang-min
's comedy "Mapado" turned a profit.
Now, to add to industry woes, producers and actors are locked in an emotional turf war over profit-sharing, marring their own public image and credibility. The row began on June 24 when Kang Woo-seok
, one of the most influential filmmakers in Korea, known for the 2004 blockbuster spy flick "Silmido", publicly criticized some star agencies and actors for demanding excessive fees and profit sharing. Kang alleged this led to outsized production costs and placed an unfair burden on producers. Kang's remark sent shock waves throughout the film industry, as he has built a strong position in Korea through Cinema Service, a major film distributor and investment company. In at...More
By Kim Tae-jong
How long a feature film will remain in the theaters is usually decided by its box-office performance in its first week. A weak showing means a film will quickly be pushed out of the theaters by potentially more lucrative movies.
Recently, some art film directors are trying to overcome this rule-of-thumb, looking for a different strategy for their films to be enjoyed by more people in a stable condition.
(Hwal)", the latest work by internationally acclaimed local director Kim Ki-duk
, is now being shown at two theaters nationwide because the director doesn't want to waste his money unnecessarily to promote it and make copies of it to show at many theaters.
"I realized that outside of feature films with big budgets and famous stars, people in Korea do not go to theaters to watch art films or low budget films", Kim said through an e-mail sent out to the media on May 6. "So if billions of won is spent on promotion and many copies of the film are made, losing money becomes inevitable given this reality".
Since he wants to make sure the "The Bow
" is seen by those who are willing to ...More
SEOUL (Yonhap) - Two Korean films, "Marathon
" and "Another Public Enemy - Public Enemy 2
", broke the 3-million mark in box-office ratings over the weekend, according to studio estimates Monday.
" drew 3,006,702 people to cinemas across the nation by Sunday, the third week of its opening, production company Cine Line II said.
Chief box-office rival "Public Enemy 2
(Kongkongui Chok 2) passed the crucial 3-million mark one day earlier on Saturday to record ticket sales of 3,150,000 on Sunday, Cinema Service said.
The South Korean box office is calculated on audience figures in Seoul.
Only a few movies have achieved such succ...More
Korean films saw their box-office performance decline in January, reflecting a dearth of blockbusters that can beat Hollywood rivals amid a slowdown in overall ticket sales.
According to the movie industry data compiled by CJ CGV, a major multiplex chain in Korea, Korean movies accounted for a 24 percent share in Seoul and 29.6 percent nationwide in January.
Although the figure for Seoul is up from 16.5 percent in December 2004, year-on-year comparison demonstrates a significant turnaround for Korean flicks. Last January, the portion of Korean films in box office sales reached a record 64.5 percent, helped largely by two blockbusters, "Simildo" and "...More
SEOUL (Yonhap) - Keanu Reeves is to star in the Hollywood version of the South Korean melodrama "Il Mare
(Siwolae)", a local film studio said Thursday.
Reeves will play the main character, a young man who moves to a lakeside house called "Il Mare
" and starts communicating by mail with a woman living in the future, said Cinema Service, which is in charge of the original film's overseas sales.
"We heard from the Hollywood film studio Warner Brothers that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock will act in the movie", Lee Yong-shin of Cinema Service said.
The remake will be filmed in Chicago from March 14 by Argentine director Alejandro Agnesti, he said, adding the title will be "Il Mare
" or "The Lakehouse".
Hollywood studios have bought the rights...More
According to a report by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and Maxmovie.com, Korean films earned a 61.95% market share in the month of October, up from a 57.83% share in September. In total 1,802,361 tickets out of a total 2,909,380 were sold for Korean films. However the level cannot match the 70.5% market share amassed in the highly successful month of October 2003, which was led by Untold Scandal
and Once Upon A Time In A Battlefield. Total admissions for all films this month were 14.22% below the totals for October 2003.
Japanese films took an impressive 6.7% of the market in October, led by dramas Crying Out Love ...More
Veteran director Im Kwon-taek
's 99th feature Low Life
will be sold internationally by major international sales company Wild Bunch, based in France.
Wild Bunch reached an agreement with the film's investor and distributor Cinema Service to handle the film in all territories outside of Asia except for France, Switzerland and the Benelux countries. French company Pathe has already secured distribution rights to the latter terri...More
Veteran director IM Kwon-taek
's 99th film Raging Years ("Haryu Insaeng") has been invited to screen in the competition section of the Venice International Film Festival.
This marks the first trip to Venice by director IM since 1987, when his film Surrogate Woman was awarded with a Best Actress citation for KANG Su-yeon. In recent years, IM's works Chunhyang and Chihwaseon have screened in the competition section at the Cannes International Film Festival, with Chihwaseon sharing the festival's Best Director award in 2002.
Raging Years, which stars CHO Seung-woo and KIM Min-seon
, tells the story of a youth who gets involved in organized crime during the turb...More
There are many movies being produced based on popular comics. "Old Boy"
, which received the Grand Jury Prize at the recent the Cannes International Film Festival, has heated this trend. There are some teen number of movies based on comics in production or in preparation for production.
Daeweon CI recently announced that the company finalized the contract for the movie production of Island by Yang Gyeong-il and Yoon In-wan
with Lee's Film.
'Island' is staged in a beautiful vacation spot Jeju Island where various native monsters appear the moment of a sunset. In this mystery action comic, a beautiful teacher Weon Mi-ho and a cold-blooded man Bin work together to solve the mysteries.
The comic was originally published serially in the biweekly comic magazine Young Champ, and then was made into a 7-volume paperback. The new concept of combining different genres of action, horror and m...More
Korean filmmakers are winning big at the box office, leaving Seoul to reconsider protectionism
Todd Thacker (internews)
It was an abrupt about-face for the staunch film industry ally.
On Friday the Minister of Culture and Tourism and former film director, Lee Chang Dong, announced to a film industry civic group that the state of Korea's film industry is strong enough to merit the examination of a "reduction, alteration and change" of Seoul's policy of screen quotas in the domestic market.
It has always been a thorny issue. At stake are the implications of going head-to-head with the "cultural imperialism" of Hollywood, a heavy-handed entertainment juggernaut that has every nation's film industry quaking in its boots.
Lee was quick to point out that if any changes to the system result in harm to the industry, his Ministry would promptly reinstate the quotas. Later, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson took pains to clarify that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is examining changes based on "the promotion of diversity in the local film world" rather than any ongoing trade negotiations with the United States.
Supporters of screen quotas have long cited the danger Hollywood poses to cultural diversity. For decades Korean films had an uphill battle when competing with higher-quality, big-budget Hollywood productions.
Actors, directors and producers staged loud demonstrations advocating the need for the preservation of Korea's national cultural identity in its comparatively fledgling film industry.
Yet with domestic blockbusters like "Silimdo" (2003) and "Taeguki" (2004) cleaning up at the box office, and Korean films like Im Kwon Taek's "Chihwaseon" (2002) and Park Chan Wook's "Old Boy
" (2003) winning at Cannes, Kim Ki Duk's Samaria
(2004) winning at Berlin, and Lee Chang Dong taking the best director's prize for "Oasis
" (2002) at the Venice Film Festival in 2002, this argument is rapidly losing its luste...More
by Gab-Sik Kim
The money is flowing in, but there is no one to act.
This is the current atmosphere at Choong Moo Ro (film district). According to the Bank of Korea, the movie industry's 2003 sales were some 3.7780 trillion won. This is a rapid growth with sales more than triple 1997's 1.2572 billion won. The "10 million boom" which started last year with "Silmido
" and "Taegukgi
" accelerated the capital influx, but actually, it is hard to cast an "A-level star". The actor/actress' guarantee naturally skyrockets and film producers sulkily say, "There is nothing left". Let's look into the increasing guaranteed trend of stars and the other side of it.
○ Movie Industry Sales of 3.7780 Trillion Won
Jun Ji-hyun, who starred in "My Sassy Girl
", is currently picked as the highest guaranteed paid actress. She has a 400 million won guarantee for "Windstruck
" which is scheduled to be released in June. If it wasn't for "iFilm", a subsidiary of "Sidus HQ", her management company, producing the movie, there were rumors that the guarantee would have been much higher.
Chung Hoon-tak, president of "Sidus HQ", said, "There was a new film production company who said they would give a billion won, but Jun Ji-hyun will not choose a film only by the amount of money involved". The producer's reliability or the film director's presentation ability decides whether the actor/actress will act in the film, and when considering the scale of the movie, he explained that the guarantee was settled on not exceeding 400 million won.
Choi Sung-min, president of "Uni-korea", the investor and producer of "Mermaid" and "Woman is the Future of Man
", said, "The money has increased, but the 'blind money' type investments that were done in the past have disappeared. Even though the scenario and the director are good, it is not easy to persuade investors if there is no 'star power'". This is the reason why new film production companies which have not proved their production abilities are presenting enormo...More
Having already broken local box-office records, the blockbuster "Silmido
" will be exported to Japan at a record price.
The film, which is expected to reach the 10-million-viewer mark tomorrow, will have its Japanese distribution rights sold to the Japanese companies, Amuse and Towei Co.
Cinema Service and Hanmac Films, the makers of "Silmido
", will receive a minimum guarantee of $3 million and will take 50 percent of the profits from the Jap...More
is entering the international market. Theatre animation Oseam
, which was introduced to movie screens in Korea last year, is now engaged in numerous export contracts with several countries including France and Israel.
Since its opening in Korea last year the artistic quality of Oseam
has been widely recognized, and the film was recently exported to France and Israel as a testament to its great potential.
Two domestic blockbusters, both dealing with the division of the Korean Peninsula, are breaking box-office records and uncovering new possibilities for the local market.
After reaching 8.27 million viewers to break the all-time attendance record Jan. 31, "Silmido
" is continuing to rewrite the record books by racing past 9 million viewers, its distributor Cinema Service said Saturday.
The tally stood at 9.01 million viewers as of Friday, which marks 45 days since the film hit theaters on Christmas Eve last year. Although the film is now facing its seventh week of release, it is still adding about 100,000 viewers a day and may soon open "the era of 10 million viewers" here.
", starring Sol Kyung-gu and Ahn Sung-gi, is based on a true story of a secret government project to deploy commandos to Pyongyang to assassin...More
The historical film "Silmido
" has broken Korea's all-time movie attendance record, says the film's distributor.
Cinema Service reports that by Saturday almost 8.4 million moviegoers have flocked to see director Kang Woo-suk's hit film. It broke the previous record set in 2001 by Friend
after only 39 days from its release.
The South Korean blockbuster film "Silmido
" attracted more than 8.3 million moviegoers as of Saturday on the 39th day of its domestic release.
With the preliminary tally by the film's distributor Cinema Service, "Silmido
" broke the local box office record of 8.2 million set by the movie ...More
by Chun Sang-hee
", an uninhabited and remote islet off Korea's west coast and now the title of a major motion picture, has taken over the big screens at theaters across the country, attracting throngs of action-lovers.
The film, which was opened nationwide on December 24, broke the Korean record for first-week sales with 1.55 million viewers having crowded into the theaters by December 28, including about 40,000 viewers for the preview on D...More
By Joon Soh
In 1968, when tensions between South and North Korea were running high, a special unit of 31 North Korean soldiers infiltrated Seoul and attempted to kill then-President Park Chung-hee. The news of the failed assassination plot, which ended with the death of all but one member of the unit, shocked and terrified the public.
The new domestic film "Silmido
", however, shows how the South Korean government then tried to retaliate by doing the same. Promised a new lease on life if they succeeded in their mission to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, a group of criminals and outcasts undergo intense and sometimes deadly training on the remote island of ...More
's romantic drama The Classic
is scheduled to receive a wide release in China on September 28, according to a press release from the film's international sales agent Cinema Service. Although other Korean films such as Musa
and A Perfect Match have been released in China before, this is the first Korean film ever to be included in the 20 foreign titles per year which qualify for revenue sharing under the Chinese distribution system. Generally, the majority of the films that qualify each year are Hollywood blockbusters.
Hong Kong distributor Edko Films, which has released a large number of Korean films in Hong Kong including ...More