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[BIFF 2015] Yoo Seung-ho shows off strong screen presence in his comeback film, 'The Joseon Magician'

Source | 2015/10/06 | | Permalink

A new period movie, 'The Joseon Magician', which is actor Yoo Seung-ho's comeback film after his dismissal from the national military service, has been unveiled.

The pamphlets introducing 'The Joseon Magician' have been revealed during the Asian Film Market, which is being held from October 3rd to October 6th in Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, Woo-dong, Haewoondae-gu, Busan...More

Former Actress Donates W100 Million to Busan Film Fest

Source | 2015/09/17 | | Permalink

Ko Eun-ah, the CEO of Seoul Cinema and actress from the 1960s and 1970s, donated W100 million to the Busan International Film Festival (US$1=W1,183).

The annual film festival, in its 20th year this year, kicks off on Oct. 1 and closes on Oct. 10...More

Lee Byung-hun's first official appearance at "Memories of the Sword" showcase

Source | 2015/07/14 | | Permalink

Actor Lee Byung-hun is coming back from America to attend the premiere of "Memories of the Sword". This is his first official appearance since the blackmail case and many wonder if he will apologize once again.

According to Lotte Entertainment, Lee Byung-hun is going to be at the premiere on the 24th. He's currently busy filming the movie "The Magnificent Seven". He only attended promotional events of "The Terminator Genisys" in America...More

"The Assassination" VS "Veteran" VS "Memories of the Sword"

Source | 2015/06/28 | | Permalink

Summer is the time when the theaters are most competitive. July is near and blockbusters which cost more than 10 billion won, took the plates.

Distributors of these blockbusters spend many sleepless nights during the summer season. "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" set a record last year that no one can break, but this year, it's different...More

'The Joseon Magician' with Yoo Seung-ho and Ko Ah-ra has begun filming

Source | 2015/03/02 | | Permalink

Movie 'The Joseon Magician' has commenced the shoot on Febuary 27th.

On March 2nd, Lotte Entertainment in charge of investment and distribution has announced about the beginning of the filming and opened the script reading session to the press...More

A-list actress of Chungmuro, Cheon Woo-hee may join film 'Haeeohwa'

Source | 2015/01/16 | | Permalink

Cheon Woo-hee, who recently emerged as an A-list actress of Chungmoro, is considering the offer to join the film, 'Haeeohwa'.

A source from Cheon Woo-hee's agency Namoo Actors said, "Cheon Woo-hee was recently offered a role for the film 'Haeeohwa'. She is currently considering the offer positively and will make a decision soon as the film will start shooting next April...More

CGV, Lotte Cinema Fined for Unfair Competition

Source | 2014/12/25 | | Permalink

CGV and Lotte Cinema, the country's two biggest movie chains, were fined a combined US$5 million on Monday for engaging in unfair practices such as giving affiliate distributors more screens to show their movies and allowing them to screen the films for longer periods of time.

The Fair Trade Commission said the two movie chains were given an unfair advantage at the box office...More

Kim Woo-bin and Lee Hyun-woo's "Criminal Designer"

Source | 2014/10/16 | | Permalink

"Criminal Designer" has been presold to 4 Asian countries.

According to Lotte Entertainment, "Criminal Designer" was presold to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines at the Asian Film Market on the 8th...More

Epic Blockbusters See Rare Success This Summer

Source | 2014/08/20 | | Permalink

"The Admiral: Roaring Currents"

There were no losers in the battle between epic historical blockbusters this summer. "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant", "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" and "Pirates", released one week after another from July 23, were all impressive.

The film industry and Korean fans were all interested to see if these blockbusters would become box office hits. All three of them cost as much as W15 billion (US$1=W1,018) to produce, while Korea's top film distributers -- Showbox, CJ E&M, and Lotte Entertainment -- were all involved in the production. They were set during the Chosun Dynasty and featured star-studded casts that included top stars Choi Min-sik, Ha Jeong-woo, Kang Dong-won, and Son Ye-jin...More

"The Fatal Encounter" attitude towards mass media

Source | 2014/04/27 | | Permalink

A staff member of "The Fatal Encounter" crew said, "Lee Jae-gyoo? He drinks beers at home all day". The criticism from mass media have put the director and cast in a sense of shame. The unexpected reviews of the movie have been made public for the past 3~4 days.

The movie was nicknamed, "Hyeon Bin's comeback" and "Lee Jae-gyoo's meaningful movie" but everyone's reaction towards the movie was cold. 'Too much has been put into the movie', 'Complicated stories and organization of characters' and such are parts of the reviews...More

Dilemma for "Roaring Currents", "Pirates" and "Haemoo"

Source | 2014/04/23 | | Permalink

Three major blockbusters worth the cost of 10 billion won are in a predicament. Release dates are being reconsidered due to the Sewol ferry disaster which put the whole country in grief.

They are "Roaring Currents" during the Japanese invasion of Korea, "Pirates" and "Haemoo" which is about an incident on a ship full of Korean immigrants from China...More

The feast of "The Fatal Encounter", will there be enough to eat?

Source | 2014/04/21 | | Permalink

Hyeon Bin's comeback movie "The Fatal Encounter" is unveiling through media. Lotte Entertainment claims all attention will be put on this movie as it is one of the most important line-ups of Korean movies, this year.

Being released on the 30th, the movie "The Fatal Encounter" is about 24 hours of intensity, surrounding a king's assassination, one year into King Jeong Jo's reign. It's based on an adverse change and is directed by Lee Jae-gyoo from "Damo", supported by the best crew in Chungmuro with an astounding production cost of 10 billion won...More

The keyword for 2014 is 'historical movies'

Source | 2013/12/11 | | Permalink

The first keyword is 'historical movies' and the second is the change which actors are going through.

"Memories of the Sword" , "Battle Of Myeongryang", "Pirates" and "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant" are some of the historical movies that are expected to be released next year. They are all 10 billion dollar blockbusters. They are also movies the Big 3 distributors CJ Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment and Showbox Media Plex have on the line...More

2PM's Junho to star in "Memories of the Sword"

Source | 2013/09/02 | | Permalink

2PM member Junho is starring in the Lee Byung-hun and Jeon Do-yeon movie "Memories of the Sword".

Lotte Entertainment claimed that Junho, Lee Kyeong-yeong, Kim Tae-woo and Bae Soo-bin are going to start filming early this month...More

"Friends 2", anticipated for the end of the year

Source | 2013/08/18 | | Permalink

Director Kwak Gyeong-taek's "Friends 2" completed its final scene.

According to Lotte Entertainment, the making of "Friends 2" ended in the Yangje 'City Forest' on the 12th...More

Kim Nam-gil and Son Ye-jin's frustrated romance may bloom in a new film

Source | 2013/07/31 | | Permalink

The recently finished KBS2 TV program "Shark" (screenwritten by Kim Jee-woo, directed by Park Chan-hong) ended on a sad note. However, through the new film "Pirates" (directed by Lee Seok-hoon under Mao Hari Pictures) they may get another chance.

Kim Nam-gil's agency Star J Entertainment told the Star Review "Kim Nam-gil is ready to start filming in August", and "He is ready to work again with Son Ye-jin"...More

Lee Jae-yoon-I in "Venus Talk" with Uhm Jung-hwa

Source | 2013/07/22 | | Permalink

Lee Jae-yoon-I has been chosen to be Uhm Jung-hwa's man.

He has been cast for the movie "Venus Talk" starring with an actress, Uhm Jung-hwa who is fifteen years older. It looks like there's going to be fun in this movie...More

Closing of the Festival KFF : The first edition is a great success

Source | 2013/07/12 | | Permalink

Korean Film Festival in Canada promises its bright continuation in receiving the public's heartfelt welcoming

Montreal, July 12, 2013 – The 1st edition of the Korean Film Festival (KFF) in Canada closed with tremendous success on Wednesday July 10, 2013.  In partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Ottawa, the KFF, as a touring film festival, made its mark in five Canadian cities this summer: Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina, and settling in Ottawa and Montreal for its major events with a total of 15 films. The invited films were comprised of a selection of remarkable blockbusters and critically acclaimed films, including five award-winning short films specially chosen from the Mise-en-Scene Short Film Festival (MSFF). There were also complimentary cultural events that were open to the general public, including: a specialfilm screening, seminars on Korean language and culture, and special performances highlighting Korean culture and creative arts as a part of the celebrations for 'Korean Week'...More

Kim Nam-gil and Son Ye-jin in a 10 billion won blockbuster "Pirates"

Source | 2013/07/01 | | Permalink

Actor Kim Nam-gil and actress Son Ye-jin from the current KBS 2TV drama "Shark", are meeting again.

Lotte Entertainment claimed they have confirmed to star in the movie on the 2nd...More

Lee Joon-ik's "Hope" cranks up

Source | 2013/06/30 | | Permalink

Lotte Entertainment announced that Lee Joon-ik's movie "Hope" has done cranking up.

"Hope" is about the hate and anger of So-won, a hurtful girl, who finds hope at the end of despair. Actor Seol Kyeong-gu and actress Eom Ji-won take on the role of Dong-hoon and Mi-hee, the parents. Kim Hae-sook is a physiatrist and Kim Sang-ho is Dong-hoon's best friend Gwang-sik...More

The Korean Film Festival comes to Montreal

Source | 2013/06/26 | | Permalink

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea, a selection of 10 outstanding Korean films will be showcased in Montreal from July 4th to 10th, 2013.

Ciné-Asie, along with the major support of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, presents the first edition of the Korean Film Festival in CanadaKFF – which will be launched in five Canadian cities, highlighting Montreal in partnership with the Cineplex Odeon Forum and Mosaicultures Internationales Montréal at the Montreal Botanical Garden (an event that expects nearly two million visitors this summer), the KFF anticipates to receive a large number of visitors for its first edition. For the first time, the KFF website is composed in three different languages: English, French, and Korean.

The KFF will present ten full length feature films and five short films.

The feature films are either the highest grossing movies in recent years, totalling 7 to 13 million admissions in South Korea, or have gained international critical acclaims, winning significant awards. Among them include Kim Ki-duk's "Pieta" (Le grand prix at Venice 2012), "Miracle in Cell No.7" (over 12 million admissions in Korea, 2013), and "Masquerade" starring actor Lee Byung-hun (over 12 million admissions in Korea, 2012)...More

Uhm Jung-hwa, Jo Min-soo and Moon So-ri in the Korean version of "Sex and the City"

Source | 2013/05/30 | | Permalink

The extreme team of actresses is up next.

Actresses Uhm Jung-hwa, Jo Min-soo and Moon So-ri are starring in the movie "Venus Talk" which is the Korean version of "Sex and the City" about the love and work of women in their 40's...More

Uhm Jung-hwa in the Korean version of "Sex and the City"?

Source | 2013/05/14 | | Permalink

Actress Uhm Jung-hwa has been shortlisted for a role in the Korean version of "Sex and the City".

Uhm Jung-hwa was offered a role in the movie about the love and work of women in their 40s called, "Venus Talk". She hasn't signed anything but is going through negotiations...More

Kim Min-joon comes back in three months

Source | 2013/03/14 | | Permalink

Kim Min-joon who declared temporary leave, started acting again.

Lotte Entertainment claimed that Kim is starring in the movie "Top Star" which is actor Park Joong-hoon's first movie...More

Cha Seung-won and Jang Jin to reunite in 6 years

Source | 2013/03/05 | | Permalink

Actors Cha Seung-won and director Jang Jin are coming together in 6 years.

Distributor Lotte Entertainment revealed that Cha and Jang are coming back with a movie called "High Heels"...More

Seol Kyeong-gu in "Hope" by director Lee Joon-ik

Source | 2013/01/24 | | Permalink

Actor Seol Kyeong-gu has been cast in the upcoming movie "Hope" by Lee Joon-ik.

Lotte Entertainment announced that Seol has becoming the leading character in a movie where a family overcomes their worst troubles and get back up again, opening another door to life...More

Lee Joon-ik to direct Seol Kyeong-gu in "Hope"

Source | 2013/01/23 | | Permalink

Director Lee Joon-ik is reattempting at a commercial movie.

After his failure in "Battlefield Heroes", he's coming back for the first time in 2 years. The main character will be played by Seol Kyeong-gu and the major casting is in process...More

"Marrying the Mafia 5 - Return of the Family" casts Yoon Doo-joon, Hwang Kwang-hee and Son Na-eun

Source | 2012/08/27 | | Permalink

The movie "Marrying the Mafia 5 - Return of the Family" has done casting.

The "Marrying the Mafia" series by Lotte Entertainment started in 2002, rounding up 17,500,000 up to the fifth one now which just released its cast...More

'Neighbors' weighs price of indifference

Source | 2012/08/22 | | Permalink

Clockwise from left, actors Kim Yoon-jin, Kim Sae-ron, Kim Seong-gyoon, Ma Dong-seok and Do Ji-han in "Neighbors", a film by Kim Hwi. The crime thriller is currently in theaters nationwide. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Kwaak Je-yup

What would you do if you found out someone living in your building is a serial killer? That is the premise of the new thriller "Neighbors", which opened on Wednesday. While the usual comic book hero would fight against evil, the answer is not so clear cut in this more realistic setting...More

Cinemas go off beaten path for summer

Source | 2012/06/25 | | Permalink

A scene from "A Letter to Momo" by Japanese animation director Hiroyuki Okiura, which opens on July 5 in selected theaters. / Courtesy of Time Story Group

Mega-budget blockbusters and horror films tend to get all the attention in the summer but those looking for something less mainstream should not feel slighted.

Three animated movies from Japan and a small film festival showcasing 13 works from around the world are slated to open in the next month, injecting much-needed diversity to domestic cinemas...More

'The King of XXX-Kissing' pokes fun at corporate Korea

Source | 2012/06/19 | | Permalink

Actor Song Sae-byeok's character Dong-sik observes a Buddha sculpture's facial expression to master an effortless fake smile in a scene from the film "The King of XXX-Kissing". The satire on the Korean corporate culture by director Jung Seung-koo opens tomorrow in theaters nationwide. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Kwaak Je-yup

After a rather quiet weekend without any strong releases, this week sees major Korean efforts vying for the box office throne. Among them, it appears only "The King of XXX-Kissing" by Jung Seung-koo has any chance of achieving that feat.

Despite its relative lack of star power, the satire on Korean corporate culture should resonate with virtually anyone who has had to resort to flattery at work...More

Lee Min-ki in "Only You - 2012"

Source | 2012/06/07 | | Permalink

Actor Lee Min-ki is attempting at another mellow movie this time.

He is currently negotiating detailed terms with movie "Only You - 2012". This movie is about the mingled feelings of love between a robber and a policeman...More

'No one can act against self-interest'

Source | 2012/06/05 | | Permalink

Kim Dae-seung, director of the film "The Emperor's Concubine ", opening today in theaters nationwide, says the characters' self-serving pursuits mirror the social ills of today. / Korea Times photo by Kwaak Je-yup

Its characters may don the royal garb of centuries ago, but "The Emperor's Concubine ", released today, is a thinly-veiled critique of modern Korean society, according to director Kim Dae-seung.

Much has been said in the local media about the ample nudity and the theme of carnal desire in the film, but Kim asks the audience to look beyond the libido...More

Park Joong-hoon debuts as a director

Source | 2012/06/03 | | Permalink

Actor Park Joong-hoon is personally drawing the intense and cold-hearted industry of entertainment.

Park Joong-hoon set up two leading characters in his scenario for "Top Star". Many are interested in this as it is being written and directed by Park Joong-hoon who has always been a big star in the movie industry...More

Insider leaked big-hit film ahead of release: police

Source | 2012/06/01 | | Permalink

Poster for "Architecture 101"

By Kwaak Je-yup

Twelve people suspected of being behind the recent leak of one of the year's top films have been apprehended, the police announced Thursday.

The Cyber Terror Response Center at the National Police Agency indicted a 36-year-old surnamed Yoon and 11 others for sharing and spreading the file of "Architecture 101" on the Internet, a violation of copyright law. Other than Yoon, only the identity of the initial uploader to the online piracy forum, a 34-year-old woman named Kim, was disclosed...More

Cultural and welfare employee booked for illegal leak

Source | 2012/05/31 | | Permalink

The culprit behind the illegal outflow of the movie "Architecture 101" has been captured.

Cyber Terror Response Center booked cultural welfare company employee Yoon on the 31st for the charges of illegally spreading videos of "Architecture 101".

The police have also arrested 11 others who received these files from Yoon and spread them out through messengers and other methods...More

'The Emperor's Concubine' transcends hype over nudity

Source | 2012/05/22 | | Permalink

The king (Kim Dong- wook) courts his sister-in-law (Jo Yeo-jeong), as she tries to resist, in a scene from the new film "The Emperor's Concubine". It opens in theaters nationwide on June 6.

Kim Dae-seung's period drama among the finest commercial films of the year. Nude scenes in Jeong Ji-woo's "A Muse" and Lim Sang-soo's "The Taste of Money" recently generated an obscene amount of media frenzy.

Added to this is the new release "The Emperor's Concubine", the promotion of which has revolved around its graphic portrayal of sex and the naked lead actress Jo Yeo-jeong ("The Servant" - 2010)...More

Casting announced for Kim Myeong-min's "SPY"

Source | 2012/04/11 | | Permalink

Casting has been announced for Kim Myeong-min's latest project "Spy", a film that revolves around the lives of 5 North Korean agents in South Korea. "Spy" is written and directed by Woo Min-ho, who was also behind "Man of Vendetta" (2010). This movie marks the second collaboration between the method actor and the director-scriptwriter.

The film boasts a cast of well-known and established actors. Kim Myeong-min's management agency, MM Entertainment revealed the official cast line-up lead by Kim Myeong-min (39), who will play the role of Agent Kim. Agent Kim is a family man who lives a happy and contented life with his wife and two children. He is disguised as a manager in a company that sells fake viagra imported from China...More

Tainted victory for 'Hunger Games'

Source | 2012/04/06 | | Permalink

Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from "The Hunger Games". The fantasy blockbuster opens nationally in theaters. (Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment)

The buzz for "The Hunger Games" had been so enormous that local studios waved their white flags even before the fight...More

Jo Yeo-jeong's shocking exposure in "The Emperor's Concubine"

Source | 2012/03/25 | | Permalink


Movie "The Emperor's Concubine" will be out in June.

According to Lotte Entertainment on the 25th, "The Emperor's Concubine" has been confirmed to be released on the 6th of June...More

Oh Yeon-soo to come back with a movie

Source | 2012/03/22 | | Permalink

Actress Oh Yeon-soo is coming back to movies for the first time in 14 years.

According to the movie industry, Oh Yeon-soo has decided to star in the movie "Run to the South". This is the first time in 14 years she's in a movie since 1998 "Dumfounded"...More

KOFIC and Korean companies at HK Filmart

Source | 2012/03/05 | | Permalink

(March 19 – 22, 2012) with sales companies such as 9ers and Mirovision.

The Korean booth will also play host to production companies Film Factory Nu:n, Inc. and P.A.M. Korea Media as well as technical services companies Studio SH, Moneff and Studioraon, Inc...More

Kim Myeong-min becomes a spy in new movie by "Man of Vendetta" director

Source | 2012/02/24 | | Permalink

Korean actor Kim Myeong-min will be "Secret Agent Kim" in his new project tentatively titled "Spy". In this film, he will again collaborate with Woo Min Ho, director of his 2010 movie, "Man of Vendetta".

In an interview with Kim Myung Min International, the 39-year-old actor disclosed that his new character is called "Kim", a North Korean undercover agent who came to the South 10 years with his 3 teammates. While Kim is disguised as a businessman who sells fake viagra, he is a happily married man with a loving wife and two lovely children...More

Lotte sells Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon in Berlin Feb 14, 2012

Source | 2012/02/16 | | Permalink

South Korea's Lotte Entertainment has done a raft of deals on Kim Han-min's period action film "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon", including to Showgate for Japan.

Starring Park Hae-il as a man out to save his sister and her fiancé from Northern invaders, the film was the biggest domestic film hit in Korea last year. With 7.46 million admissions, it was second only to"Transformers: Dark of the Moon", which took 7.79 million admissions...More

Lotte announces new Jeong Ji-woo film

Source | 2012/02/13 | | Permalink

Major Korean investor and distributor Lotte Entertainment has announced "Happy End" director Jeong Ji-woo's upcoming film "A Muse" (working title) at the European Film Market (EFM). The film is currently in post-production.

Based on PARK Bum-shin's bestselling novel of the same title, "A Muse" follows a 70-year-old poet who has an affair with a high school student and is inspired to write a book about her. However, his best student, jealous of the relationship, steals this work...More

Korea's most anticipated films of 2012

Source | 2012/02/10 | | Permalink

With the start of the new year, the Korean film industry looks to its brightest prospects. Kang Byeong-jin profiles eight highly anticipated films of 2012.

"The Fortune Tellers"  In production. Directed by Sin Jeong-won. Starring Kim Soo-ro, Lee Je-hoon, Kang Ye-won. Produced by Dasepo Club, Saram Entertainment. Distributed by N.E.W.Release planned for the first half of 2012.   Korean fortune-tellers not only tell the future, but they also chase away ghosts. The background of "The Fortune Tellers" is Uljinri where a decades-old evil spirit rules. When mysterious accidents and events keep happening without avail, fortune-tellers from all over the country gather to hold a shaman ritual...More

Korean box office had record year in 2011

Source | 2012/01/31 | | Permalink

South Korean films had a record year, according to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and its box office report for 2011. The governmental body has announced total box office receipts came to a record KW1.23 trillion (US$1.1 billion) last year, up 7.4% from 2010. Admissions also rose to 159 million, up 8.7% compared to the year before.

Korean films took 52% market share, making it the first time in four years that they took more than half the market...More

Kim Myeong-min: "I never went on a diet for 'Pacemaker'"

Source | 2012/01/25 | | Permalink

Kim Myeong-min's physique his new movie "Pacemaker" is creating a buzz. The actor noticeably slimmed down for his new role as a retired marathoner-turned-chicken delivery man, Joo Man Ho.

As Kim Myeong-min is known to undergo dramatic physical transformation for a new role, people wonder if he went on a diet stunt again to come up with such a skinny figure, as it is certainly not the first time that he would have suffered for the sake of art...More

South Korean Box Office in 2011

Source | 2012/01/14 | | Permalink

Korean cinema expert Darcy Paquet looks back at the results of 2011's box office with some unexpected hits and misses, the rise of independent features, and how audiences confirmed they value story over spectacle.

Although the number crunchers in Hollywood estimate that US theatrical admissions sank to their lowest level since 1995, things were not so gloomy in Korea. With an estimated 160 million tickets sold (more precise figures will become available at a later date), it appears that Korea has approached or broken the modern-day record for admissions. In 2010, total admissions stopped at 146.8 million. In monetary terms, 2011 was certainly the best year ever, given the 3D surcharge and rising average ticket prices. Americans may be growing tired of the theatrical movie-going experience, but young Koreans still crowd the multiplexes...More

A new release date for "Pacemaker"

Source | 2012/01/13 | | Permalink

Seems like Lunar New Year is coming earlier this year!

It's just a matter of a day but Kim Myeong-min's latest movie, "Pacemaker" will be released one day earlier than its scheduled opening date of 19 January...More

Kim Myeong-min: "I cannot stand watching my face on the screen!"

Source | 2012/01/07 | | Permalink

Korean actor Kim Myeong-min is not very happy with his appearance on the big screen.

Speaking at the press conference that followed the press screening of "Pacemaker" held on 3 January in Lotte Cinema Konkuk University in Seoul, Kim Myeong-min expressed, "I should have taken more care about my appearance. He's so ugly!"...More

Kim Myeong-min becomes skinny and ugly in "Pacemaker"

Source | 2012/01/07 | | Permalink

Stills released for Korean movie "Pacemaker" show that Kim Myeong-min has again transformed into his new character, Joo Man Ho, a skinny and ugly man with large, protruding teeth.

At the movie's press conference that took place on 3 January in Lotte Cinema Konkuk University Seoul, Kim Myeong-min revealed how he came up with the idea of such a character...More

Big-budget films to open in 2012

Source | 2012/01/05 | | Permalink

A scene from "The Thieves", which is expected to wow movie fans this year with its A-list cast. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

While 2011 saw the release of some novel, genre-defying works, not many local films aside from "Sunny - 2010" and "War of the Arrows" (a.k.a. "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon") managed to draw crowds at the box office.

This year, a lineup of big-budget films featuring the return of big stars await moviegoers...More

'Pacemaker' fetes unsung sports heroes

Source | 2012/01/04 | | Permalink

(Above picture: Kim Myeong-min, left, in scene from "Pacemaker" / Courtesy of Cinergy)

A boy from an impoverished family with a talent for running finishes second place in a race on purpose - in order to win the box of "ramyeon" (instant noodles) given to runners-up. He grows up to become a national marathoner but he is destined to hold himself back as he did in his childhood.

A "Pacemaker" is an athlete strategically thrown into sports competitions such as marathons and swimming in order to boost the frontrunner's record. In this case, the runner must halt at the 30-kilometer mark so that his teammate can take the crown at the end of the 42.195-kilometer marathon...More

Michelle SON, Managing Director of M-Line Distribution

Source | 2011/12/29 | | Permalink

Heading up international sales company M-Line Distribution as Managing Director, Michelle SON has in a few short years positioned the company to handle a bulk of deals including foreign remake deals for major local titles. She spoke with KoBiz over the phone about looking beyond feature filmsfor exciting audiovisual content and the importance of facilitating international co-productions...More

'SIU' falls into traps of cop movie cliches

Source | 2011/12/01 | | Permalink

Eom Tae-woong, left, and Joo Won appear in a scene from the cop movie "SIU". / Courtesy of Cinergy/Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

From the "Two Cops" franchise and the "Public Enemy" series to most recently "The Apprehenders", Korean cinema seems to have seen its fair share of cop movies, but "SIU" is proving to be entertainment that sells well despite its flaws.

Having drawn over 550,000 viewers as of Tuesday since opening last week, the box office topper shows the grace of having a convincing script, allowing actors to shine and sticking close to the rules of a given genre, without being afraid to throw something else into the picture. The latter, however, proves to be a trap as well, as some grossly miscalculated narrative elements end up becoming cliches that weigh down the intrigue...More

Son Ye-jin, "I am glad to have Ha Ji-won by my side"

Source | 2011/11/23 | | Permalink

Actress Son Ye-jin (29) said, "I met Ha Ji-won recently and we became sisters". The two are part of a group called the 'Ha Son Kim' which stands for Ha Ji-won, Son Ye-jin and Kim Ha-neul, the top possible leading actresses that CJ, Lotte Entertainment and others love.

With the release of movie "Spellbound" coming up soon, Son Ye-jin said, "I have been in movies for the past 10 years but only met up Ha Ji-won for the first time recently and exchanged phone numbers"....More

"My Girlfriend Is an Agent" to get Bollywood remake

Source | 2011/11/14 | | Permalink

  The South Korean hit "My Girlfriend is an Agent"will be seeing an official Hindi remake with the major Indian production company UTV Motion Pictures and Bollywood filmmaker Imtiaz Ali (Rockstar, Jab We Met) co-producing.   The original romantic action comedy was directed by Sin Tae-ra, with popular stars More

'Reason' transmits social messages

Source | 2011/11/10 | | Permalink

Song Hye-kyo appears in a scene from "A Reason to Live", a film that marks the return of director Lee Jeong-hyang. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Ryu Seung-jin

It appears "A Reason to Live" has also succumbed to the so-called "BIFF curse" - films that premiere at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) have mostly failed on general release.
The film's weighty theme of capital punishment and absolution may have deterred some moviegoers, but it also suffered from distribution problems. The few theaters that showed the film alternated screenings with other works...More

"Punch" VS "A Reason to Live" - Why did Yoo Ah-in laugh and Song Hye-kyo cry?

Source | 2011/11/09 | | Permalink

Song Hye-kyo's movie "A Reason to Live" is on the verge of disappearing. The accumulated number of admissions as of today November 9th is 58,877, showing very slow progress...More

'Old boy' Villain Yoo Ji-tae to Direct First Feature

Source | 2011/11/09 | | Permalink

Yoo Ji-tae will direct his first feature film called "Sansevieria", a rites-of-passage movie about a young boy. Shooting is scheduled to begin in January, with casting now ongoing.

The model-turned-actor, who played the villains in both "Old Boy" and "Midnight FM", has already directed several short films that were received favorably by fans and critics alike...More

Yoo Ji-tae debuts as feature film director

Source | 2011/11/08 | | Permalink

Actor Yoo Ji-tae is debuting as a movie director.

He is in charge of the movie "Sanseberia", which Lotte Entertainment is producing and distributing. According to his management, he completed the signing of contracts on November 8th and will start shooting sometime at the end of this year or next January...More

KOFIC success at Tokyo market

Source | 2011/11/02 | | Permalink

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced successful results from the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival and 8th TIFFCOM market after a presentation on co-productions and locations incentives, the Ko-production in Tokyo project meetings, and film sales at the KOFIC umbrella stand.

On Oct. 26 at TIFFCOM, KOFIC held a presentation on Korea's Global Contents Fund and its Location Incentive Systems. More than 120 film industry professionals attended the event at Roppongi Hills. Kinema Junpo Film Institute's Executive Director Yoshio Kakeo opened the event that detailed the Korean government's KW100 billion (US$90 million) Global Fund, set for launch in November, as well as present KOFIC's co-productions and locations incentive programs...More

Korean film industry at the 8th TIFFCOM

Source | 2011/10/28 | | Permalink

By KOFIC Staff

The Korean film industry is strongly represented at the Tokyo International Film Festival's content market TIFFCOM, which opened yesterday to run until Oct 26 in the Roppongi Hills complex. The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has opened an umbrella stand with seven sales companies - CJ Entertainment, Showbox / Mediaplex, Finecut,M-Line Distribution, 9ers Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment, and Mirovision.

"Last year, the KOFIC umbrella stand only had four companies, but this year we have a large-scale stand with seven companies. They are doing well with meetings results already on the first day. The companies were able to schedule ahead from Busan's Asian Film Market", said Jiwon CHOI, Japan & Europe Regional Manager on KOFIC's International Co-production Team...More

Film to portray making of K-pop idols

Source | 2011/10/06 | | Permalink

The main cast of "Mr. Idol" pose for the camera during a promotional event last week in Seoul. From left, Ji Hyeon-woo, Jay Park, Jang Seo-won and Kim Randy. / Courtesy of Cinergy/Lotte Entertainment
By Lee Hyo-won

K-pop is all the rage as the media has taken notice of fan bases in Europe and beyond, and a new movie will focus on the making of an idol band.

The press junket for "Mr. Idol" (working title) was held in Seoul last week, ahead of a fan meeting in Busan this weekend during the course of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). The country's largest cinema event kicked off Thursday and continues through Oct. 16...More

Song Hye-kyo's new film to open in theaters next month

Source | 2011/09/06 | | Permalink

A new drama feature starring top Korean actress Song Hye-kyo will open in local theaters next month, according to the film's distributor Lotte Entertainment.

On Tuesday, Lotte announced in a press release that Song's movie "A Reason to Live" (translated title) has been slated for a nationwide release on October 27...More

'Arrow' aims for new horizons

Source | 2011/08/04 | | Permalink

Actor Park Hae-il appears in a scene from Kim Han-min's epic archery action film "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon".
/ Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

Finally, a film that ties enduring soul-searching themes with exhilarating action and dashes of tasteful comedy, all set in a familiar yet exotic backdrop.

"Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon", a well-directed and craftily edited "kill all with a single arrow" period piece, could have consulted a better VFX supervisor. Still, it offers thrilling, multi-textured entertainment that makes modern snipers seem boring. Strong box office sales are highly probable along with ancillary potential overseas as distribution rights have been sold to 13 countries...More

Korean film industry makes Declaration for the Normalization for Online Film Distribution

Source | 2011/08/02 | | Permalink

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

Animation Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild set to fly to Sitges

Source | 2011/07/27 | | Permalink

by KOFIC staff Myung Films and Lotte Entertainment have announced that their theatrical animation ""Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild"" has been invited to the 44th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia's Sitges Kids section. Based on a best-selling children's novel, Leafie is a dramatic animation directed by Oh Seong-yoon with the voice talents of award-winning actors Moon So-ri (

Kwon Sang-woo and Jeong Ryeo-won, the most painful kiss

Source | 2011/07/25 | | Permalink

The man is looking far ahead, the woman is closing her eyes. The man is bruised everywhere.

The main poster of movie "Pained" with kwon Sang-woo and Jeong Ryeo-won's affectionate kiss has been revealed....More

Kwak, Kwon team up for melodrama

Source | 2011/07/21 | | Permalink

From left, actors kwon Sang-woo and Jeong Ryeo-wo pose with director Kwak Gyeong-taek at the press conference for the film "Pained", which will open in the fall. / Yonhap

By Lee Hyo-won

Kwak Gyeong-taek, best known for turning "pretty boys" into hardboiled action stars, has teamed up with kwon Sang-woo for his latest film "Pained".

The director, who has featured heartthrobs Jang Dong-gun as a gangster ("Friend") and Jeong Woo-sung as a disheveled hobo ("Mutt Boy"), did not necessarily choose Kwon because of the actor's knack for pulling off macho roles...More

Korea's total box office dips 2.3%, but local films go up 9.9%

Source | 2011/07/08 | | Permalink


Korea's box office in the first half of 2011 has dipped 2.3%. From January to June, theaters took in 68.3 million admissions and KW536.4bn (US$507.2m), down from the 69.76 million admissions and KW549.3bn (US$519.4m) in the same period of time in 2010.

Last year, 3D films with higher ticket prices led by "Avatar" brought about an increase in box office gross despite a decrease in admissions. This year's 3D tentpoles such as "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" did well at the box office but were not enough to make up for decreasing admissions...More

'Arrow' aims ultimate summer success

Source | 2011/06/23 | | Permalink

A scene from "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon"

By Kwaak Je-yup

The filmmakers and actors of summer blockbuster "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" are confident bows and arrows can entertain just as much as guns and bullets.

At a promotional press event on Tuesday in Seoul, the film's director Kim Han-min ("Hand Phone", 2009) said he felt as a child "a visceral pleasure" from using the traditional weapon, which he "hoped the audience will share with this movie"...More

Park Yong-woo, selected as the lead for movie "Papa - Movie"

Source | 2011/06/19 | | Permalink

Actor Park Yong-woo chose his next movies, "Papa - Movie".

From the movie "Children...", Park Yong-woo is a singer's manager in the next movie. After the sincere and heavy producer in the movie "Children...", this time he is the manager of a beautiful female singer who run away together to America....More

Tears worth shedding for 'Mama'

Source | 2011/05/26 | | Permalink

Actors Lee Hyeong-seok, left, and Uhm Jung-hwa star in a scene from the family drama "Mama", which opens in theaters on June 2. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

Ahead of summer vacation, syrupy dramas and animations are on a roll, determined to squeeze tears from family audiences or make them laugh. Among upcoming works is "Mama", and it was not without some cynicism that this reporter sat down for what was obviously going to be a tearjerker designed to manipulate certain reactions from viewers...More

'Arrow' sells to 6 countries at Cannes market

Source | 2011/05/19 | | Permalink

A local period epic "Arrow the Ultimate Weapon" sold to buyers from six countries at the film market in Cannes, the film's local distributor Lotte Entertainment said Tuesday.

A one-minute clip and four to five still cuts were presented at the market and buyers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Benelux and Indonesia, among other countries, purchased rights to distribute the film.

"Arrow", currently in production...More

Cannes 'chicken run'

Source | 2011/05/17 | | Permalink

An advertisement for the Korean animation "Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild" graces the Magestic Barriere Hotel on La Croisette...More

Family film tainted by violence

Source | 2011/05/12 | | Permalink

Actors Ahn Nae-sang, front, and Jin Ji-hee appear in a scene from the film "The Cane". / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

The "hoichori", or cane traditionally used to reprimand children, is said to bruise not only kids' calves but also the tender hearts of the parents or teacher.

In the most extreme cases, adults would roll up their pants and have the child whip them, reasoning that their shortcomings in parenting or teaching are to blame...More

'The Apprehenders' gives '90s comedy zesty spin

Source | 2011/04/28 | | Permalink

Actors Park Joong-hoon, left, and Lee Seon-gyoon star as feuding police officers in the action comedy "The Apprehenders". / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

Who can forget Ahn Seong-gi poking a cadaver like a piece of sushi and licking his fingers in an impromptu post-mortem, as Park Joong-hoon looked on with horror along with the audience?...More

Analysis of 2010 Korean Film Industry

Source | 2011/04/26 | | Permalink

by KOFIC Film Research & Development Center

In 2010, the Korean film industry witnessed several significant changes, many of which were directly related to the worldwide success of the Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar". The box office gross increased by 6.5% as compared to last year, largely due to the increased ticket prices of 3D films, which boomed in popularity following "Avatar". However, the number of admissions actually decreased by 5.2%, scoring a total of only 146 million admissions. The number of times the average Korean went to the movie theater also dropped from 3.15 per individual in 2009 to 2.92 in 2010...More

King of period films takes his career in a new direction

2011/03/03 | | Permalink

After a career spent making period dramas, Lee Joon-ik has announced he is calling it quits.

Director Lee Joon-ik recently announced his departure from filmmaking after his recent film "Battlefield Heroes" failed to attract moviegoers. [JoongAng Ilbo]

In a sudden announcement over the weekend, director Lee Joon-ik said he was leaving commercial filmmaking.

"Congratulate me. I'm quitting directing because the audience [for his recent film "Battlefield Heroes"] was just 1.7 million, far fewer than the 2.5 million we had expected", Lee wrote on his Twitter page...More

Park Hae-il and Moon Chae-won confirmed casting for movie "The Bow"

Source | 2011/01/31 | | Permalink

Actor and actress Park Hae-il and Moon Chae-won have been cast for the movie "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon".

Distributor Lotte Entertainment revealed on the 31st, "It has been confirmed that Park Hae-il a, Moon Chae-won, Ryoo Seung-ryong, Kim Moo-yeol and others will play lead roles in the thrilling action historical movie "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" based on 13 years after the artificial restoration"....More

Missing 'Children..'. case turns into stilted drama

Source | 2011/01/27 | | Permalink

A scene from "Children...", which is based on a true, unsolved case of five boys who were found murdered. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Lee Hyo-won

The difficulty of dramatizing true stories lies in harnessing the facts to creative ends, so that it doesn't stop short of mimicking documentaries...More

[Find 1mm] 'Big 3' distributor all in... the power of Im Kwon-taek

Source | 2011/01/20 | | Permalink

CJ Entertainment, Showbox Mediaplex, Lotte Shopping Lotte Entertainment are known to be the 'Big 3' distributors in Korean movies. Every one in the movie business wait to hear what movie line ups they have, and what holiday specials will be put to competition...More

Will film do justice to missing children case?

Source | 2011/01/11 | | Permalink

Poster for the upcoming film "Aideul" ("Children..."), which is based on an unsolved case involving five children who went missing in the 1990s.

By Lee Hyo-won

A hushed yet most palpable tension marked the press conference Tuesday in Jongno for "Aideul" ("Children..."), ahead of its release next month...More

Kim Yoon-jin, Park Hae-il's battle of hearts

Source | 2010/12/14 | | Permalink

From left, director Yoon Jae-geun, actors Kim Yoon-jin and Park Hae-il pose for the cameras during a press event at a theater in northern Seoul, Monday. The duo will star in the new movie "Heartbeat" which will be in theaters in January. / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment

By Han Sang-hee

In the upcoming movie "Heartbeat" (working title) top actors Kim Yoon-jin and Park Hae-il fight for the lives of loved ones over one pounding heart...More

"Petty Romance" debuts on top of box office

Source | 2010/12/06 | | Permalink

Film "Petty Romance" [Lotte Entertainment]

Local romantic comedy "Petty Romance", which opened in theaters on December 1, debuted on top of Korea's box office during the first weekend of December.

Lee Seon-gyoon and Choi Kang-hee starrer "Petty Romance", about an unskilled cartoonist and a former sex columnist coming together to write an adult comic, attracted...More

[PREVIEW] Film "Petty Romance"

Source | 2010/12/01 | | Permalink

Film "Petty Romance" [Lotte Entertainment]

Cartoonist Jeong-bae (Lee Seon-gyoon) whose work constantly gets turned down because of their lousy storylines is desperately in need of 50 million won to protect a portrait which he treasures as his own mother. Da-rim (Choi Kang-hee) who writes sex columns by summarizing contents from theses and surveys gets fired after insisting she wants to try her hand at writing a sex column of her own when she has no experience when it comes to men...More

Korea and Canada produce first joint movie

Source | 2010/11/04 | | Permalink

Korean singer Im Chang-jeong (left) and actress Kim Gyoo-ri-I (right) [Wellmade Star M/10Asia]

Producers in Korea and Canada have come together to create a full-length Korean feature, the first movie ever to be co-produced by the two countries.

WE Pictures, the Korean side of the film's producer, announced in a press release on Thursday that they have come together with Vancouver-based Seoul Sisters to co-produce a romantic comedy titled "Shotgun Love"...More

"Midnight FM" continues to rule this week's box office

Source | 2010/10/25 | | Permalink

Official poster for "Midnight FM" [Lotte Entertainment]

New Korean thriller "Midnight FM" remained on the top spot of Korea's box office for the second consecutive week.

According to the Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS), the suspense film starring actress Soo-ae and actor Yoo Ji-tae attracted...More

Hyeon Bin's film "Late Autumn - 2010" to open next month

Source | 2010/10/21 | | Permalink

Official movie poster for "Late Autumn - 2010" [Lotte Entertainment]

Korean film "Late Autumn - 2010", starring Hyeon Bin and Chinese actress Tang Wei, will open in local theaters on November 25.

A press release from Lotte Entertainment revealed the date of director Kim Tae-yong's movie about a coincidental meeting between a male gigolo named Hoon (Hyeon Bin) and Anna (Tang Wei), who is in jail for murdering her abusive husband...More

"Midnight FM" places atop local box office for 1st win

Source | 2010/10/18 | | Permalink

Movie poster for Korean thriller "Midnight FM" [Lotte Entertainment]

New Korean thriller "Midnight FM" entered the local box office at No. 1 during the weekend of October 15 to 17.

"Midnight FM", starring Korean actors Soo-ae and Yoo Ji-tae, made a successful debut in local theaters during its opening weekend, collecting...More

"Cyrano Agency" places at No. 1 once again

Source | 2010/10/11 | | Permalink

Korean actors Eom Tae-woong and Choi Daniel on the movie poster for "Cyrano Agency" [Lotte Entertainment]

Korean romantic comedy "Cyrano Agency" has placed at the top spot on the local box office once again, taking its third consecutive win in the country.

According to the Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) on Monday, "Cyrano Agency", starring Eom Tae-woong and Park Shin-hye, was the most-watched movie in the country, attracting...More

"Cyrano Agency" still No. 1 after two weeks

Source | 2010/10/04 | | Permalink

Movie poster for "Cyrano Agency" [Lotte Entertainment]

Korean romantic comedy "Cyrano Agency", starring Park Shin-hye and Eom Tae-woong, topped the Korean box office for the second consecutive week.

For the weekend of October 1 to 3, "Cyrano Agency" stayed at the No. 1 spot of the chart with...More

"Cyrano Agency" claims No. 1 spot on local box office

Source | 2010/09/27 | | Permalink

Movie poster for "Cyrano Agency" [Lotte Entertainment]

Korean romantic comedy "Cyrano Agency" made its way up to the No. 1 spot on the local box office over the weekend, pushing past former winner "The Invincibles" during the final week of September.

The Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) reported on Monday that "Cyrano Agency", which opened in theaters on September 16, came in first place attracting...More

Sugary romances on big screen for Chuseok

Source | 2010/09/15 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won

Chuseok is the time for migrating home en masse, or for film buffs, the perfect time to camp out in front of the big screen.

The cinema lineup this year was mostly marked by hardboiled action flicks and ruthless, skin-crawling thrillers. While Won Bin's bloody drama "The Man From Nowhere" continues to top the box office with more than 5.1 million viewers as of Sept. 5, a couple of romantic dramas will open Thursday for the mellow fall season.

Koreans have a soft spot for tragic melodrama, and even romantic comedies often cannot escape the traps of tragicomedies. On the post-"My Sassy Girl" Korean cinema scene the romantic comedy genre has repeatedly suffered from the problem of trying to substantiate silly slapstick with a dose of heartbreaking drama, ending up with something that dabbles in comedy and tragedy in a messy, bipolar fashion.

Kim Hyeon-seok has contributed relatively solid stories about matters of the heart such as "When Romance Meets Destiny", and brings a breath of fresh air to the local batch of romantic comedies with his latest offering, "Cyrano Agency" (Lotte Entertainment). As much as it realizes an award-winning script the director penned 15 years ago, the film is seamlessly crafted and brims with hearty laughs and drama.

Before delving into the storyline, the film's title needs ...More

'71-Into the Fire' to open in US

Source | 2010/07/13 | | Permalink

Released locally June 16, Korean War epic "71-Into the Fire" will have its US release July 30, according to the film's distributor Lotte Entertainment.Directed by Lee Jae-han (John H. LEE) the film opened at number one at the Korean box office and has taken 2 million admissions in its first two weeks.
The US release will see the film open on 14 screens in L.A., San Francisco, New York, Washington and Philadelphia at multiplex chains AMC and MPARK4.South Korean sales agent Finecut has sold overseas rights to U.K'.sand Ascot Elite for Germany and Switzerland. "71-Into the Fire" was also recently selec...More

Kim Yoon-jin to star in new suspense film with Park Hae-il

Source | 2010/07/11 | | Permalink

Korean actress Kim Yoon-jin [Zion Entertainment]

Korean actress Kim Yoon-jin is set to star alongside actor Park Hae-il in a new suspense film tentatively titled "Heartbeat", according to the film's distributor Lotte Entertainment.

Lotte Entertainment said in a press release that Kim and Park have been cast for lead roles in the film, playing a mother who has to save her daughter and a son who must protect his mother, respectively...More

"71-Into the Fire" to Hit Theaters in 14 US Cities

Source | 2010/06/30 | | Permalink

The film "71-Into the Fire" will hit theaters in 14 U.S. cities on July 30th. Based on a true story, the film is about student soldiers who fought in the Korean War.

The film's distribution company, Lotte Entertainment, announced Wednesday that it would release the film in 20 to 30 AMC theaters in 14 U.S. cities next month, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

The distribution company added that it could expand the number of screenings depending on the how the ...More

'71' sheds light on young soldiers

Source | 2010/06/10 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff reporter

A star-studded, big budget war movie comes in time for the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, leading the array of anticipated summer blockbusters.

"71-Into the Fire" was inspired by a true incident in which boy soldiers perished during the conflict, and their tragic story comes to life through a film with impressive production values. Though it suffers some critical flaws and at times feels Hollywood manufactured, performances by hallyu stars, particularly the gripping big screen debut by pop star T.O.P (Choi Seung-hyeon), will ensure ticket sales in Asia.

In the summer of 1950, North Korea crossed the 38th Parallel and seized Seoul in just three days. The Communist troops continued their way down toward Busan, and South Korean soldiers had to defend the southernmost port city while awaiting the arrival of additional U.N. forces.

On Aug. 10, several hundred South Korean soldiers and 71 boys drafted for the national emergency were on standby in Pohang, located two hours away from Nakdong River, a critical frontier. Due to the shortage of men, the small city was left in the h...More

Korean films hot at Cannes film market

Source | 2010/05/14 | | Permalink

Official poster for film "71-Into the Fire" [Taewon Entertainment]

Korean films "Blades of Blood" and "71-Into the Fire", which both star Korean actor Cha Seung-won, have scored overseas distribution deals at an ongoing film market in France.

The two pics were picked up by foreign movie buyers at the Cannes Film Market where movie industry officials buy and sell their movies during the annual Cannes Film Festival...More

Korean War resurrected onscreen

Source | 2010/05/13 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won, Han Sang-hee
Staff reporters

The Korean War (1950-53) has unfortunately been dubbed "The Forgotten War" overseas, but for Koreans the deep scar it left behind is still sorely felt. In time for the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict, domestic movies and television series are zooming in on the human tragedy to provide drama, action and some history lessons.

Big screen

Currently showing in theaters or due for release are films highlighting specific incidents during wartime and its aftermath.

Released last month, "A Little Pond" sheds light upon the No Gun Ri massacre, in which American soldiers shot to death South Korean refugees in Nogun-ri, North Chungcheong Province, in July 1950.

Reports of the number of casualty varies, ranging between 150, according to a South Korean military report, to 400, as cited by the Associated Press, and in 2001 then-U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a statement of regret.

The film brings together big names in the local theater and screen industries, such as Moon Seong-geun and Sin Myeong-cheol, and top movie stars Song Kang-ho, Moon So-ri and Yoo Hae-jin make special appearances.

New in theaters is "Daehan Minguk Il Peosenteu" ("Republic of Korea 1%"). Though set in modern times, the marine story serves as a reminder of the fact that the Korean Peninsula embodies the remnants of the Cold War ― it remains divided and still technically at war since a peace treaty with North Korea was never signed. And so, South Korean men are drafted for mandatory military service and the Marine Corps is reputed as being the toughest branch of the armed forces.

The movie takes an up-close and personal account of local marine life with a touch of "G.I. Jane", as Lee Ah-i stars as the first woman to pass training in first place and struggles to lead her teammates. It's about bonding over sweat and tears, and the actors actually underwent some excruciating training sessions.

The film bears more significance as some 46 sailors recently lost their lives in the tragic sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan, and that it is being released posthumously for its late director Jo Myeong-nam.

In time for the June 25 anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War comes one of the summer's much anticipated blockbusters "...More

Feisty Grandmas Pull Off Bandit Acts

Source | 2010/03/11 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Cinema has seen its fair share of uncanny elderly heroines, from Miss Daisy (not) behind the driving wheel to the cross-dressing Mrs. Doubtfire, but feisty Korean grannies turning into larger-than-life bank robbers in the whim of a late-life crisis, is a first.

"Yukhyeolpo Gangdodan" ("Revolver Gangsters' Gang") is like a hearty bowl of "makgeolli". It's brewed from vintage humor like the traditional rice wine -- the physical farce, crude jokes and other comic formulas may not be strikingly novel but they are just the stuff that make local audiences drunk with laughter.

But the family comedy is also determined to inspire tears with a dose of heartfelt drama, and Charlie Chaplin's famous saying comes to mind -- "Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up but a comedy in long-shot".

Basically, three senior citizens decide to rob a bank, or more precisely, recla...More

`Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War' Is Ripe With Drama

Source | 2010/01/28 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Korea is home to sharp tongued power-bloggers that infiltrate the farthest "matjip" (reputed restaurants) with DSLR cameras in hand. It's no surprise that "Sikgaek", one of the best-selling comics here, is devoted to the culinary arts, and fans were psyched to see adaptations on both the big and small screens, including the 2007 box office hit "Le Grand Chef".

The sequel "Le Grand Chef - Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War" is finally in theaters, and as is apparent in the title it is devoted to the quintessential Korean dish.

For many non-Koreans, however, kimchi is an acquired taste, and the movie could well have remained limited to a regional appeal. But first-time director Baek Dong-hoon challenges the most pernickety of taste buds by offering a balanced diet of mouthwatering kimchi dishes and drama with universal themes.

If th...More

Kim Jeong-eun says "Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War" is about people

Source | 2010/01/25 | | Permalink

(From left) The cast of "Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War" Jin Goo, Lee Bo-hee, Kim Jeong-eun and director at the film's press conference at the Myung-dong Lotte Cinema on January 21, 2010. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Press conference for film "Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War"

You will be desperately hungry for a steamy hot bowl of rice or ramen noodles cooked in a nickel-silver pot after watching this film. From what has been revealed at the film's press conference, held at Myung-dong Lotte Cinema on Thursday, "Le Grand Chef - Kimchi War" has succeeded in living up to its title by deliciously showing various kinds of kimchi. At a kimchi competition which aims to globalize the Korean dish called kimchi, main character Sung-chan (played by Jin Goo) and his archrival Jang-eun (played by Kim Jeong-eun) present various types of kimchi. The sight of these dishes so strongly stimulates the viewers' sense of taste that they are likely to cringe when, in the film, the judges say, "What a profound, mysterious taste"....More

'Chaw' Explores Omnivore's Nightmare

Source | 2009/07/09 | | Permalink

The homicidal hog movie "Chaw" is one of those films that takes a seed of truth and grows it into Jack's beanstalk. This tall tale of horror and adventure proves to be a fine addition to the local stock of computer graphics-ridden monster flicks ― offering a believable, rather than realistic, experience that persuades the viewer with more than just flesh-gnawing gore.

Dubbed the Korean Tim Burton for the punk horror flick "To Catch a Virgin Ghost" ("Sisily 2km"), Sin Jeong-won transforms familiar settings into an atmospheric space, where the narrative is propelled by suspense, dramatic counterpoints and solid character development (including some spoofs by a most memorable madwoman).

In recent years, there have been news reports of how deforesting and dwindling food sources drove ravenous wild boars to ravage dead bodies in tombs and attack villages. It took three years to design and realize via CG ― provided by the creative team behind "Star Wars Episo...More

Summer Action Flicks Are Coming

Source | 2009/06/30 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Every summer, big budget Hollywood movies flow in, and many worry about the potential threat to homegrown films. Recent trends, however, suggest that competition is healthy.

"The fact that such a comparison (between national and international franchises) is even possible is unique; there aren't so many countries around the world where domestic films can compete with American ones", Han Seung-hee, researcher at the Korean Film Council, told The Korea Times.

After the turn of the new millennium, the Korean film industry enjoyed rapid growth, with blockbusters rewriting box office history each year. But the market plummeted for the first time last year, and investment and production hit an all time low. Moviegoers even criticized films that fared well at the box office as being formulaic.

So far, 2009 looks better. The success of "A Frozen Flower" and "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") opened up a promising new year. Although February and March were rather lukewarm months _ viewership was split among three crime thrillers, "The Scam", "Marine Boy" and "Hand Phone" _ "Private Eye" picked things up and was widely loved for its unique themes.

Sleeper hit movies such as "Old Partner" and "Breathless" also reva...More

'Girlfriend' Prevails With Small, Tactful Jokes

Source | 2009/04/23 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Don't be discouraged by the rather familiar plotline or the tacky English title. This reporter had been expecting the worst for what appeared to be a spin-off of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", but Sin Tae-ra's buoyant spy romance "My Girlfriend Isn't an Agent" is a promising asset to the South Korean romantic comedy genre.

It's predictable and cliched, but features some surprisingly good B-rate laughter, winning the audience with a series of small but tactile tickles rather than a big K.O. After dabbling with blood in the slasher film "Black House", the director returns with something more digestible, while actors Kim Ha-neul and Kang Ji-hwan make their mark on the silver screen.

Following a few mediocre franchises, Kim reclaims...More

Mid-Budget Film Gives Hope to Local Cinema

Source | 2009/01/23 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The South Korean film industry had already been staggering for over two years and was hit especially hard by the global economic crisis. But the 2009 season begins hopefully, as "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") a mid-budget film, continues to top the box office for a whopping seventh week and signals positive market trends.

As of Wednesday, the family comedy has attracted over 6.59 million viewers since its release Dec. 3, according to Lotte Entertainment. It is expected to sell more tickets over the Seollal (Lunar New Year) holiday, and perhaps break the 6.62 million record for domestic comedies set by "200 Pounds Beauty" in 2006.

The feat, in terms of numbers, may not seem big when compared to homegrown blockbusters that brought in over 10 million viewers. But "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") points to something significant: first, it is a smaller franchise starring familiar faces rather than superstars, being thus an unexpected hit with a snowballing effect like the 2005 dark horse "The King and the Clown". Second, it signals market trends that are expected to endure.

"Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") is about a star DJ (played by funnyman ...More

"Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal")' success leads to English subtitled screenings

Source | 2008/12/31 | | Permalink

"Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") starring Cha Tae-hyeon ends the year on a positive note for the Korean film industry. The comedy leads the box office and according to production company Lotte Entertainment on 28 December, the film surpassed the 4 million viewers mark.

Lotte Entertainment was not yet able to provide a precise number, but said it was certain that "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") had sold more than 4 million tickets in 26 days since its release on 3 December. The claim is ...More

Imagining Life Behind Heroic Act

Source | 2008/11/06 | | Permalink

By Joon Soh
Contributing Writer

In January 2001, a South Korean student named Lee Su-hyun was waiting for the subway in Tokyo when a Japanese man fell on the tracks. Lee and another Japanese man jumped onto the rails in an attempt to get him out of the way before an oncoming train reached the station. Sadly, they were unsuccessful and all three men were killed.

Lee's death made headlines in both Korea and Japan, and the 26-year-old's act of unselfishness struck a deep chord with people from both countries. His heroism resonated all the more given the long and bitter history between the two countries, and may have even made people in both nations reconsider their long-held prejudices and suspicions regarding their neighbors.

The Japanese film "26 Years Diary", which was released in Japan last year and is currently showing in Korea, is a cinematic tribute to the late Korean student. Rather than focusing on the final spontaneous act of hero...More

Jeon, Ha's Chemistry Give Life to 'Enemy'

Source | 2008/09/18 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

One day, two characters, lots of dialogue and hushed emotions ― only Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jeong-woo could pull it off. South Korea's most in-demand actors get together as former lovers in the post-break up road movie "My Dear Enemy". Of course none other than director Lee Yoon-ki ("This Charming Girl") orchestrated this enchanting story about spending an abnormal day with an ex.

Jeon chose a rather mundane character to emerge from her immortalized Cannes Best Actress-winning role in "Secret Sunshine". But the actress shines through more than ever as sh...More

Jeon Do-yeon, Ha Jeong-woo as Ex-Lovers

Source | 2008/08/27 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

South Korea's most in-demand actors Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jeong-woo generated a big media buzz appearing before the press as "former lovers". Jeon, who won the 2007 Cannes Best Actress award for "Secret Sunshine", and Ha, hero of one of this year's highest grossing films "The Chaser", teamed up in "My Dear Enemy", due in theaters Sept. 25.

Popular band Clazziquai's vocalist Horan opened the event, singing mellow tunes that appear in the fall lineup's most anticipated film. Director Lee Yoon-ki, the melodrama craftsman of critically acclaimed works like "This Charming Girl" (2006), brings what he calls an unconventional, post-breakup love story.

Jeon appears as Heui-su, an uptight, unemployed...More

'Eye' Spies Perfect Crime

Source | 2008/07/24 | | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Korea's favorite leading men Han Seok-Kyu and Cha Seung-won team up in "Eye for an Eye", an urban action flick that slithers with speed, style and substance.

Perfect crimes unfold in the tradition of the "Ocean's 11" trilogy, launching a "Public Enemy"-style cat and mouse game. Han dyes his hair silver and wears a matching gray suit and shiny Hermes belt to play the role of a suave yet gum chewing, foulmouthed detective ― the film is worth watching just to see the "Shiri" (Swiri) (1998) star drive like a madman and mercilessly interrogate suspects.

Similar to the recent box office smash "Public Enemy Returns", veteran de...More

Cine 21 Names CJ's KIM Joo-seong Most Influential

Source | 2008/04/22 | | Permalink

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 "The Good, the Bad, the Weird".

In second place was Cha Seung-jae of SIDUS FNH, switching from the top spot last year and the year before. In third was Cinema Service founder and director Kang Woo-seok, ("Silmido", "...More

Korean films line up for Chuseok holiday

Source | 2007/07/20 | | Permalink

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 considering move into film industry

Source | 2007/06/14 | | Permalink

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

Behemoths in the Movie Industry

Source | 2007/01/02 | | Permalink

Low-Budget Films Suffer From Unfair Market Practices of Three Big Companies

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

The local film industry last year produced two mega hits _ the historical piece "The King and the Clown" and the monster film "The Host" _ which sold more than 12 million and 13 million tickets, respectively.

The films' most remarkable feat, however, was their dominance of the market.

While the two films were showing last year, almost half the screens in the country were devoted to them. Small-budget films were nudged out of theaters, and audiences didn't have much choice in which films to watch.

A bill has been proposed in the National Assembly to reduce the dominance of large companies.

The bill's main purpose is to regulate how multiplex theaters allocate screens to films. It aims to protect small films and offer audiences a chance to enjoy more diverse movies by preventing one from dominating screens.

"Our basic idea is to keep cultural diversity for the audience's right to choose", said Kim Sang-chul, secretary to Rep. Chun Young-se of the Democratic Labor Party. Chun proposed the bill.

Kim agreed that popular films tend to play on more screens but said it is film distributors and theater owners' job to decide which films ...More

Sales at the Asian Film Market

Source | 2006/11/03 | | Permalink

This year's Pusan International Film Festival witnessed the opening of the inaugural Asian Film Market, a comprehensive film industry hub which covers many aspects of filmmaking from pre-sales, sales, and financing to production and post facilities as well as a casting network for up-and-coming stars.

In terms of deal-making, sales companies reported that not many deals were signed, however agreements and project advancement took place. The absence of many European buyers due largely to the opening of the Rome International Film Festival during the same period, was also noted, however those from Europe who did come had first pick and were pleased with their findings.

Among Korean deals made, CJ's martial arts fantasy The Restless and box office record-breaker The Host were bought from Cineclick Asia by Singapore's Queen Imperial for rights in Indonesia's growing market. Queen also picked up iHQ's ...More

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