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Actor Song Kang-ho's New Project Put on Hold Due to Coronavirus

Source | 2020/03/31 | Permalink

The coronavirus outbreak has put actor Song Kang-ho's new film project "Emergency Declaration" on hold as the film's production company has decided to delay shooting...More

"Itaewon Class" PD Kim Seong-yoon Hopes It's as Successful as "The Man Standing Next"

Source | 2020/01/30 | Permalink

PD Kim Seong-yoon hopes "Itaewon Class" is as successful as "The Man Standing Next".

The press premiere of the new jTBC drama "Itaewon Class" was held in Seoul on the 30th with PD Kim Seong-yoon, writer Kwang Jin, and actors Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung and Kwon Nara...More

Kim Mi-kyung-I Joins Park Seo-joon in "Itaewon Class"

Source | 2019/12/02 | Permalink

Actress Kim Mi-kyung-I is starring in the upcoming Friday / Saturday jTBC drama "Itaewon Class".

Kim Mi-kyung-I has made an impression on the audience with her recent work in "KIM Jiyoung: Born 1982"...More

Will Kim Da-mi Meet Park Seo-joon in "Itaewon Class"?

Source | 2019/05/01 | Permalink

Actress Kim Da-mi is looking through the offer she received for director Kim Seong-yoon's latest drama "Itaewon Class".

"Itaewon Class" has Park Seo-joon in the line for its main cast...More

[USA + Canada] "Money" - South Korean Spy Thriller Releases March 29 in Cities Across the U.S

Source | 2019/03/29 | Permalink

Directed by Noo-ri Park and Stars Ryu Jun-yeol, Yoo Ji-tae, Jo Woo-jin and Kim Jae-young

South Korean director Noo-ri Park is making her directorial debut with spy thriller "Money". The title releases in Los Angeles today and in cities across the U.S. on March 29. Audiences will be teeming with suspense as they wait to see if the protagonist, Il-hyeon, makes it out of the tight situation he has dug himself into...More

[HanCinema's News] The curious failure of "Hit-and-Run Squad"

2019/02/20 | Permalink

"Hit-and-Run Squad" has failed to meet expectations. Though heavily promoted until its release on January 30th, with the release of "Svaha: The Sixth Finger" on February 20th, the screen presence of "Hit-and-Run Squad" has almost completely disintegrated. It is currently tracking at 1,825,750 admissions and is unlikely to break two million...More

Teens Return as Powerful Box-Office Force

Source | 2018/04/13 | Permalink

Teenagers are back as a major influence on the box office success or failure of movies in Korea...More

[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets

2017/11/12 | Permalink

Korea's top entertainment companies expand their reach as local markets saturate, KoBiz tracks how foreign sequels fared compared to their originals in a new infographic, Netflix claims the distribution rights to Jang Hang-jun's new film "Forgotten", and find out what Korea's 'thriller season' is all about with Pierce Conran...More

'A Taxi Driver' Becomes 15th Korean Film to Draw 10 Million Viewers

Source | 2017/08/21 | Permalink

"A Taxi Driver", directed by Jang Hoon and starring Song Kang-ho, has become the 15th Korean film to draw more than 10 million viewers. It had attracted 10.07 million viewers as of Sunday, making it the first film this year to reach the milestone, according to distributor Showbox...More

Hwang Jung-min and Yoon Jong-bin's "The Spy Gone North", CJ steps out

Source | 2016/12/15 | Permalink

One of the most anticipated movies of 2017 is at risk.

Several sources claimed that the movie was just about to crank in when this happened...More

'Tunnel' Continues Box Office Reign

Source | 2016/09/07 | Permalink

The disaster flick "Tunnel" hit the 7 million mark in cinema attendance on Tuesday, according to the film's distributor Showbox.

The film has maintained the top spot at the box office since its release on Aug. 10, the longest record this year...More

Hyun Bin to come back with "The Swindlers"

Source | 2016/06/14 | Permalink

Actor Hyun Bin is coming back with the movie "The Swindlers".

According to sources, Hyun Bin had been considering this movie for a long time but eventually decided to join on board...More

Gong Yoo, the warmhearted urban man smiles in pink sweater

Source | 2016/02/11 | Permalink

Actor Gong Yoo presented a standard about what a ttadonam, a warmhearted urban man, should be like. Showbox posted Gong Yoo's image on their official Facebook on February 11th. In the photo, he shows off his fashionista side in the hot pink sweater matched with a pair of black jeans.

The posting also informed about a surprise event for his fans. It was about a surprise fan meeting that Gong Yoo decided to have on that day. While his new movie, "A Man and A Woman" is opening soon. Gong Yoo revealed his excitement with the bright smile...More

'Answer Me 1988' actor Kim Sung-kyun to make cameo appearance in new movie 'The Prison'

Source | 2016/02/09 | Permalink

Kim Sung-kyun will make a special appearance in movie 'The Prison' (film by Nah Hyeon).

Multiple sources in movie production circle told TV Report on February 6th that Kim Sung-kyun confirmed his appearance for 'The Prison'...More

Crime Comedy Set to Dominate Holiday Box Office with Ease

Source | 2016/02/05 | Permalink

A crime comedy starring top actors Hwang Jung-min and Gang Dong-won looks set to be the unchallenged box office leader over the Lunar New Year holiday...More

7th Film Critics' Awards Winners

Source | 2016/01/27 | Permalink

Film Critics' Awards Winners...More

Bae Doona and Ha Jung-woo to co-star as a married couple in movie 'Tunnel'

Source | 2015/10/14 | Permalink

According to sources from film industry circles on October 14th, Bae Doona has recently confirmed to appear in director Kim Seong-hun's new film, "Tunnel".

An insider from Bae Doona's agency also said, "She has confirmed to appear in "Tunnel" and is preparing for it"...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

From Jun Ji-hyun to Oh Dal-soo in surprise release of 'The Assassination' behind-the-scenes images

Source | 2015/08/14 | Permalink

ShowBox has made a surprise releas of behind-the-scenes images of "The Assassination".

Jun Ji-hyun, practicing gun shooting action along with director or studying her script with Ha Jung-woo, looks impressive. Her smiling brightly along with Lee Jung-jae on a truck showcases the vibe during filming on the set...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.06.26 ~ 2015.06.28

2015/06/29 | Permalink

A rush of fresh blood dislodges "Jurassic World"...

A string of new flicks, both foreign and domestic, flooded Korea cinemas last week, and in the aftermath of the weekend a new championed emerged. For the past few weeks the gigantically successful "Jurassic World" (which has, to date, banked over $1.2B worldwide) has dominated Korean screens with its ferocious abominations, but this past weekend saw a new favourite rise to the top, a local flick that's based on a true story of war and young courage...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 Assassination' presold to nine countries

Source | 2015/05/13 | Permalink

Movie "The Assassination" starring Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Ha Jung-woo has been presold to nine countries.

The production team of "The Assassination" said on May 13th, the film has been presold to North America, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines...More

Showbox confirms Kim Hye-soo's casting in 'Family Plan'

Source | 2015/05/08 | Permalink

Kim Hye-soo's casting in movie 'Family Plan' has been confirmed.

Film investment and distribution company Showbox Mediaplex has confirmed her casting on May 8th...More

Jo Jae-yun's wedding photo invitation

Source | 2015/02/03 | Permalink

Actor Jo Jae-yun's wedding invitation is out.

Sports Today obtained the wedding invitation which states the date and location of the wedding...More

Lee Min-ho's "Gangnam Blues" to compete with Ha Jeong-woo's "Chronicle of a Blood Merchant"

Source | 2014/12/09 | Permalink

"Gangnam Blues" is being released on the 21st of January.

Showbox released stills of Lee Min-ho and Kim Rae-won...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 Jung-woo, Gang Dong-won, and Son Ye-jin...More

Ji Jin-hee, Kim Sung-kyun and Sung Yu-ri to star in "Summer Snow"

Source | 2014/08/11 | Permalink

Ji Jin-hee, Kim Sung-kyun and Sung Yu-ri are starring in the movie "Summer Snow".

Showbox announced that Ji Jin-hee, Kim Sung-kyun, Sung Yu-ri, Kim Young-chul-I, Kwak Ji-hye, Seo Kang-joon, Kang Sin-hyo and others are starring in "Summer Snow" and the crank in starts in October...More

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.06.13 ~ 2014.06.15

2014/06/16 | Permalink

"Edge of Tomorrow" pushes past 3 million to top the table once more…

Last weekend Doug Liman's science fiction adaptation "Edge of Tomorrow" snatched over 1.5M admissions to take gold, and while its haul was significantly less this time around, the 679K (40%) it pulled over the weekend was enough to secure a second reign. Cruise and his sci-fi flicks go down like a treat in Korea, and paired with the tale's Japanese origin, Liman's futuristic frenzy has thus far managed to amass over 3M admissions ($25M). And while Cruise and his co-star Emily Blunt were blazing at the top, two new local films made their entry into the top ten in the form of "Gyeongju" and "For The Emperor"...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

"Hwayi : A Monster Boy" Yeo Jin-goo is no longer pure and innocent

Source | 2013/08/27 | Permalink

Yeo Jin-goo is now a man.

Showbox released a video of Yeo Jin-goo and Kim Yun-seok who are starring in the movie "Hwayi : A Monster Boy"...More

14th Jeonju International Film Festival Final Report

2013/05/07 | Permalink

- Cinema Street crowded with various guests and filmmakers visiting from all around the world!
- Tickets of all sections including FOCUS ON and STRANER THAN CINEMA had evenly sold out, organizing film programs was conservative
- 5th Jeonju Project Market brought huge success within steady managements!
-Special Attraction in JIFF 2013! On stage talk show and live performances had set on fire!
 On 25 Apr (Thu), 14th Jeonju International Film Festival that commenced at Sori Arts Center closed on 3 May (Fri) with visitors' attentions and involvements...More

MLB's Choo, Ryu Appear in Korean Baseball Film

Source | 2013/05/07 | Permalink

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds both make cameo performances in Kim Yong-hwa's film soon-to-be-released "Mister Go 3D".

The two came to appear in the movie as they are acquainted with the director. The movie will hit local theaters in July. "Mister Go 3D", based on the work of famous cartoonist Hur Youn...More

'All I wanted was to quit my job'

Source | 2012/10/18 | Permalink

So Ji-sub stars as a "salaried" contract killer in "A Company Man", which is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

By Baek Byung-yeul

Playing protagonist Ji Hyeong-do, So Ji-sub doesn't actually utter these words, but all his actions and body language amounts to that one sentence that puts in a nutshell the toils and agonies of any salaried worker in Korea Inc.

But heartthrob So plays no ordinary salaried worker. As Ji in "A Company Man", he is a hired killer under the cover of a legitimate business.

Ji works for New Continental Metal Incorporated as a section chief of the 2nd sales section, but the main business of this company is contract killing. An otherwise unsuspicious beautiful office housed in a gigantic skyscraper is stashed with an assorted array of lethal weapons, with a separate clandestine conference room...More

'The Thieves' Takes Box Office by Storm with Nearly 10 Million Viewers

Source | 2012/08/14 | Permalink

Choi Dong-hoon's "The Thieves" is set to become sixth Korean film to attract 10 million spectators.

"A total of 9.24 million moviegoers have seen the movie as of Sunday", said its distributor Showbox Mediaplex on Monday. The flick was released on July 25. "We expect the figure to surpass 10 million by Thursday"...More

'The Thieves' breaks record with 2.9 mil.

Source | 2012/07/30 | Permalink

By Kwaak Je-yup

The crime drama "The Thieves" has posted the best opening in Korean cinema history, its studio Showbox Mediaplex announced on Monday...More

'Actor and director are like husband and wife'

Source | 2012/07/23 | Permalink

Director Choi Dong-hoon poses at an interview in this July 18 photo. He returns to the box office Thursday with crime drama "The Thieves", starring some of the most bankable actors in Korean and Hong Kong Cinema, including Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo,Jun Ji-hyun, Simon Yam,Lee Jung-jae and Kim Soo-hyun, among others. / Yonhap

Choi Dong-hoon on making 10 stars shine in 'The Thieves', opening Thursday

By Kwaak Je-yup

Unlike in Hollywood, there are few full-time screenwriters left in Korean cinema. Successful ones have moved to more lucrative TV dramas and soap operas, and movies are now written and brought to life by the hands of the director...More

Star-studded 'Thieves' takes different route from 'Ocean'

Source | 2012/07/11 | Permalink

A scene from "The Thieves" shows, from left, the characters Johnny (Derek Tsang), Popeye (Lee Jung-jae), Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun), Yenicall (Jun Ji-hyun), Pepsi (Kim Hye-soo), Macau Park (Kim Yun-seok), Julie (Angelica Lee Sin-Jie), Chewed Gum (Kim Hae-sook), Andrew (Oh Dal-soo) and Chen (Simon Yam). The $12-million burglary-themed blockbuster by director Choi Dong-hoon is slated to open on July 25 in theaters nationwide. Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

A bunch of thieves collaborating to steal a rare diamond from the gambling capital of the world? Sounds suspiciously like Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's series.

The similarity does not stop there: Choi Dong-hoon's latest film "The Thieves", which opens on July 25, also has an all-star cast packed with some of the most bankable actors in Korean cinema, comparable to George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Robert in "Ocean's Eleven"...More

TOP and Jo Sung-ha cast for "Alumni"

Source | 2012/06/07 | Permalink

Big Bang member Choi Seung-hyun (TOP) and actor Jo Sung-ha have been cast for the movie "Alumni".

This movie is to be filmed for 3 months. A session of script reading has been done and the two will star in the movie as spies...More

Park Bo-young's impression about her movie

Source | 2012/04/23 | Permalink

"I am looking forward to it and nervous"

Park Bo-young expressed her thoughts about the release of her movie "Don't Click" which is finally coming out for the first time in 9 months...More

'Scent' pays comic homage to 'Basic Instinct'

Source | 2012/04/12 | Permalink

Park Si-yeon, left, and Park Hee-soon star in "The Scent". / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Kwaak Je-yup

It is a well-known fact that raising funds for a film is a tricky process, with investors asking for a guarantee of some kind of success at the box office.

"The Scent" by Kim Hyeong-jun ("No Mercy", 2009) is a prime example of creators giving in too much to such demands, using every hit formula in the book while failing to put them together in a coherent whole...More

Ha Ji-won, "I haven't seen the script for the Chosun Angels yet"

Source | 2012/03/25 | Permalink

Ha Ji-won in the current MBC drama "The King 2 Hearts" firmly stated that she hasn't even seen the scenario for "The Three Chosun Angels" yet.

She meant that she couldn't answer 'yes' or 'no' to questions about the movie just yet although she is interested in it as it is being created by a subsidiary company of her agency, World Made Film...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

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

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 Byung-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

Feature profile - From Seoul to Varanasi

Source | 2012/02/10 | Permalink

Set for an international premiere in the Berlinale Panorama section, director Jeon Kyu-hwan's "From Seoul to Varanasi" has been re-edited since its world premiere in Busan. Kim Seong-hun met with Jeon's producer CHOI Mi-Ae to talk about their work together and profile the film.

- Photograph by CHOI Sung-yeol

Treefilm, the production company of upcoming Berlinale Panorama film "From Seoul to Varanasi", was founded by producer CHOI Mi-Ae and director Jeon Kyu-hwan. Together they made the "Town Trilogy" of "Mozart Town" (2008), "Animal Town" (2009) and "Dance Town" (2010) which travelled to numerous international film festivals including San Sebastian, Hong Kong and Torino. They are now in production for Jeon's next film entitled "Moogae" in Korean, meaning "weight"...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

Big-budget films to open in 2012

Source | 2012/01/05 | Permalink

'Wonderful Radio': mediocre drama out of sync

Source | 2011/12/29 | Permalink

Actress Lee Min-jung plays the role of a K-pop idol-turned-radio personality in "Wonderful Radio", which is slated for release Jan. 5. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

With seasoned radio producer Lee Jae-ik and "Singles" filmmaker Kwon Chil-in teaming up for a rom-com set at a radio studio, "Wonderful Radio" seems to have all the right ingredients for a feel-good jukebox movie. On top of that it includes a star-studded cast and cameos by some of the biggest icons in the local music industry...More

Local films foray into Chinese market

Source | 2011/12/26 | Permalink

Actress Ha Ji-won in a still from the movie "Sector 7"

By Lee Hyo-won

The past year has seen Korean cinema on an upward climb from the recession that hit the industry hard in the mid-2000s, particularly as homespun works made successful debuts in the Chinese box office and more experimental mid-budget films drew crowds domestically.

In the early 2000s, few Korean movies enjoyed wide releases in large neighboring Asian markets such as Japan. In September, however, "The Man From Nowhere", a 2010 crime drama, made successful box office debuts not only in Japan but also in China, one of the world's fastest growing markets...More

Palm Springs fest to screen The Front Line

Source | 2011/12/26 | Permalink

The upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will screen South Korea's Oscar submission"The Front Line" in its Awards Buzz section. The section will feature 40 of the 63 official submissions the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film category. The 40 films were selected by festival programmers as the strongest entries in this year's race. The 2012 PSIFF will run Jan. 5 – 16...More

"The Thieves" wraps shoot

Source | 2011/12/09 | Permalink

Major South Korean investor/distributor Showbox/Mediaplex has announced principal photography has wrapped on director Choi Dong-hoon's highly anticipated thriller "The Thieves". The film had its last shoot on Dec. 7 at the W Seoul – Walkerhill Hotel after six months of shooting on location in Macau, Hong Kong, Busan, and Seoul...More

Director aims to 'de-deify' Lee Min-jung

Source | 2011/12/08 | Permalink

From left, actors Lee Jung-jin, Lee Min-jung and Lee Kwang-soo appear in a promotional event for the film "Wonderful Radio" in Seoul, Tuesday. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

The greatest challenge working with Lee Min-jung, according to director Kwon Chil-in, was to strip the actress of her "goddess" image...More

"Arirang" and "The Yellow Sea" play at Mar del Plata

Source | 2011/11/09 | Permalink

Argentina's Mar del Plata International Film Festival is screening Korean films "ARIRANG - Movie", directed by Kim Ki-duk, and "The Yellow Sea", directed by Na Hong-jin during its 26th edition, Nov. 5 – 13.

Screening in the Panorama – Auteurs section, the documentary "ARIRANG - Movie" stars the maverick director Kim Ki-duk who shot the film of himself mainly while holing up in a mountain cabin in the woods. The film previously made its world premiere at the Cannes film festival where it won the Un Certain Regard award...More

JUDY AHN, Head of International Business, Showbox / Mediaplex

Source | 2011/11/07 | Permalink

Judy Ahn is Head of International Business at Showbox / Mediaplex, the company responsible for the hit Korean War film "The Front Line". Directed by Jang Hoon, the film has been selected as South Korea's entry for consideration to be nominated to the Oscars foreign language film category. Kim Seong-hun met with Ahn to talk about Showbox's films and "The Front Line" in particular...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

Well Go USA picks up "The Front Line"

Source | 2011/10/28 | Permalink has reported that Well Go USA has picked up South Korea's Oscar Best Foreign Language Film category submission.

The distributor has acquired all North American rights to the Korean War drama from director Jang Hoon.

The UK-based international trade magazine reported that Well Go negotiated rights from major Korean distributor Showbox / Mediaplex and plans a January 2012 theatrical release...More

Busan's Asian Film Market opens at new venue

Source | 2011/10/11 | Permalink

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)'s Asian Film Market opened yesterday for the first time in its new venue at the Busan Exhibition Convention Center (BEXCO). The market has reported a 67% increase in sales booths and a 24% increase in participant registration since last year...More

Showbox sells Busan opening film Always to Japan

Source | 2011/10/10 | Permalink

Major Korean distributor Showbox/Mediaplex has sold Song Il-gon's melodrama "Always", the 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) opening film, to Japan's Pony Canyon.

The film tells the fatal story of a former boxer and a blind girl who fall in love. It stars heartthrob So Ji-sub, who has built a fan-base in Asia after the hit TV series "Sorry, I Love You" and Jang Hoon's debut feature "Rough Cut". Opposite him stars Han Hyo-joo who swept up drama awards last year for her performance in the TV series "Dong Yi"...More

[Exclusive] Park Si-hoo and Jung Jae-young in "Confession of Murder"

Source | 2011/09/28 | Permalink

Actors Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo meet as detective and suspect.

According to movie officials, Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo have been cast as the two top actors in the movie "Confession of Murder". ...More

'The Client' is deceptive, smart

Source | 2011/09/22 | Permalink

Actors Jang Hyuk, left, and Ha Jung-woo star in a scene from Korea's first legal thriller, "The Client". The film opens in theaters Sept. 29. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex By Lee Hyo-won A man is suspected of killing his wife. The cadaver is however missing and solid evidence is impossible to procure. A powerful prosecutor and notoriously competent attorney engage in a fierce battle of wits to determine whether the man is guilty or innocent, with nothing but their own sense of conviction and validation. "The Client", the country's first legal thriller, is propelled mostly by heavy legal terminology-ridden dialogue inside a glossy, wood-paneled courtroom. Unlike most variations in the genre it rules out the possibility of multiple suspects and focuses on the 50-50 chance of a man's culpability#. There are many things at stake as the dramatic tension could be compromised by the wordy script and a predictable ending. The film's thrill factor all depends on how far it k...More

Ha Jung-woo confident about Korean-style legal thriller

Source | 2011/08/31 | Permalink

From left, actors Jang Hyuk, Park Hee-soon and Ha Jung-woo appear at a promotional event for the film "The Client" in Seoul, Tuesday. / Yonhap

By Lee Hyo-won

Local cinema has seen a host of dramas set in court, but actor Ha Jung-woo and the other makers of "The Client" are confident that their film offers something new as the country's first legal thriller.

The upcoming film is expected to tell a Korean-style story that stands apart from its American counterparts....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

Sunny draws 7 million viewers

Source | 2011/07/20 | Permalink

The 1980s retro drama "Sunny - 2010" drew more than 7 million viewers as of Tuesday, according to the film's distributor Showbox/Mediaplex, since opening in theaters 11 weeks ago on May 4.

The movie, directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol, is the 12th local franchise to attract such numbers since "May 18" drew in 7.3 million viewers in 2007...More

'Front' brings harrowing views of war

Source | 2011/07/14 | Permalink

Actors Lee Je-hoon, left, and Goh Soo in a scene from the Korean War (1950-53) film "The Front Line"

By Lee Hyo-won

It's another Korean War (1950-53) film, made on a hefty budget - at least for local standards - and featuring an A-list cast.

The viewer, already having seen such action-packed, homespun tearjerkers celebrating humanist values as "Taegukgi" and "71-Into the Fire" or any one of those Hollywood World War II blockbusters, can easily doubt whether Jang Hoon's upcoming "The Front Line" could bring something new...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

Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival to sail with "The Yellow Sea"

Source | 2011/07/07 | Permalink


One of the world's leading genre film festivals, the 44th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia has made an early selection announcement which includes Korean director Na Hong-jin's action thriller "The Yellow Sea".

The Sitges festival previously screened Na's debut feature The Chaser in 2008. The serial killer thriller was a much-lauded film that made Na's second feature, "The Yellow Sea "(a.k.a. The Murderer), one of the most highly anticipated films of 2010...More

'The Front Line' spotlights the Forgotten War

Source | 2011/06/16 | Permalink

By Park Sung-hee

Jang Hoon, who directed the hit inter-Korean drama "Secret Reunion", has returned with another film involving the two Koreas.

"The Front Line" takes viewers back to the Korean War (1950-53), which is largely known as the Forgotten War, and looks into parts of the conflict that have slipped into oblivion. Jang teamed up with a seasoned scriptwriter Park Sang-yeon for the 10 billion-won project.

"Even Koreans remember only about six months of the Korean War", scriptwriter Park told reporters Tuesday in Seoul. "But the actual conflict went on for another 30 months. We wanted to tell the forgotten parts of the Forgotten War"...More

Conspiracy flick is painstakingly real

Source | 2011/06/02 | Permalink

Hwang Jung-min stars as an investigative journalist in the conspiracy drama "Moby Dick". / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

Marked by intrigue and wit, "Moby Dick" paves the way for conspiracy dramas, a genre not yet fully explored in Korean cinema.

Painstakingly realistic depictions of thoroughly domestic matters provide for Hollywood-esque entertainment that invites vested interest, particularly as top actors give their finest performances - but at the same time this deprives the film of that cathartic oomph audiences might expect...More

Cannes hears out filmmaker's angst

Source | 2011/05/22 | Permalink

Kim Ki-duk's feet in a scene from "ARIRANG - Movie", a documentary-style drama that won best picture in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, Saturday

Kim Ki-duk wins sidebar competition with torn self-portrait

By Lee Hyo-won

Kim Ki-duk's controversial self-portrait shared the best picture award with a German drama at the Cannes Festival's sidebar competition, Saturday...More

"The Front Line" pre-sold to 3 countries... what about Cannes?

Source | 2011/05/12 | Permalink

It turns out director Jang Hoon's war movie "The Front Line" has already been pre-sold in 3 countries without any promotional videos.

Distributor of the movie "The Front Line" (produced by TPS Company) Showbox revealed, ""The Front Line" has already been sold to England, Thailand and Germany through the Berlin Movie Festival"....More

Hwang Jung-min returns as reporter

Source | 2011/05/05 | Permalink

Actor Hwang Jung-min

By Lee Hyo-won

Hwang Jung-min will display more of his knack for criminal investigation in the upcoming film "Moby Dick".

After tackling the roles of a detective ("Private Eye") and cop ("The Unjust"), he will investigate cases as a news reporter...More

Lee Min-jung saves movie and opens Showbox safe

Source | 2011/04/19 | Permalink

Actress Lee Min-jung moved the investment distributor Showbox. She is the one who restored the movie "Wonderful Radio" which was having troubles with investments and casting.

"Wonderful Radio" (produced by Eye Vision) is director Kim Yong-gyun's new project. It is a mellow movie about a former idol star Jin-ah (Lee Min-jung) who becomes the radio DJ for the lowest ranking station....More

Sappy drama muddles Korean War comedy

Source | 2011/04/14 | Permalink

Actor Kim Joo-hyuk, right, plays the role of a North Korean military officer that becomes fond of a remote South Korean village his troops captured. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

By Lee Hyo-won

Not too long ago one would have been charged with treason for portraying a North Korean in a sympathetic light onscreen, let alone having characters "sleep with the enemy"...More

"Detective K" sold to France, Vietnam at the Hong Kong FILMART

Source | 2011/04/05 | Permalink

France and Vietnam are the latest additions to the list of countries that will show Korean blockbuster film, "Detective K". The deals were sealed at the Hong Kong International Film and Television Market (FILMART) that took place from March 21 to 24, 2011.

According to Showbox, the film's international distributor and financier, France has acquired full distribution rights while Vietnam acquired theatrical rights...More

"Detective K" gets DVD release date

Source | 2011/04/05 | Permalink

It looks like Kim Myung-min fans will soon be able to to watch "Detective K" in the comfort of their own homes!

Showbox, the movie's distributor and financier revealed to MyungMin International that the DVD of the hit movie will be available for purchase in Korea on April 27. The set will come with English subtitles, and is produced and released by KD Media. Other details will be announced soon....More

"Detective K" screens at the Hong Kong FILMART

Source | 2011/03/21 | Permalink

"Detective K" will be shown at the Hong Kong International Film and Television Market (FILMART). International distributor Showbox will screen the movie to prospective buyers and distributors on Tuesday, March 22.

The mystery-comedy film that tells about a great detective who solves the secret behind the biggest political scandal in the Joseon dynasty, is South Korea's highest-grossing movie in 2011...More

Korean Box Office - Domestic quartet in top 10

Source | 2011/03/18 | Permalink

By Lukas Schwarzacher

Amidst the latest piece of good news that the Korean movie "The Journals of Musan" had won the Jury Prize ex-aequo at the 13th Deauville Asian Film Festival (March 9-13) in France, domestic films continued to hold their own at home the weekend of March 11-13.

Opening in number three position on the box office charts was "Shotgun Love", distributed by Lotte. Directed by Jung Woo-chul, the romantic comedy is about a man spending a night with his dream girl, a lingerie model – with an unexpected outcome...More

"Detective K"'s scores multiple deals at Berlin's film market

Source | 2011/03/16 | Permalink

"Detective K" advertisement in Screen Daily at the Berlin Film Festival, Issued on Feb 10, 2011

South Korean comedy-mystery film "Detective K" is generating good business in North America, Europe and Asia.

Showbox, the film's international distributor confirmed that the Kim Seok-yoon - helmed movie closed multiple deals after its market debut at the European Film Market held alongside the Berlin International Film Festival in February this year.Distribution rights have been sold to Germany, which include the movie's release in German-speaking Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Negotiations are underway for other European countries...More

Im Kwon-taek's moonlight rhapsody

Source | 2011/03/10 | Permalink

Actresses Ye Ji-won, left, and Kang Soo-yeon appear in a scene from "Hanji". Im Kwon-taek's 101st film is about Korean traditional paper-making. / Courtesy of JIFF

By Lee Hyo-won

No one would dare criticize Im Kwon-taek.

But this unspoken rule is not a groundless one. The veteran cineaste's latest film "Hanji" marks his 101st - it's an impressive feat by any standard but not just because of the number...More

"Detective K" at the Hawaii International Film Festival

Source | 2011/03/09 | Permalink

South Korea's hit movie "Detective K" will be screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival's 2011 Spring Showcase, which runs from April 1 to 7 in Honolulu.

The comedy-mystery filmed helmed by veteran comedy director Kim Seok-yoon will be shown on April 2 and 7, at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX. "Detective K" is one of the four Korean films at the festival, that will feature 30 films from over 10 countries.The final movie line-up can be viewed here...More

Is Hollywood Ready for Korean Comedies?

Source | 2011/03/08 | Permalink

From left, scenes from "Detective K", "Hello Ghost" and "The Last Godfather"

Several Korean comedy films have made their way to Hollywood recently, either as remakes or in the original Korean version. Either way, it will be interesting to see how much Korean-style comedy can impress American audiences.

"Detective K", which attracted 4.58 million viewers in the month since its release in Korea, will hit screens in the U.S. and Canada this month. Distributor Showbox said Thursday the film will be released in 10 cities in North America starting with Los Angeles on Friday, and in San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Hawaii and Vancouver a week later...More

"Detective K" invades the United States

Source | 2011/03/02 | Permalink

Korean hit movie "Detective K" will invade the shores of America! According to Showbox, the film's international distributor, the comedy-mystery movie will premiere in Los Angeles on March 4. On March 11, it will be screened in selected CGV and AMC theaters in the following cities: San Francisco, New Jersey, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, North Wales, Dallas and Hawaii...More

International pamphlet of "Detective K" is out!

Source | 2011/02/24 | Permalink

He's smart. He's hot. He's "Detective K"!

Showbox released the new official English language pamphlet for "Detective K". The eye-catching design is held in red tones and features Joseon's infamous detective in front of a spectacular explosion...More

"Detective K" gets its first international screening in Germany

Source | 2011/02/15 | Permalink

Official international poster released by Showbox at the European Film Marlet 2011

While enjoying its highly successful run at domestic box office, Korean blockbuster, "Detective K" also gets its first international screening. The movie was recently released at the European Film Market (EFM) which runs from February 10 to 18, 2011 in Berlin.

The EFM is one of the most important affairs in the international film industry where film producers, distributors, buyers, financiers, and other industry players gather every year...More

Movie "The Thieves" Jun Ji-hyun, why Anycall of all names?

Source | 2011/02/13 | Permalink

Anycall, Pepsi, Popeye, Zampana, Macao Park.

Director Choi Dong-hoon's new movie "The Thieves" (produced by Caper Film and Showbox) featuring Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Yun-seok, is already the talk of the town with its interesting character names....More

"Detective K" entertains 3 million viewers in 2 weeks

Source | 2011/02/11 | Permalink

Korean blockbuster "Detective K" has crossed the 3 million viewer mark just two weeks after its domestic debut.

According to statistics released by the Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS), the fusion movie garnered a total of 3,081,533 moviegoers as of February 10th with ticket sales amounting to more than 23 billion won. "Detective K" has been enjoying the top spot in Korean box office since its release on January 27...More

"Detective K" crosses 2 million viewers mark on Day 9

Source | 2011/02/05 | Permalink

"Detective K" has crossed the 2 million viewers mark on the 9th day of its run in Korean box office.

According to data from the Korean Film Council, "Detective K" has attracted a total of 2,033,144 moviegoers on February 4, bringing in 15.5 million KRW in ticket sales...More

Family fun for the long holiday

Source | 2011/02/01 | Permalink

"COSplayer" (2004) by Cao Fei at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea / Courtesy of MOCA, Showbox/Mediaplex, SBS Contents Hub, Seensee Company, SBS

Movies, performances and exhibition lineup for Seollal

By Lee Hyo-won, Kwon Mee-yoo and Ines Min

Seollal falls on Thursday this year, giving way to a long lunar New Year break that allows some people to take up to nine days off...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

Actors enliven uncanny period adventure

Source | 2011/01/20 | Permalink

Actors Oh Dal-soo, left, and Kim Myung-min in a scene from the Joseon-era crime adventure "Detective K"

By Lee Hyo-won

Equipped with an eagle eye and undyingly loyal sidekick, he's something of a Sherlock Holmes storming through 18th-century Korea. But Kim Myung-min's "Detective K" in the namesake film is often mistaken for a quack - even his mustache serves not so much for stroking gracefully while perusing keen insights, but rather to highlight his offhanded quirks (and perhaps a comical resemblance to Salvator Dali)...More

Taiwan, brace yourself for "Detective K"!

Source | 2011/01/11 | Permalink

Upcoming Korean movie "Detective K" has been sold to Taiwan!

Judy Ahn, Showbox's Head of International Business Department, told MyungMin International that Taiwan's Catchplay has bought the rights to screen the latest Kim Myung-min flick. However, since the movie is currently in post-production and has not yet been released in Korea, it is still not known when the movie will be shown in Taiwan...More

Gory 'Yellow Sea' is worth the wait

Source | 2010/12/23 | Permalink

Director Na Hong-jin's second film "The Yellow Sea", a thriller now in theaters, has reached the top of the box offices since its release Wednesday./ Courtesy of Showbox By Han Sang-hee The new thriller "The Yellow Sea" has been one of the most highly anticipated films of 2010, but beware, this is certainly not for the timid and sensitive. Na Hong-jin, the brilliant maker of "The Chaser", has employed the two protagonists from the popular thriller - Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yun-seok - to prove once again that shaking the audience to its very core is what he does best. "The Yellow Sea" actually has a lot more to offer than More

"Detective K" unveils new poster and videos at its press conference

Source | 2010/12/22 | Permalink

New "Detective K" poster

Upcoming Kim Myung-min movie, "Detective K" was officially presented to the media on Tuesday, December 21 at the Megabox cinema in Dongdaemun, Seoul. The press conference comes ahead of its theatrical release in South Korea set in January 27 next year.

In attendance were Kim Myung-min ("Beethoven Virus", MBC 2008), Oh Dal-soo ("Thirst", 2009) and Han Ji-min ("Yi San", MBC 2007) , the lead stars of the historical comedy-mystery movie. The trio were later joined by director Kim Seok-yoon ("Old Miss Diary - Movie" and "Old Miss Diary - Drama")...More

Finally, it's Detective K!

Source | 2010/12/07 | Permalink



Kim Myung-min's latest movie finally gets its official international (English), Chinese and Japanese titles.

MY Entertainment, Showbox and Delight (film's marketing agency) have confirmed that the movie previously known as "Joseon Detective" will now be called "Detective K"...More

"Secret Reunion" wins best picture at Blue Dragon awards

Source | 2010/11/29 | Permalink

Poster for film "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Korean film "Secret Reunion" starring top actors Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won took the prize for best picture at this year's Blue Dragon Film Awards held last Friday.

The action drama helmed by director Jang Hoon had competed against "The Man From Nowhere", "Moss", "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard" and "The Housemaid - 2010"...More

'The Yellow Sea' to offer real drama, thrills

Source | 2010/11/23 | Permalink

By Han Sang-hee

The buzz has not started quite yet, but the three names that appear on the poster of the new film "The Yellow Sea" will likely be more than enough to have local cineastes marking their calendars.

Director Na Hong-jin captivated viewers with his debut thriller "The Chaser" last year, and he is joining hands with the same cast — actors Kim Yun-seok and Ha Jung-woo — for his new action thriller slated for release next month.

"As I started to build up the story and scenario, the two actors just popped into my head. I didn't worry about it becoming something like a sequel to "The Chaser", because it's not. (...More

Director Kim Tae-gyoon, Jang Nara win at film fest in China

Source | 2010/10/18 | Permalink

Korean film "Barefoot Dream" [Showbox]

Korean director Kim Tae-gyoon and actress Jang Nara both won honors at an annual film festival in China last week.

A press release from film producer's Showbox announced that Kim received the honor for "Best Foreign Film" for his picture "Barefoot Dream", while Jang's official website revealed her win as "Best Actress" for her role in movie "Sky and Sea" at the 19th annual China Golden Rooster & Hundred Flowers Film Festival...More

Joseon Detective at the PIFF

Source | 2010/10/14 | Permalink

"Detective K" was officially introduced to the public at the ongoing 15th Pusan international Film Festival.

Showbox, the distributor of the latest Kim Myung-min flick presented the movie as part of their official line-up for movies that will be released in 2011...More

Director of 'Take Off', Kim Yong-hwa will be directing 3D movie 'Mister Go 3D'

Source | 2010/10/11 | Permalink

Director Kim Yong-hwa, who directed '200 Pounds Beauty' and "Take Off", will be back with the movie, 'Mister Go 3D'.

One of the third biggest movie production companies, 'Showbox', held a night event in Busan Haeundae Westine Josun Hotel, which was called 'Showbox is magic'....More

Magnolia's Magnet picks up "I Saw the Devil"

Source | 2010/09/17 | Permalink

A scene from film "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Magnet Releasing, Magnolia Pictures' genre film label, has bought the North American rights to Korean director Kim Jee-woon's thriller "I Saw the Devil", the film's distributor Showbox announced on Friday...More

I Saw the Devil released in theaters

Source | 2010/08/27 | Permalink

After weeks of wrangling with the Korea Media Rating Board (KMDB), Kim Jee-woon thriller, "I Saw the Devil" was able to secure a theatrical release on August 12, after making seven cuts totaling 80 seconds of footage. The "Restricted" rating which would have effectively banned the film from theatrical release and prohibited any promotion or advertising, was reduced to an 18+ rating, allowing audiences over 18 to see the film.

The KMDB objected to scenes showing a human body being mutilated and human body parts being eaten by humans and a dog. Following a press screening August...More

"I Saw the Devil" to compete at San Sebastian film fest

Source | 2010/08/24 | Permalink

Movie poster of thriller "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Korean thriller "I Saw the Devil" has been invited to compete under the Official Selection category at the 58th Edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival next month, according to official website of the fest on Tuesday.

"I Saw the Devil", helmed by famed Korean director Kim Jee-woon, will be competing against 16 other movies by internationally recognized directors for the Golden Shell and Silver Shell awards at the fest to be held at San Sebastian, Spain from September 17 to 25...More

I Saw the Devil release delayed

Source | 2010/08/06 | Permalink

Kim Jee-woon's latest noir-thriller "I Saw the Devil" has seen just that in the form of the Korea Media Rating Board, having received a "restricted" rating, effectively banning the film, following a wrangle over problematic scenes.

The film's production company Peppermint and Co. resubmitted the film recently after a month of re-editing in the hopes of receiving an 18+ rating. The Rating Board's decision to re-apply the "restricted" rating resulted in the cancellation of the film's press screening last Thursday. The thriller was originally slated for a wide release August 11.

KIM Hyun-woo, the film's producer, defended the artistic integrity of the movie, saying it portrayed revenge from the eyes of the victim and was delib...More

I Saw the Devil release on August 11

Source | 2010/07/23 | Permalink

Director Kim Jee-woon's highly anticipated new thriller "I Saw the Devil" has its summer release date set for August 11, as announced by the film's distributor Showbox. KIM's return to the noir-thriller style of his 2005 hit "A Bittersweet Life" stars top actor Lee Byung-hun and leading thespian Choi Min-sik (Old Boy).

Both actors have worked with KIM in previous films, LEE playing the villain in "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" (2008) and the embattled hero of ...More

Lee Byung-hun pic "I Saw The Devil" to open August 11

Source | 2010/07/21 | Permalink

Official movie poster for "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Official posters for film "I Saw the Devil" have been unveiled as the pic gears up for its summer box office debut next month.

Film's distributor Showbox announced in a press release on Wednesday that the Lee Byung-hun starrer will hit local theaters on August 11 and released two official movie posters featuring Lee and Choi Min-sik...More

Lee Byung-hun to advertise hair products in Japan

Source | 2010/07/16 | Permalink

Top Korean actor Lee Byung-hun in a scene from the film "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Hallyu star Lee Byung-hun will be taking on a new role in Japan as a spokesmodel for a global hair care brand, according to his agency BH Entertainment.

BH announced in a press release on Thursday that the actor has signed with Dove Hair Care, a beauty brand owned by Unilever Japan, to advertise their hair products...More

Korean box office sets all-time high during first half of 2010

Source | 2010/07/07 | Permalink

Movie posters for Korean films "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard" (left) and "Secret Reunion", both starring actor Gang Dong-won [CJ Entertainment/Showbox]

The Korean box office set a new record during the first half of 2010 with ticket sales hitting an all-time high, according to data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

KOFIC's official report on the local film industry, released Tuesday, stated that Korean moviegoers paid out approximately 547 billion won for theater tickets during the first six months of the year, up 14.6 percent from the same period last year...More

Lee Byung-hun to appear on ABC "Good Morning America"

Source | 2010/06/23 | Permalink

Korean actor Lee Byung-hun in a scene from the film "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Top Korean actor Lee Byung-hun will appear on ABC's "Good Morning America", one of the most popular programs broadcast on the American public network, according to the actor's agency BH Entertainment on Wednesday.

BH announced in a press release that Lee will represent Korea as a cultural figure on the morning show featuring a special segment commemorating the 60-year anniversary of the Korean War titled "Long War", set to air at the end of this month...More

Korea Times readers invited to free movie screening

Source | 2010/06/16 | Permalink

In tune with the 2010 World Cup fever comes "Barefoot Dream", a sports drama inspired by the true story about a former South Korean football star coaching East Timorese children. It was recently shown at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.

The Korea Times' foreign readers are invited to attend a movie preview at 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 22 at the Apgujeong CGV Theater in southern Seoul, ahead of the film's nationwide release on June 24. It is for the purpose of introducting the film to the local foreign community.


"71-Into The Fire" to open June 16

Source | 2010/06/08 | Permalink

John H. Lee's big-budget war drama "71-Into the Fire" is to have its local release nationwide on June 16, according to Taewon Entertainment, the film's producer. High anticipation for the film resulted in moving its scheduled June 25 opening ahead to the 16th. The film has drawn much hype both at home and abroad for its production values, powerful historical narrative, and A-list casting.

The film is inspired by the true-life story of 71 student soldiers who fought a fierce and impossible battle to protect a support line along the Nakdong River during the Korean War. It stars top actors ...More

Korean film "I Saw The Devil" pre-sold to four countries

Source | 2010/06/01 | Permalink

Korean actor Lee Byung-hun in a scene from the film "I Saw the Devil" [Showbox]

Korean thriller film "I Saw the Devil", which was pre-sold to France during Cannes film market last month, has been picked up by three more countries -- namely England, Taiwan and Turkey.

According to a press release by Finecut, which handles overseas sales for the pic, U.K.-based film distribution company Optimum Releasing bought the overseas rights for the Korean thriller which is still in production with noted filmmaker Kim Jee-woon directing top actors Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik...More

Hyun Bin film sells to the UK at France

Source | 2010/05/19 | Permalink

Korean actors Hyun Bin (left) and Joo Jin-mo

Korean film "The Battle of Yellow Sea", starring heartthrob Hyun Bin, has been sold to the United Kingdom on the eve of the ongoing Cannes Film Market in France.

"The Battle of Yellow Sea", directed by famed film director Kwak Gyeong-taek, was sold to Showbox for the U.K. at the market held concurrently with the Cannes Film Festival, reported film magazine Screen International on Tuesday...More

Korean thriller "I Saw the Devil" pre-sold to France's ARP

Source | 2010/05/14 | Permalink

Still cut of "I Saw the Devil" [ShowBox]

Upcoming Korean thriller "I Saw the Devil" has been pre-sold to France's largest distribution company ARP, according to the film's promoter on Friday.

The overseas sales representative for Finecut explained through a press release that the publication rights for "I Saw the Devil" was sold over to ARP France on May 13, the first day of the Film Market at the Cannes Film Festival...More

Korean films dominate local box office during Q1

Source | 2010/04/07 | Permalink

Posters for film "Secret Reunion" (left) and "Harmony" [Showbox/CJ Entertainment]

Korean films kept a strong presence on the domestic box office during the first quarter of this year despite the explosive success of "Avatar", according to data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

The KOFIC's quarterly report on the local film industry, released Tuesday, reported that Korean movies accounted for 44.3 percent of market share on the local box office from January to March 2010.

Several domestic films -- including "Secret Reunion", "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard" and "Harmony" -- each drew over three million moviegoers, faring considerably well against Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar", which dominated Korean theaters for multiple weeks since its release in mid-December...More

Finecut announces sales deals from Hong Kong

Source | 2010/04/02 | Permalink

Korean sales company Finecut announced a number of deals during Hong Kong's Filmart (March 22 – 25) including pre-sales of upcoming big budget Korean War drama, 71 – Into the Fire to UK distributor Showbox Media.

"71-Into the Fire" is directed by John H. LEE (John H. Lee) and stars kwon Sang-woo. Focusing on a 12 hour battle fought by a group of 71 soldiers, the film is slated for a June release in Korea marking the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Finecut also sealed deals for ...More

Jang Keun-suk starrer "The Case of Itaewon Homicide" DVD rights sold to Japan

Source | 2010/03/17 | Permalink

Movie poster for "The Case of Itaewon Homicide" [Showbox]

The DVD publications rights for Hallyu star Jang Keun-suk's film "The Case of Itaewon Homicide" have been sold to Japan, according to his agency Tree J. Company on Wednesday.

Tree J. explained in a press release that DVD rights for "The Case of Itaewon Homicide" has been sold to Japanese importer C.C.C., who also purchased the local broadcasting rights for Jang's recent TV series "You're Beautiful"...More

[INTERVIEW] Actor Song Kang-ho - Part 1

Source | 2010/03/04 | Permalink

Korean actor Song Kang-ho [photographed by Beck: Una/10Asia]

Song Kang-ho interviewed and photographed by Beck: Una

Song Kang-ho is not a funny person. He is an entertaining actor. Song Kang-ho is not a friendly person. He is a familiar actor. Song Kang-ho is not a diligent person. He is an actor who always works. Song Kang-ho is not a successful/proud person. But he is an extraordinary actor. As the third object of "Interview 100", actor Song Kang-ho stood waiting with a cigarette in his mouth and looking more relaxed and comfortable than ever. And rather than giving a fussy greeting or a friendly hug, he simply waved a moderately warm hello with his hand.

Beck Una (Beck): When I saw you at the Pusan International Film Festival last year, you said not to expect much from "Secret Reunion" and joked that it was just a movie where you rode on actor Gang Dong-won's popularity from film "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard". But "Secret Reunion" turned out to be much more commercial.
Song Kang-ho (Song): I needed it to vent my spite from "Thirst". It was for the film! Hahahahaha!

Beck: You are usually very critical of your own films compared to other actors. What is your take on your film "Secret Reunion"?...More

[INTERVIEW] Actor Song Kang-ho - Part 2

Source | 2010/03/04 | Permalink

Actor Song Kang-ho [photographed by Beck Una/10Asia]

Beck: What did you find likeable and entertaining about the script for "Secret Reunion"?
Song: Ten years ago, I did the films "Shiri" and "JSA - Joint Security Area" which are both about South Korea, North Korea and men. So, "Secret Reunion" was similar to them in a way, a similar story, but the overall outline of the movie is completely different from the previous films. The film doesn't treat the South-North division as its theme but rather takes an incredibly soft, light and sophisticated approach to it. I thought that was closer to how the audience currently feels about the division and there was something lovely about a North Korean spy and a former South Korean intelligence service agent living together. I don't think I would have done the movie if it dealt seriously about the division at times like now.

Beck:But didn't you choose to do the film because of the character or the role you would get to take on?...More

"Secret Reunion" maintains hold on Korean box office

Source | 2010/03/02 | Permalink

Official movie poster of Korean movie "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Korean movie "Secret Reunion" continued to take control of the Korean box office during the final week of February, according to estimates on Tuesday.

The Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS) revealed the action picture sold over 458,038 tickets during the weekend of February 26 to 28 to attract a over a total 4.2 million admissions since its release earlier in the month.

"Secret Reunion" circles around the chance reencounter of former South Korean intelligence official and North Korean spy played by Korean actors Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won....More

"Secret Reunion" celebrates third win on Korean box office

Source | 2010/02/22 | Permalink

No. 1 movie in Korea "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Korean movie "Secret Reunion" continued its reign on the Korean box office to remain the most popular film in South Korea for the third consecutive week, according to estimates on Monday.

The Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS) revealed that the action pic sold 594,911 tickets during the weekend of February 19 to 21, admitting over three million viewers since its release in early February.

"Secret Reunion" stars Korean actors Song Kang-ho who plays a former South Korean intelligence official and GKang Dong-won as the North Korean spy who reunite after six years since their first encounter....More

"Secret Reunion" takes another win on Korean box office

Source | 2010/02/16 | Permalink

Movie poster for "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Korean movie "Secret Reunion" remained the most popular film in South Korea for the second week in a row, according to estimates on Monday.

Data released by the Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS) indicated that the action flick hung onto spot atop the local box office, selling 726,116 tickets between February 12 and 14 and over a total two million since its release in early February.

"Secret Reunion" is about the rendezvous of a former South Korean intelligence official, played by Sang Kang-ho, and North Korean spy, played by Gang Dong-won, meeting six years after their initial encounter....More

"Secret Reunion" takes first win on Korean box office

Source | 2010/02/08 | Permalink

Movie poster of "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Korean film "Secret Reunion" and "Harmony" took over the Korean box office over the weekend to end the reign of Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar", estimates showed on Monday.

According to figures by the Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS), newly released action film "Secret Reunion" knocked out seven week winner "Avatar" out of the top spot by selling 741,552 tickets between February 5 and 7.

"Secret Reunion", about a former South Korean intelligence official and North Korean spy who re-encounter each other six years after their initial meeting, stars actors Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won who play the role of the failed agents....More

[Movie] Post-Avatar Korean Cinema: 3 Major Films of 3 Different Colors

Source | 2010/02/02 | Permalink

Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day) and Chuseok (Mid Autumn Festival) are the busiest season for movie theaters. As the Lunar New Year approaches, a host of Korean films are getting ready to hit the screens once the Avatar blast is over.

Many of them are so called "well-made movies" that are both entertaining and touching since the Lunar New Year's Day is a holiday for family reunion. Genres and stories range widely, offering a broad array of choices for movie goers.

A heart-warming drama about a choir of a female prison starring Kim Yunjin

#The Tear-Jerker "Harmony"

Harmony (directed by Kang Dae-gyu and produced by JK Film) tells the story of a choir made up by female prisoners. The globally-recognized actress Kim Yunjin and Korea's representative veteran actress Na Moon-hee play the lead roles, raising expectations for movie aficionados.

Kim Yunjin plays Jeonghye, a young woman of great maternal love who gives birth to a baby in prison and organizes a choir to...More

[PREVIEW] Movie Secret Reunion

Source | 2010/02/01 | Permalink

Actors Gang Dong-won (left) and Song Kang-ho in "Secret Reunion" [Showbox]

Movie "Secret Reunion" - The terms of brotherhood

On a peaceful afternoon, several rounds of gunshots are fired in an apartment complex. As the terrified residents run out of the apartment building, two men face their twisted fate during the chaos. That day, NIS (National Intelligence Service) agent Hangyu (played by Song Kang-ho) gets kicked out of his organization for failing to accomplish his mission while North Korean spy Ji-won (played by Gang Dong-won) also gets abandoned by his home country for being a traitor. Six year pass and the two men meet again, each convinced that the other does not recognize him. The two are closer to being enemies than sworn brothers as they both dream of turning around their life again at the expense of the other. But as they start living together and look into the other person's loneliness, the mood between the two men start to change, little by little. What is worth watching in "Secret Reunion" is how the relationship between these two men change over time....More

'Secret Reunion" Offers Bittersweet 'Bromance'

Source | 2010/01/21 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

A story about North and South Korean spies called "Secret Reunion" may initially seem like mawkish cliche capitalizing on the tragic divide of the peninsula.

But pleasantly surprising, bona fide entertainment is on offer ― an incisive observation of modern Korea that is tastefully packaged as a humorous and gripping story of a budding "bromance" between foes.

North Korean secret agent Ji-won (Gang Dong-won) crosses the 38th Parallel on a big mission to assassinate a comrade who has betrayed the regime. When the National Intelligence Service (NIS) led by Han-gyu (Song Kang-ho) intervenes, a shooting rampage ensues in the heart of Seoul.

Both parties suffer losses but the adept Northerner completes his assignment and escapes, while Han-gyu, having failed miserably, is fired. Ji-won, however, is suspected as...More

Na Hong-jin pic "The Yellow Sea" signs investment deal with Fox

Source | 2010/01/19 | Permalink

"The Yellow Sea" director Na Hong-jin

Korean film "The Yellow Sea" has signed on major Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox as one of its co-investors, according to the film's distributor Showbox Mediaplex Co. on Tuesday.

Showbox announced in a press release that the Na Hong-jin helmed pic -- which already has Korean entertainment agency Wellmade Star M as its main investor -- will receive additional funding from Fox, making "The Yellow Sea" the first Korean movie to receive direct investment from the Hollywood studio.

The new business partnership, Showbox explained, will further expand into diverse business opportunities. Fox -- which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation -- will reportedly take part in producing sequels and remakes of the film. In case of a Hollywood remake, Na will be contractually guaranteed to direct the film with original Korean producer Popcorn Films on board as well....More

Actress Lee Shows Off 'Handsome' Look

Source | 2010/01/05 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Actress Lee Na-young, a symbol of cheery Audrey Hepburn-esque grace and femininity, was thrilled to have her looks compared to male stars such as Jung Woo-sung.

In the upcoming family comedy "Lady Daddy", the screen beauty dons a "handsome look", complete with a necktie and mustache. She plays the role of Ji-hyeon, a charming photographer whose perfect life is disrupted with the sudden arrival of a young boy who claims she fathered him, before her sex-change operation. Ji-hyeon is forced to spend a week with the boy, and tries to fulfill a "more conventional" role as a dad while her boyfriend, played by <...More

'Actresses' Is Sassy Mix of Fact, Fiction

Source | 2009/12/03 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

"There are three types of people: men, women and actresses", and "Actresses" brings together not one but six heroines.

The third of Lee Jae-yong's creations to be invited to the Berlin International Film Festival, "Actresses" tactfully endorses the movie's opening remark as it peeks into the glamorous ― and not-so-glamorous ― lives of screen beauties.

The unscripted, semi-improvisational film combines reality and fantasy, and the result is something sassy, perky and tastefully droll, though some of the in-jokes may get lost in translation for non-Korean viewers.

"But you've got to understand! They're actresses, they cannot wait!" a staff member panics, as the jewelry that the actresses are supposed to wear in a Vogue magazine spread gets stuck in a snow stor...More

Lee Jae-Yong's "Actresses" to Compete in Berlin

Source | 2009/11/30 | Permalink

Director Lee Jae-yong's latest tantalizing feature, a semi-fictional drama starring 6 of Korea's best-known actresses, is to compete in the Panorama section of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 11-21), according to a press release by the film's distributor Showbox Mediaplex.

Aptly titled "Actresses", the film stars Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Go Hyun-jung, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Ok-vin, and ...More

Actresses to Present Off-Screen Personas Onscreen

Source | 2009/11/17 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

It was no red carpet event but cameras flashed without cease as some of the country's highest-profile actresses appeared at a theater in southern Seoul, Tuesday morning.

It was a promotional event for E J-yong (Lee Jae-yong)'s new movie, appropriately titled "Actresses", which brings together six screen beauties, each representing different generations: charismatic veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung, 62; Lee Mi-sook, still sultry at 49 and indeed looking sexy in a sequin mini dress; headline-making divorcee Go Hyun-jung, 38; hallyu star Choi Ji-woo, 34, who appeared before the press after a one-year hiatus in a chic white pant suit ensemble; fashionable starlet Kim Min-hee, 27, who strut out wearing all black and glamorous jewels; and rising "Thirst" (...More

KIM Tae-gyoon's Vampire Thriller Higanjima

Source | 2009/11/03 | Permalink

Showbox Mediaplex, a South Korean sales, finance and distribution major, will handle international sales on Korea-Japan co-production "Barefoot Dream" ("Higanjima"), which had its world premiere in Pusan this October. The Japanese-language film is directed by Kim Tae-gyoon, known best for his tragic North Korean refugee drama "Crossing", which was Korea's choice for consideration in the 2008 Oscars Best Foreign Film category.

"Barefoot Dream" is a live-action adaptation of a manga by Koji Matsumoto, which was originally seria...More

"Take Off" Takes Up Second Place at Box Office

Source | 2009/08/06 | Permalink

While "Haeundae" continues to storm across the country Ski Jumping epic "Take Off" jumps into second place. Only eclipsed by Haeundae which has already has 4.7 million viewings "Take Off" is nearly itself at the one million mark in less than a week. Kim Yong-hwa the director had previously hit box office gold with comedy "200 Pounds Beauty" in 2006. "Take Off" also has significant star pull with actor Ha Jung-woo who playing the lead character. HA has been busy of late staring in ...More

Let Horror Take Control of Summer Heat

Source | 2009/08/04 | Permalink

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

Local broadcasters and the movie industry are preparing to help viewers kill the summer heat with horror programs and movies this month. Here is some of what's being offered.

Small Screen

MBC, which has had a successful history of horror dramas, including "M - Drama", starring popular actress Shim Eun-ha in 1994, hopes to reprise that success with the drama 'HON - Soul'.

"'HON - Soul' is not based on `Korean Ghost Stories' nor is it a part of the movie series `Whispering Corridors'. We used the film `Let the Right One In', which is about a relationship between a vampire girl and young boy, as a model, and started working from there", Kim Sang-ho-I, the director, said at a press conference held at MBC, Ilsan, Monday.

'HON - Soul' revolves around a high school student, Ha-na (newcomer Lim Ju-eun), who can see dead people, and a profiler named Shin Ryu, played by Lee Seo-jin ("Yi San", 2008). When Shin meets Ha-na and discovers her ability, he uses her to pay back his enemy, only to find himself becoming the devil.

"If the story is too distant, viewers will feel lost, but if it's too much of a cliche, viewers will easily get bored. We wanted to show viewers that in the end, it's people who are scary, not the special effects, the makeup or sounds. In our drama, the ghosts mostly appear during the daytime", he said. Nevertheless, the drama is for viewers 19 years or older.

Lee, who will be appearing in his first drama in a year, plays the charismatic profiler with a dark past and evil plans.

"I've always wanted to portray a character who has both good and evil sides, which made it natural for me to participate in this series. For me, it's more of a thriller with ghosts, and I believe it will be a perfect getaway from the heat", he said.


Breathless Sold to Canada

Source | 2009/07/27 | Permalink

Yang Ik-june's award-winning first feature, "Breathless", has been acquired by Ciné-Asie Creatives, a Montreal-based distribution and coproduction company, for release in Canadian theaters in 2010. The deal, concluded last week with Korean sales agent Showbox/Mediaplex, marks the second Korean distribution title acquired by Ciné-Asie, following Lee Yoon-ki's "My Dear Enemy".

"Breathless" tells the story of Sang-hoon, a low-life debt collector, played...More

Exhilarating 'Take Off' in Korean Sports Drama

Source | 2009/07/23 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Imagine, being perched above a vertigo-inducing height, swishing down a roller coaster-like slope and then freewheeling through the air ― with only a pair of skis to safeguard the landing.

Ski jumping is a minority within the sports scene here, but onscreen the icy game provides for the hottest summer movie experience. Packed with adrenaline rush, tastefully crafted drama and a rocking soundtrack, "Take Off" ("Ski Jump") lifts viewers onto a pulsating flight in this story about ski jumpers that dared to dream ― and fly.

Director Kim Yong-hwa didn't need to adopt the standard formula for sports films. Sure, the movie features conventional elements ― setting hurdles to overcome, overturning team dynamics and lots of sweating ― but truth is sometimes more interesting than fiction, and the filmmaker simply had to tell the amazing story, which he does with finesse.

Inspired by true events, the movie takes viewers to 1997 Muju, North Jeolla Province, which is bidding to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. A national ski jumping team needs to be whipped together ...More

Lee Jae-yong Cranks in on "Actresses"

Source | 2009/07/06 | Permalink

Director Lee Jae-yong, best known for his elegant and erotic period drama "Untold Scandal" (2003), is in production on his latest film, a semi-improvisational ensemble piece with the working-title "Actresses".

The low-budget feature boasts six of Korea's top female stars, all of whom have agreed to work on a deferred payment basis. The film centers on a day-long fashion shoot in which all of the actresse...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 rev...More

Korea Thrust Back into the Limelight at Cannes

Source | 2009/05/20 | Permalink

Korea's two most anticipated directors, who have already had success in Cannes, have thrust Korea back into the international spot light. Park Chan-wook's "Thirst" and Bong Joon-ho's "Mother - 2009" have sealed a number of international deals. For a film industry already lagging before the global recession, both directors have not disapointed . CJ, who will probably name 2009 as their year have sold "Thirst" to 'Lola Film' in Spain, 'Paris Filmes' in Brazil, 'Edko' in Hong Kong, 'Avsar Film' in Turkey and 'Discovery' who distribute in the ex-Yogoslavia territories. BONG's "Mother - 2009", after its critical acclaim premiering at the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes was sold to 'Eco Film' ...More

'More Than Blue' Is Poetic, Luminous

Source | 2009/03/05 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Romanic poet Won Tae-yeon makes his directorial debut with a classic romance, "More Than Blue". Though featuring typical elements of the South Korean melodrama, "Blue" does not attempt to squeeze out tears from viewers. Rather, the director crafts a film that is poetically sparse, and also witty and hilarious as much as it is heartbreaking.

Hallyu star kwon Sang-woo, the heartbreaker from the tearjerker TV soap "Stairway to Heaven", plays the tragic male protagonist "K", yet another faithful one-woman man involved in a pitiful love triangle. To top it all off, he has cancer. With the little time he has left to live, he plays Cupid to marry off the woman he loves, "Cream" (Lee Bo-young), to an eligible bachelor, Ju-hwan (Lee Beom-soo), so he can rest in peace.


"A Frozen Flower" Sold to 7 Countries

Source | 2009/02/13 | Permalink

Korean historical film "A Frozen Flower" was sold to seven countries at the European Film Market held during the reputed Berlin International Film Festival. The film's Korean distributor, Showbox, announced that the film was sold to Spain, Czechoslovakia, Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Brazil. At the American Film Market held prior to the one in Berlin, it was sold to three other countries - Japan, Germany and the Benelux Economic Union, consisting of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg. Showbox said that foreign buyers were captivated by beauti...More

"Breathless" Wins Top Prize in Rotterdam

Source | 2009/02/05 | Permalink

Th 38th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) awarded actor-director Yang Ik-june's feature "Breathless" the top Tiger award, sharing the honors with Iran's Be Calm and Count to Seven and Turkey's Wrong Rosary. The fest handed out 3 VPRO Tiger awards to the winning trio, worth EUR 15,000 each.

"Breathless" had its International Premiere at IFFR after making its world premiere last October at Pusan. YANG both wrote the screenplay and took the lead role in this film about a tough, course-mouthed gangster's relationship with a precocious high school girl. The HD feature received funding support from KOFIC and Pusan's Asian Cinema Fund.

YANG's directing debut was praised by the IFFR jury as "a powerfully rendered and acted film with a keen sense...More

'Red Cliff' dominates holiday box office

Source | 2009/01/29 | Permalink

"Red Cliff: Part 2", the long-awaited conclusion of the Chinese historical blockbuster, dominated the Lunar New Year's holiday, outsmarting other Korean and American competitors by a wide margin.

"Red Cliff", directed by John Woo, sold more than 1 million tickets within five days since of its Jan. 22 release in Korea, its distributor Showbox said yesterday.

The historical movie features a number of special effects depicting the famous battle near the end of the China's Han Dynasty, a tale widely known among Koreans.

If the current trend continues, "Red Cliff" is expected to easily surpass the box-office performance of the first installment, which sold 1.57 million tickets last year.

As "Red Cliff" swept the theaters with a 30 percent share in the total ticket sales from Jan. 22-26, "Valkyrie" trailed with a 22 percent share, and Korean gangster comedy "...More

'Scam' Is Smart Investment

Source | 2009/01/29 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The box office can be as difficult to predict as the stock market, and South Korean cinema in particularly is suffering amid the global financial crisis. "The Scam", the country's first stock market movie, will undoubtedly prove to be a smart investment. Unlike its scamming characters, newcomer director Lee Ho-jae-I invests the right way, with a solid, "inflation-free" script and the magic chemistry of a talented cast.

The crime drama draws in viewers without becoming too technical, as it is more about the human desire for wealth than financial matters. Losing tens of millions of won in the stock market can be only a click away on the Internet. "Click", and hopeless debtors head to the Han River.

Hallyu star Park Yong-ha (SBS's "On Air") sheds his sleek image to play Hyeon-su, a victim of such a fatal click. After losing everything, he spends five years glued to the computer screen as an unshaven, full-time ...More

Korea's First Stock Market Film, "The Scam"

Source | 2009/01/23 | Permalink

With an economic crisis wreaking havoc across global markets, South Korea's first stock market movie, "The Scam", hopes to stir up the box office. Scheduled to be released February 12, the Showbox/Mediaplex distributed crime thriller is the feature debut of director Lee Ho-jae-I.

The film stars hallyu TV drama star Park Yong-ha as a jobless, self-taught trader who hits it rich. His skills get him implicated in a big stock market scam run by a gangster (played by ...More

Kwon Sang-woo Resumes Romantic Role

Source | 2009/01/13 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Newly wed actor kwon Sang-woo was caught walking down the aisle once again ― this time with actress Lee Bo-young in the upcoming movie "More Than Blue" (working title "A Sad Story").

As its title suggests, the film is about heartbreaking, unrequited love. The wedding shoot, revealed to the press Monday in a Seoul cathedral, featured Kwon's character walking down the aisle with the woman he loves (Lee Bo-young) ― but only to marry her off to another man (Lee Beom-soo).

Kwon returns to the romance genre after foraying comic or tough guy parts, such as in ...More

A Frozen Flower Breaks Opening Records

Source | 2009/01/09 | Permalink

Director Yoo Ha's sexually charged courtly drama, "A Frozen Flower", took in over 1 million admissions in its first four days, setting an all time record for an adult-rated film. Released on the eve of New Year's Eve, Dec 30, the film's total box office take from Tuesday to Sunday was an impressive US $ 6.9 million.

The tale of a love triangle between a homosexual king, his bodyguard, and the king's wife, is set in Korea's invasion-beset Goryeo Dynasty. It stars actor Jo In-sung (previously ...More

Park Yong-ha Returns as Scam Artist

Source | 2009/01/07 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The economic crisis is chilling the winter weather, but South Korea's first stock market movie "The Scam" is expected to turn the temperature up a notch.

A hotel ballroom was crowded with over 300 reporters in Seoul Tuesday for the appearance of top Korean talent, including hallyu star Park Yong-ha. He plays the role of a jobless, self-taught trader who hits the jackpot. But little did he know he disrupted a big stock market scam led by a gangster trying to reinvent himself as a financial mogul (Park Hee-soon).

"I mostly played suave roles in melodramas, so I was drawn to my disheveled, desperate character. Also, the script was so gripping, despite my ze...More

First Korean film to tackle the stock market

Source | 2009/01/06 | Permalink

After the success of recent Korean films like "Tazza: The High Rollers" ("Tazza: The High Rollers"), which centered around intricately executed money scams, there was little doubt that one about working the stock market would soon follow.

"The Scam", the debut film from director Lee Ho-jae-I about an unemployed slacker trying to plunder 600 billion won from the stock market, was announced for a nationwide Feb. 12 release at a press conference yesterday at the Sofitel Ambassador in Seoul. The Showbox release features Hallyu star Park Yong-ha, plus Kim Min-jung, Park Hee-soon and former musical actor Kim Moo-yul.

Kim Min-jung, better known for playing archetypal feminine heroines, here plays an ice-cold business woman. Kim Moo-yul, known for playing criminals on television and the silver screen, revisits this role, this time playing a reformed gangster trying to run ...More

[BRIEFLY] More than 1 million see 'A Fropen Flower'

Source | 2009/01/05 | Permalink

More than 1 million people have seen "A Fropen Flower" as of Jan. 2, the film's fourth day of screening, the movie's distribution company Showbox said Saturday.

The attendance is a new record. "Tazza: The High Rollers" ("Tazza: The High Rollers" - 2006) and "The Chaser" (2008) drew the same numb...More

KOFIC, Korea-China Interchange to Revitalize Two Industries

Source | 2008/11/12 | Permalink

KOFIC (chairperson KANG Han-sup) is commencing two events in order to revitalize the film interchange between Korea and China.

First of the two events is '2008 Korea-China Business Campus' which will take place from Thursday, November 13 to Monday, November 17, over the course of 5 days. The event will mainly focus on the process of sharing films as well as co-production opportunities. This event first took place in 2006 in China, and then moved to Pusan International Film Festival in 2007 as a forum format, thus making this year's event second edition to be held in Korea. First annual event focused on the effect of Korean manpower and resources in Chinese film industry, while the current Business Campus will concentrate on not only the further advancements of above but how Korea and China can collaborate on projects that promote exchange of resources between the two countries. The event will hold pitching/mentoring sessions, seminars, business meetings for producers, production/post-production/special effects staff members as well as personnel from other technical fields looking for more participation from both countries. Genesis CEO JEONG Julian Tae-sung (former COO of Showbox/Mediaplex, Inc.) and Chungeorahm F...More

Overseas sales for KIM Ki-duk's Dream

Source | 2008/11/04 | Permalink

"Dream", the 15th film by well-known Korean director Kim Ki-duk, has recently concluded a sales deal to Taiwan, according to international sales company Showbox.

The film has been previously sold to France, Brazil, Poland, and Turkey.

It was also announced that "Dream" has been selected as the closing film at the Mar del Plata film festival in ...More

A Not So 'Sassy' Remake

Source | 2008/10/30 | Permalink

By Joon Soh
Contributing Writer

Anyone remotely familiar with contemporary Korean cinema will know of "My Sassy Girl", a 2001 romantic comedy about the unusual relationship between a young Seoul couple. The film, whose Korean title translates as "That Bizarre Girl", was a huge hit across Asia, fueling the "Korean wave" phenomenon and propelling its two young leads into stardom.

Given the incredible success of the original, it wasn't surprising that a U.S. company purchased the remake rights soon after its release. The project, however, took longer than anticipated to complete and now, seven years later and with the original film but a distant memory, the English-language version has finally hit South Korean theaters. (In the U.S., it was a straight-to-DVD release.)

The new Sas...More

'Go Go 70s': Cha Steals the Limelight

Source | 2008/09/25 | Permalink

By Kwaak Jeyup
Korea Times Intern

Inspired by a true story, "Go Go 70s" relies on an embellished narrative and brushes past its characters; perhaps a little too much. The actors are left on their own to develop their otherwise spotty personalities, as if the director sowed them like seeds to see who would grow the tallest. The result is mixed at best, but an unexpected gem is found in Cha Seung-woo.

Cha, a rocker, guitarist and first-time actor, shines in virtually every scene, even in split-second shots. While the camera follows experienced actors Cho Seung-woo and Shin Min-a much more, they fail to give their roles any substantial character. Their awkward discomfort is in stark contrast to Cha's effortless brilliance.


U.S. remake of 'My Sassy Girl' to open

Source | 2008/09/24 | Permalink

The Hollywood remake of the 2001 Korean box-office hit "My Sassy Girl" will open nationwide in Korea on Oct. 30, according to the film's domestic distributor, Showbox.

Starring Jesse Bradford ("John Tucker Must Die") and Elisha Cuthbert ("The Gi...More

"Rough Cut" Ready for September Release

Source | 2008/08/13 | Permalink

Director JANG Hun, a new protégé of maverick auteur Kim Ki-duk, will see his feature debut "Rough Cut" released locally this September 11th. The US$ 1.5 million action-drama (Korean title: "A Movie is a Movie"), is the second film, not directed by KIM, to be produced by his production company Kim Ki-duk Film.

"Rough Cut" explores the slippery line between reality and fiction in film. It tells the story of an actor, Soo-ta, who begins to identify too well with the gangster role he is playi...More

Watch Sun-heui Become 'Sunny'

Source | 2008/07/17 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

"Sunny", a love story set amid the Vietnam War, epitomizes South Korean director Lee Joon-ik's cinematic endeavors by bringing together the period detail of "The King and the Clown" (2005) and musical inspirations of "The Happy Life" (2007).

This is the country's first movie directly depicting the sweat of some 320,000 Korean soldiers that fought with American forces. At the time, veteran singers like Patty Kim and Hyun Mi, who were pin-up girls back then, traveled to the war-torn land to cheer up soldiers. According to the director, a black and white photograph of a beautiful "consolatory band" singer gave birth to the film.

Lee brings a tale that seeps into the heart with the wistful tunes of Kim Chu-ja's "My Love Is Faraway", the Korean title of the mov...More

KOFIC to promote Korean films at Cannes

Source | 2008/05/15 | Permalink

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) will be engaged in diverse efforts to promote Korean cinema at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

With five titles screening in various sections of the festival including Kim Jee-woon's "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" (Official Selection, Out of Competition), Na Hong-jin's "The Chaser" (Midnight Screenings), omnibus film "TOKYO!" (Un Certain Regard) which contains a contribution by Bong Joon-ho, Park Jae-ok's animated short "STOP - 2008" (Cinefondation), and Kim Ki-young's 1960 masterpie...More

Five Korean films join Cannes fest

Source | 2008/05/15 | Permalink

The 61st Cannes Film Festival has kicked off with fanfare, spicing up the festive mood for moviegoers all around the world. The ebullient mood remains largely the same here in Korea, but one thing is palpably different: There's no chance for a Korean movie or actor grabbing an award in the competition section this year.

Last year was special for the Korean film industry. Jeon Do-yeon won the prestigious best actress award for her impassioned role in the heart-wrenching flick "Secret Sunshine". This year, however, such dramatic development is unlikely to occur because no Korean film has been invited to the competition section.

But it is too early to shift attention from Korean filmmakers toward Hollywood stars. After all, five Korean movies are to be screened in various sections at Cannes, and all of them have a potential to charm foreign filmmakers, critics and media in various ways.

At the forefront stands director Kim Jee-woon's big-budget flick "The Good, the Bad, the Weird", which is one of the official selections in the Out of Competition section. The movie, set in Manchuria in the 1...More

Hollywood Buys "Chaser" Remake Rights

Source | 2008/03/13 | Permalink

South Korea's surprise hit, "The Chaser", a tensely-paced crime-thriller directed by Na Hong-jin, has had its remake rights picked up by Warner Bros. for an impressive US$1 million. Since its local release Feb.14, the film has climbed to the top of the local box office, grossing about US$25 million thus far.

Asian remake king Roy Lee snapped up rights from international sales house Fine Cut and has set up the project with Warner Bros. Lee is known as a force behind many successful remakes of Asian films including Infernal Affairs (as The Departed), The Grudge (from Japan), The Lake House (Korea's "...More

Hong Sang-soo's Film Vies for Berlin Award

Source | 2008/02/11 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

While Korea celebrated Seollal on Feb. 7, on the far side of the globe, Germany greeted cineaste and cinephiles from all over the world for the 58th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), which runs through Sunday. This year, Hong Sang-soo's "Night and Day" competes for the Golden Bear award while three other Korean films make their mark at one of the most exciting and large-scale film events.

"Night and Day" is Hong's eighth feature film and it is the first time the acclaimed director competes at the Berlinale. Known as an innovative minimalist, Hong had competed in Cannes with "Woman is the Future of Man" (2004) and "Tale of Cinema" (2005). Before flying to Berlin, he stopped by Geneva earlier this month because "Woman on the Beach" (2006) was invited to the Black Movie Festival.

A recipient of the 2005 Korean Film Council Production Support for Art Film...More

"M" and "Happiness" Picked Up by Japan

Source | 2008/02/05 | Permalink

Major local film player Showbox has sold rights to Lee Myung-se's "M" and Heo Jin-ho's "Happiness" to music and film giant Avex Entertainment in Japan. Avex, known as one of the largest independent record-labels in the world, made a move into the film industry last year, picking up its first Korean title "Highway Star" (2007).

Both LEE's "M" and HEO's Happiness premiered last September at the Toronto International Film Festival. They feature prominent Korean Wave stars with Gang Dong-won as the bemused lead in director LEE's stylish mystery and actress Lim Soo-jung along with ...More

KIM Ki-duk's "Dream" to go to European Film Market

Source | 2008/01/30 | Permalink

Korea's Showbox, a film investment, distribution and sales company has picked up international sales rights to Kim Ki-duk's 15th feature film "Dream". The company will take the film and a handful of other titles to the European Film Market which runs alongside the Berlinale February 7 – 17.

KIM's "Dream" cranked out January 23 after a 3-week shoot in Seoul. The film is generating much buzz due to its high-ca...More

Local audiences shun Korean films

Source | 2007/11/26 | Permalink

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

'D-War' Attracts 5 Million Viewers in 11 Days

Source | 2007/08/12 | Permalink

South Korea's science fiction blockbuster "D-War" has attracted 5 million viewers in the first 11 days of its release, the film's distributor said Sunday.

According to Showbox Inc., the movie, made by comedian-turned movie director, Shim Hyung-rae, drew 5.12 million viewers on 624 screens across the country as of Saturday. The film became the first South Korean movie to break through the 5 million mark this year, it said.

"D-War", starring Hollywood actors, is a story about a legendary Korean serpent, call...More

Television Debate About Dragon Film 'D-War' Fires Up Korea

Source | 2007/08/10 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The summer heat sizzled up as a 100-minute debate on the Korean blockbuster movie "D-War" televised live early Friday morning summoned an explosive public response via the Internet. As various film experts discussed comedian-turned-director Shim Hyung-rae's fantasy film _ with one bashing it as "unworthy of criticism" _ thousands of Netizens voiced their opinions through the MBC program's Web site.

After opening across some 690 screens nationwide Aug.1, the movie smashed local box office records by drawing in over 4.18 million moviegoers in just nine days as of Thursday, said distributor Showbox/Mediaplex.

Hosted by Professor Son Seok-hi of Sungshin Women's University, debaters questioned whether or not "D-War" is a source of hope for Korean films. The panel included Peter (Gwang-su) Kim Jho, CEO/producer of production company Generation Blue Films; cultural critic Jin Jung-gwon who is also a Chung-Ang University professor; Ha Jae-geun, cultural critic; and Sports Chosun reporter Kim Cheon-hong.

Jin attacked "D-War", saying that it owes its large follow...More

LEE Joon-ik Explores Love and War

Source | 2007/08/08 | Permalink

Celebrated director Lee Joon-ik will next film Nimeun Mon Gose (English translation: "Someone Dear is Far Away"), about a woman who sets out to search for her missing-in-action husband during the Vietnam War. She decides to become a member of an entertainment group lined-up to give shows in Vietnam for soldiers. The melodrama is a co-production between Tiger Pictures and Achim Pictures.

Showbox is involved as the main financer, investing US$ 7 million in the project. Showbox will also be responsible for distribution. Filming will commence in October and the film is scheduled to be released in next year's summer. Casting has not been an...More

D-War Wreaks Havoc at Home

Source | 2007/08/07 | Permalink

Showbox blockbuster "D-War" was unleashed Wednesday August 1st on 530 screens, taking in 417,000 admissions which makes it the biggest Wednesday opening on local record. The English-language but Korean produced film went on to capture 2.95 million ticket sales by the close of Sunday, surpassing the year's previous opening week record-holder Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and just falling short of the all-time record of 3.17 million set by last year's Showbox release, ...More

'D-War' stomps box office to pieces

Source | 2007/08/06 | Permalink

"D-War", a graphics-rich monster fest directed by Shim Hyung-rae, is setting a new record at the box office amid the intensifying dispute about its unabashed appeal to patriotism.

Released on Aug. 1, the country's most expensive film, which cost $33 million to produce, sold about 2.9 million tickets in five days, surpassing the previous opening week box-office record set by "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End".

As "D-War" continued to sell out in major theaters across the nation, the film's distributor Showbox said the box-office figure passed the 3 million mark around noon yesterday. The film opened on 530 screens and, thanks to the enthusiastic response, is now being screened in 689 theaters.

The sweeping success of "D-War" came as a surprise because the delay-saddled film made by a former comic actor did not ...More

Supports and Applause to D-War, Along With Ambivalent Reactions

Source | 2007/08/06 | Permalink

"D-War", directed by Shim Hyung-rae, has recorded a 2.2 million-ticket sale as of Saturday. The SF film features a legendary Korean monstrous creature, and contains a huge volume of computer graphic works. It has also set a new record. No Korean movie has attracted more than 2 million moviegoers in four days. Its distributor, Showbox, estimates that it would sell more than three million tickets as of August 5.

The rising ticket sales of "D-War" match the sales pace of the biggest-ever box office hit "The Host". Another Korean movie, "May 18" now on screen, sold more than three million tickets in 10 days. But it's not a match. Jumping on the wagon, almost 160 more movie theaters have begun to show "D-War". Originally, 530 theaters agreed to show the film.


D-War attracts over 2.2 million in four days

Source | 2007/08/05 | Permalink

The science fiction blockbuster "D-War" attracted 792,000 viewers Saturday alone to reach a figure of 2.2 million viewers in its first four days of release, spawning expectations that the Korean legend-based film starring Hollywood actors might set a new box office record, the distributor of the film said Sunday.

The number of viewers is one of the highest in Korean film history with the movie "The Host" having shown similar statistics last year. The monster movie Host has attracted a record 13 million plus viewers.


Korean Films Strike Back

Source | 2007/08/05 | Permalink

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The staggering Korean film industry, with production levels plummeting and international sales down, glows with a ray of hope as two domestic blockbusters are shining through.

Comedian-turned-director Shim Hyung-rae's computer graphic venture "D-War" is drawing in a storm of audiences. Just four days since the dragon war movie was released Aug. 1, more than 2.2 million people have seen it across 690 screens, according to the film's distributor Showbox.

Such a fast and furious follo...More

'D-War' Breathes Fire on Opening Day

Source | 2007/08/03 | Permalink

The legendary Korean serpent Imoogi is about to become a full dragon. Shim Hyung-rae's new sci-fi flick "D-War" attracted 417,298 moviegoers on its opening day Wednesday, the film's distributor Showbox said. It's the highest first-day figure for Korean films this year, and close to the 449,500 recorded by "The Host", the biggest Korean hit so far. But perhaps more noteworthy than the numbers is director Shim's comeback. He's back in the spotlight despite being called an imposter following the flop of his 1999 movie "Yonggary".

Showbox is predicting at least 2.5 million viewers for the movie's first five days, based on advance ...More

Korean films' diverse genres pursue summer season niche

Source | 2007/07/23 | Permalink

With the crucial summer season in full swing, Korean filmmakers are getting ready to mount counterattacks against Hollywood blockbusters in August. This time around, what is noticeable is Korean films' strategic discretion in selecting and diversifying genres.

In recent years, a handful of the so-called Korean blockbusters clashed with American counterparts, only to end up with not-so-spectacular results. "The Host", for instance, garnered a rare success at box office, while the majority of hit wannabes withered helplessly.

To find some niche ground and increase the odds for survival, major films releasing in August zoom in on selective genres such as sex, monster and horror. Of course, these genres are hardly groundbreaking, but considering the uniformity in genres of Korean films during the past summer seasons, the latest penchant for diverse genres is a welcome development.

"Temptation of Eve", for example, is not aiming to hit it big at box office. This four-piece ("Temptation of Eve - Angel", "...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

Orion Sells Megabox Cinema Chain

Source | 2007/07/19 | Permalink

Megabox, one of Korea's top three multiplex chains has been sold to a group of foreign investors. The group, led by Australian banking consortium Macquerie Funds, bought all of Megaplex's 2.93 million shares from Mediaplex Inc., an affiliate of the Orion Group conglomerate. The purchase, announced July 18th, makes it the first Korean theater chain to be entirely foreign-owned, raising concern for many in the already shaken local film industry.

Megabox, which operates 155 screens at 19 venues nationwide, saw a drop in profits this year as competitors CJ-CGV and Lotte Cinemas expanded and nationwide ticket-sales decreased. Megabox opened its first theater in May 2000 at the Seoul COEX mall, which went on to become the busiest multiplex in the world.

The US$156.5 million sale bolsters rumors that Orion Group would scale back its film divisions to focus on broadcasting. Concern over the future o...More

CJ Ent. to Back Kim's Epic Western

Source | 2007/07/03 | Permalink

Director Kim Jee-woon's big budget 'oriental western', "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" witnessed a weird change of financial hands while in the midst of production. Investor and distributor Showbox made a strange last-minute decision to pull out of the almost US$11 million project, while powerhouse competitor CJ Entertainment seems quite content to fill its place.

A new deal is currently underway for CJ to takeover chief financing and distribution of both KIM's film and the US$4.5 million fairy-tale-horror "...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

The Top Korean Movies by Box Office Takings

Source | 2007/06/08 | Permalink

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

'D-War' set to make its way to American film market

Source | 2007/06/06 | Permalink

"D-War", a sci-fi monster pic directed by Shim Hyung-rae, is finally set to hit both Korean and American theaters in August, its international sales and distribution partner Showbox said.

The effects-heavy movie, which was shot in Los Angeles, will be screened in about 1,500 theaters across the United States through Freestyle Releasing in late August, marking the biggest-ever release by a Korean flick.

The movie has sparked keen interest among local fans and critics because of its ambitious foray into the American market as well as its massive production budget. The film is estimated to have cost about $70 million, including all the special effects, developed by Younggu Art, a home-grown CGI company founded by director Shim.

But expectations are mixed: Some viewers who have seen the film's teaser clip have expressed worries about the cinematic quality, casting doubts on its commercial potential in the United States. Starring ...More

Korean Blockbuster 'D-War' to be Released Aug.

Source | 2007/06/05 | Permalink

The domestic sci-fi blockbuster 'D-War' will open on 1,500 screens in the U.S., making it the largest scale opening for a Korean film there.

Film investor and distributor Showbox / Mediaplex Inc. says the movie will open August 2 in Korea and in late August in the U.S.

A Showbox official says it is the first 'wide release' Korean film given that the widest yet was 'Hos...More

Wide Release of D-War in Korea and US

Source | 2007/06/04 | Permalink

Showbox announced that the six year production of "D-War" has come to an end. The science-fiction film will be released in Korea on August 2. Also, the film will enjoy the biggest release of a Korean film in the US with a number reaching as high as 1,500 screens; far exceeding the previous record of 100 plus screens for Bong Joon-ho's "The Host". The US release is scheduled for the end of August.

The English language Korean film "D-War" is directed by Shim Hyung-rae and stars the American actors ...More

Korean Film 'D-War' to Debut in US

Source | 2007/06/04 | Permalink

Jung Joo-yang
Korea Times Intern

The Korean science fiction film "D-War" by Shim Hyung-rae is to debut on 1,500 screens in the United States in late August according to Showbox Mediaplex, the movie's local distributor. "D-War" opens in Korea on Aug.2. American distributor Freestyle is responsible for the U.S. premiere and advertising expenses. According to Showbox, Freestyle was in charge of distributing the popular film "The Illusionist" in the U.S. on 1,432 screens for six weeks. The film was among the top 10 box office hits.

This is the first time a Korean movie will have a wide release at this level, considering that director ...More

Heo Jin-ho Brings us Happiness

Source | 2007/03/02 | Permalink

Melodrama auteur Heo Jin-ho is back with a new film titled "Happiness". Starring Hwang Jung-min ("Bloody Tie", "You are my Sunshine") and Lim Soo-jung ("I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK"), it is the tale of Young-su (HWANG) and Eun-hee (IM) who meet as patients in a sanatorium (an odd role-reprisal for LIM, previously confined to romantic encounters in a mental hospital in Cyborg).

Young-su had been living a carefree life in Seoul, running a bar and dabbling in love-affairs, when he was su...More

200 Pounds Beauty Weighs in at the Box Office

Source | 2007/02/02 | Permalink

Month-end box office tabulations for January, according to Film 2.0, have placed local comedy 200 Pounds Beauty past 6.23 million admissions, making it a major sleeper hit. The film has become the most successful Korean comedy of all time, edging past My Boss, My Teacher, which sold 6.1 million tickets earlier last year. 200 Pounds Beauty has also passed Shiri (1999)at 6.21 million, making it the eighth biggest box office draw in Korean history.

The comedy about plastic surgery has attracted appearance-conscious Koreans with its humorous tale of an extremely overweight singer, the 'ghost voice'behind a lip-syncing pop star. Fed-up of being ill-treated due to her weight, she hasdrastic full-body surgery, reappearing as a slim and sexy sensatio...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

"The Restless" to Be Released in 450 Theaters

Source | 2006/12/20 | Permalink

The fantasy blockbuster "The Restless" will be shown in as many as 450 theaters across the nation on Friday. CJ Entertainment, the film's distributor, said Wednesday that the exact number of theaters has yet to be decided, but it has secured some 400 theaters now, with the possibility of reaching 450.

CJ Entertainment is trying its best to secure as many theaters as possible so that it can attract more viewers not only because it is a major investor in the film but also because it must compete wi...More

My Wife is a Gangster 3 Tops Pre-Sales to Asia

Source | 2006/11/23 | Permalink

The American Film Market (AFM) saw a number of Korean films soldto various markets, with pre-sales on Korean sequel My Wife is a Gangster 3, closing successive deals throughout Asia. Korean distribution arm Showbox claims deals to Asian markets for the film reached a record high for any Korean film sold at AFM to Asian countries, not including Japan.

The original "My Wife Is a Gangster" was a domestic box-office sensation in 2001, selling over 5 million tickets nationwide. ...More

Final audience record of "The Host": 13,019,740

Source | 2006/11/16 | Permalink

The final audience record for The Host (directed by Bong, Joon-Ho, produced by Cheongeoram) has been announced.

Showbox, the film's distributor, announced on Nov. 15 that "the total number of audiences who watched the film in theaters by Nov. 14 is 13,019,740".
Before this announcement, The Host was released on DVD on Nov. 9, ins...More

"My Wife is a Gangster 3" Sold at AFM

Source | 2006/11/16 | Permalink

The Korean comic action film "My Wife is a Gangster 3" has garnered much attention from Asian buyers at the recently-held American Film Market. Showbox, the film's distributor, said Tuesday that the film had been sold for a total of 660,000 dollars (620 million won) to eight Asian nations -- Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. "The price is the highest ever paid for a Korean movie at the market by Asian nations except Japan", it added.

"In the case of Thailand, it signed a deal to invest and distribute the movie in the country instead of just importing it, which shows that the country is confident of its success", Showbox said. "Vietnam agreed to pay a price similar to what it paid to buy "King Kong, making the movie the most expensive Korean movie it has imported". Vietnam is reported to have high expectation for the film b...More

'The Host' Ends Lengthy Run on Screens Nationwide

Source | 2006/11/15 | Permalink

Korea's most-watched film "The Host" has ended its run on screens nationwide after a Marathon 105 days.
Its distributor, Showbox says the blockbuster attracted more than 13 million moviegoers across Korea.
The final screening of the monster flick took place last Wednesday at a theater in southern Seoul....More

'The Host' breaks 13 million viewer record, English version on the way

Source | 2006/11/06 | Permalink

"The Host" breaks 13 million viewer record, English version on the way

Local sci-fi film "The Host", directed by Bong Joon-ho, continues to pick up steam more than 100 days after its domestic release.

Showbox, the Korean company in charge of distributing the film, confirmed on Monday (Nov. 6) that it passed the 13 million viewer mark on Oct. 15, 81 days after its release.

From the United States, film magazines reported that the record-setting film would be remade in English. Universal Pictures bought the remake rights.

"The Host" has received international acclaim recently both for freshly reviving the tradition of sci-fi monster movies and for skillfully integrating social and political allegory. In Korea, it broke ...More

Korean Blockbuster "The Host" Posts Universal Pictures Remake Deal

Source | 2006/11/03 | Permalink

Universal Pictures purchased remake rights to "The Host" on November 1.

The remake deal posting at $600,000 with the American film studio, the remade Korean movie will be available worldwide in English. Cineclick Asia, Korean international film sales firm, headed the deal with Universal Pictures.

"(The offer we received from Universal Pictures) is not the most satisfactory amount, but this deal is meaningful in it of itself, because a major American film studio will be remaking a story ...More

Korean, Taiwanese Stars to Compete at Korean Box Office

Source | 2006/10/18 | Permalink

Korean top actress Kim Tae-hee will have to compete with Taiwanese top actress Shu Qi at the box office in December, when movies starring the two are released simultaneously.

The competition between "The Restless" and "My Wife is a Gangster 3" is tantamount to competition between CJ Ente...More

Spoilt for Movie Choice During Long Chuseok Break

Source | 2006/09/25 | Permalink

This year's Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving holiday will be the longest ever since it comes right after the Foundation Day holiday. Theaters will not miss this golden opportunity to draw as many viewers as possible by showing the best movies. Competition will be fiercer than ever.

Clockwise from left, "Marrying the Mafia III", "Tazza: The High Rollers", "Radio Star", "Our Happy Time", "Strange Circus", "The Ant Bully", "The Banquet", and "Rob-B-Hood, Project BB".

How Many Will Come?

Most film distributors estimate that they will draw some 10-12 million viewers for the 11 days from Sept. 28 until Oct. 8 when a host of interesting movies are released. Although the period accounts for 3 percent of total screening days, the number of viewers during the period will take up 7.5 percent of the estimated total of 160 million viewers for the year. Last year, 3.9 million viewers came to...More

Director Kim explores inner beauty

Source | 2006/09/20 | Permalink

About 70 extras were waiting anxiously in the hall of Catch Light, a posh club in the trendy Hongdae district around 4 p.m. on Monday. While lighting crew worked on ceiling equipment, assistant directors scurried around, throwing orders here and there, and reporters tried to hide their boredom upstairs.

But director Kim Yong-hwa ("Oh! Brothers") wasn't in a hurry. Clad in a white jacket, a white hat, blue jeans, and a pair of sporty sneakers, Kim sat in his chair, watching previous footage again and again. Even actress Kim Ah-joong and her counterpart Joo Jin-mo were nowhere to be found.

At 4:20 p.m. Kim showed up at the shooting venue, stealing the spotlight. W...More

The Host Tops King and the Clown

Source | 2006/09/08 | Permalink

Korean monster thriller "The Host" smashed all box office records last weekend, supplanting "The King and the Clown" as the highest grossing film in Korean history. The film's distributor Showbox announced Sunday September 3rd that The Host had attracted more than 12.37million viewers in the shortest amount of time, just 38 days after it was released.

After holding the top spot at the Box Office for five consecutive weeks, it dropped into second place as thousands of Koreans flocked to see Japan sink in Japanese disaster movie The Sinking of Japan which debuted at number one.

With the Chuseok holiday season only weeks away, "The Host", which is still playing on 280 of the nations screens, is expected to top 14 mil...More

Monster-Themed Film Sets New Record in Seoul

Source | 2006/09/03 | Permalink

Homegrown monster-themed film "The Host" has set a new ticket sales record in South Korea by drawing more than 12.37 million viewers, its distributor Showbox said.

The movie, directed by Bong Joon-ho, on Sept.2,2006 broke the 12.30-million-viewer record set in February by a period drama, "The King and the Clown", Showbox ...More

Monster Takes Millions to Theaters

Source | 2006/09/03 | Permalink

'Host' Leads to Phenomenal Success, Setting New Records

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Local monster movie "The Host" overtook the epic film "The King and the Clown", becoming the most-viewed film at the box office in Korean cinema history, and its phenomenal success is continuing setting new records everyday.

The blockbuster directed by Bong Joon-ho Saturday broke the previous ticket sale record _ 12.3 million set earlier this year by the historical piece "The King and the Clown" _ in just 38 days; the latter took 112 days.

"It was spectacular with its computer graphics", Lee Kyu-jung, a 29-year-old office worker, said. "I saw the film after it broke the 10 million-viewer mark as I was curious why so many people had seen it".

The film's fastest pace is attributed to its general appeal to a broad audience with an interesting story and superb special effects.

The film revolves around a family, who fight against a mutant _ accla...More

'The Host' Set for All-Time Box-Office Record

Source | 2006/09/01 | Permalink

Monster flick "The Host" is poised to overtake the "The King and the Clown" with the most successful run in Korean movie history. The film's distributor Showbox says 12,238,450 people had gone to see the movie as of Aug. 31. If the trend continues, a new record will be set around noon on Saturday since some 12,301,289 million tickets were sold for "The King".

The fallout has been remarkable and bizarre. Between the film's opening on July 27 and Thursday, sales of canned bai-top shells -- a shellfish snack -- jumped 56.1 percent at E-Mart superstores over the same period last year, purely due to the snack's cameo appearance in a memorable scene where the hero played by Song Kang-ho opens up a can of the snack, which looks reminiscent of the monster in the film. The actor who plays Song's father, Byun Hee-bong, is a veteran of the movie industry, but it was this role that has brought him star status. ...More

'The Host' breaks 10-million mark

Source | 2006/08/17 | Permalink

Besides popcorn and soda pop, there is something ubiquitous in every Korean theater this summer - the monster of the Han River.

The Host by Bong Joon-ho broke the 10-million viewer mark in a country of 48 million people yesterday, data from its distributor ShowBox showed. With its box-office receipts still on the rapid rise three weeks after its release, the monster movie is expected to set a new audience record in a matter of days.

Many agree Bong's film attests to the maturation of the Korean movie market and the marketing strategy, having rewritten a series of film records - the box office record for a day, the record screen number and the record sales overseas.

Audiences at theater screens laughed and screamed at its political satire of the U.S. Forces in Korea and applauded the Korean-style monster that broke the conventions of Hollywood monster movies.

Beside such encouraging signs, however, there is a growing debate among fans and experts over how a movie's phenomenal success affects the entire market. The 11 billion won ($11.3 million) movie has taken away screens from small-budget, less conspicuous movies and has negatively affected market variety, many say.

"It topped the 10 million viewer mark in just three weeks,...More

Monster Film Success Soothes S. Korea's Worried Cinema Industry

Source | 2006/08/16 | Permalink

A rare monster film is blazing a trail in South Korea's cinema history, drawing record audiences and bolstering a local movie industry being weaned from decades of a protective screen quota.

The Host, directed by a daring 37-year-old producer Bong Joon-Ho, pulled in eight million viewers as of Friday last week after it was released 16 days earlier at 620 cinemas across South Korea, according to the film's distributor, Showbox.

The film slashed nine days off the previous record time to pull in eight million viewers which was set by "Taegukgi", a 2004 big-budget domestic film featuring two brothers whose lives were ravaged by the Korean War.

When director Bong announced plans for the monster film, his third release, his colleagues were "shocked and dismayed", he said.

Bong, who shot to fame in 2003 with "...More

"The Host" Draws Six Million in Record Time

Source | 2006/08/07 | Permalink

A domestic move The Host has sold six million tickets quicker than any other Korean movie in domestic film history.

According to the film's distributor, Showbox, Monday, the film has attracted six million viewers in the first eleven days since its release, outperforming the previous record set ...More

The Host opens on a record 620 screens

Source | 2006/07/28 | Permalink

Just prior to its theatrical release, Bong Joon-ho's "The Host" is already setting records.

The film is scheduled to open on an all-time high of 620 screens, which easily surpasses the previous widest release of 540 screens for "Typhoon" in late 2005. According to the film's distributor Showbox, theaters nationwide had actually requested 700 prints, but it was decided that the film would better be served by not overextending its release.

At the same time, "The Host" is reaching new heights in terms of advance ticket sales. As of the morning before the film's July 27 release, it had captured a 95.48% share of advance ticket sales, which surpasses the previous record for a Korean fi...More

CANNES '06 MARKET DAILY: Magnolia Makes a Deal For Host

Source | 2006/05/30 | Permalink

by Eugene Hernandez and Tamara Schweitzer (May 24, 2006)

Buyers and sellers began checking out of the Marche du Film Wednesday, some heading back to their home offices. But many others stayed longer in Cannes to try to close another deal or two before exiting Cannes. In a rare deal from an American company in Cannes, Magnolia Pictures worked into the early hours of Wednesday morning to close an English language rights deal for South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's The Host, an acclaimed Directors' Fortnight entry at the festival this year that has earned growing buzz in recent days. Earlier in the fest, The New York Times' crit...More

Film "The Host" Likely to Achieve Highest Export Amount

Source | 2006/05/25 | Permalink

The film "The Host" directed by Bong Joon-ho has made the headlines as it is likely to win the highest-ever export amount in the history of Korean filmdom.

"The Host" received a favorable response as soon as it was shown at the 59th Cannes International Film Festival. According to an official from the film production agency ShowBox, "The Host" will be exported for $2.3 million to about ten countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, including the U.S., Britain, Brazil and Argentina.

Simply based on the film's script, the agency has already signed an export contract with HappyNet Pictures of Japan for $4.7 million (including $3.2 million for the export of the film and $1.2 million for investment). Even before it is released, "The Host" will likely earn a total amount of $7 million in exports to foreign countries. The export amount of this film to other countries except Japan is the highest in the history ...More

Bong Joon-ho's new film, "The Host", invited for screening at the Cannes Film Festival

Source | 2006/05/01 | Permalink

"The Host", a new film by Korean director Bong Joon-ho, has been invited for screening at the Director's Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival.

"On April 26, The Host was been invited to the Director's Fortnight at the 59th Cannes Film Festival, which will be held on May 17 to 28 in Cannes, France", Showbox, a distributor of this film, announced on April 27.

Thus, two Korean films - the other being The Unforgiven by director ...More

Choi Ji-woo Remains Huge Box-Office Draw in Japan

Source | 2006/04/05 | Permalink

The latest film starring Choi Ji-woo, "Now and Forever", is set to open in Korea on April 13 and in Japan two days later ? essentially a simultaneous release since new films open in Korea on Thursdays and in Japan on Saturdays.

In Japan, where it will be distributed by Toshiba Entertainment, the film opens on 280 screens, while domestic distributor Showbox will show it on 300 Korean scre...More

'Red Shoes' [Film and DVD Review]

Source | 2006/02/14 | Permalink

Engrossing horror flick showcases the talents of Kim Hye-soo
Kim Kyu Hyun (internews)

A note to the readers: Woo Sung Region 3 DVD of "Red Shoes" contains two versions of the film, substantially different from one another. The non-theatrical and DVD-specific edition is identified as the "Rated for 18 or older" version, so I will refer to it as the "18+" version throughout this review.

"Red Shoes" is about a pair of dancing shoes (actually pink in the film) with a heavy-duty hex placed on them. As the film opens, a high school girl who tries them on at a subway station has her feet gobbled up by them. The poor girl is left screaming her lungs out, gazing at the stumps of her chopped-off ankles, while the pink shoes in question (in a nicely old-fashioned stop-motion shot) noisily slurps up the gushing rivulets of blood. Oh my. Not exactly Emeric Pressburger material, is it?

Production Notes

A Generation Blue Films/Cineclick Asia/Cinewise Films/Sovik Venture Capital Co-Production. Distributed by DCG+/Showbox. Directed by Kim Yong-gyoon. Written by Ma Sang-ryeol, Kim Yong-gyoon. Starring Kim Hye-soo, Kim Sung-soo, Park Yeon-ah, Go Soo-hee, Lee Eol, Seo Ha-rim, Son Se-kwang. International distribution by Cineclick Asia
The main plot concerns Sun Jae, a former medical doctor and bourgeois housewife with a six-year-old daughter, who accidentally finds her husband cheating with a younger woman. She moves with her daughter into a dilapidated apartment room (somewhat incongruously located in a high-rise). All is seemingly well, as she prepares to open an eye clinic with the help of her new romantic interest, a slightly oily interior decorator In Cheol (Kim Sung-soo).

The trouble begins when she filches the cursed shoes from the subway station. Her daughter, Tae Soo (Park Yeon-ah), taking ballet lessons, begins to build an unhealthy obsession with the pink pair. As the movie progresses, we learn a disturbing back-story behind the shoes, as well as some uneasy details about Sun Jae's own life...what is her supposedly divorced husband (Lee Eol) doing in Tae Soo's bedroom, for one?

"Red Shoes", the sophomore film directed by Kim Yong-gyoon, who had debuted with an interestingly disturbing love story "Wanee and Junah" (2001), vacillates between two positions. On the one hand, it is a fire-in-the-belly, non-PC, take-no-prisoners scream-fest, pummeling the complacent audience with its blood-curdling yet outrageously beautiful set pieces and featuring a tour de force turn by its star, ...More

[YEAR-END REVIEW] Korean film industry continues to produce major hits

Source | 2005/12/19 | Permalink

This is the first part of a series of articles reviewing Korea's culture scene this year. - Ed.

By Yang Sung-jin

This year began on an upbeat note for Korea's movie industry. "Running Boy" (Marathon), directed by Chung Yoon-chul, featured a moving story about a 20-year-old autistic man who pursues long-distance running, defying prejudices and handicaps.

Starring top actor Cho Seung-woo, the movie became the biggest hit movie in the first quarter of this year, sending optimism to the country's film sector which yearned for a hit that could boost morale and capture the imagination of sophisticated Korean moviegoers.

Then came the tragic news in February: Lee Eun-joo, a top actress well known for her supporting role in the 2004 Korean blockbuster film "Taegukgi" committed suicide, leaving speculation and a number of rumors about the reason.

The 25-year-old actress was known to have suffered much stress from the sexually explicit role in her last film "The Scarlet Letter" but exactly what drove her to suicide at the peak of her career remains unknown.

The death of Lee, one of the top actresses credited for outstanding performances, sent shock waves to the entire movie industry, while her fans were deeply saddened by the tragedy.

Korean hit movies such as "Welcome to Dongmakgol" (left) and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" helped the domestic film industry maintain its 55-percent share in 2005.

The first half of 2005 saw box-office performances sagging amid the dearth of major hits comparable to the blockbusters like "Taegukgi" in 2004. But sales firmed up in the second half, helped by several hit movies.

According to IM Pictures, 303 movies were introduced to the Korean market this year, up from 265 movies last year. As for the Seoul m...More

Domestic Film Market Share Exceeds 50 % for 3rd Consecutive Year

Source | 2005/12/14 | Permalink

The public is continuing to lend their support to domestic films. According to a survey conducted by CJ CGV from Jan. 1 to Dec. 11 this year, the market share of domestic films was found to have exceeded 50 percent for the third year in a row. The number of moviegoers has also exceeded 100 million nationwide for the fourth straight year.

The CJ CGV's survey released on Dec. 13 shows that domestic films' market share was 59.1 percent nationwide, with the domestic market share in Seoul being 54.6 percent.

As it recorded a 7.4 percent decrease year-on-year during the first half of the year, the market share of domestic films was expected to spiral downward this year. But after August, it showed a ...More

KOFIC to attend South African film market

Source | 2005/11/16 | Permalink

The Korean Film Council, in partnership with the Korean Embassy of South Africa, will for the first time operate a promotion center at the Sithengi Film & Television Market in Cape Town, South Africa.

Held fromNovember 15-18 at the same time as the Cape Town World Cinema Festival, the Sithengi market provides one of key meeting places for professionals in the film and television industries of Africa. The market is now in its tenth edition.

To date, there haveonly been a limited number of Korean films that have been sold and distributed in African countries. In order to more fully tap this growing market, sales companies from Korea such as MK Pictures, Mirovision, Showbox, an...More

"Yooth Comics" ("Almost Love") to be pre-sold in 5.2 million dollar to Japan

Source | 2005/11/14 | Permalink

"Yooth Comics" ("Almost Love") (Production: Popcorn Film, Distribution: Showbox, Meida Flex, Director Lee Han) was pre-sold in 5.2 million dollar to Japan at America Film Market (AFM), which attracts the public's attention by recombination of the most box-office couple in Korea, actor Kwon Sang-woo and actress Kim Ha-neul.

This film's export price follows ...More

Film 'Dongmakgol' Breaks 8 Mln Ticket Mark

Source | 2005/11/01 | Permalink

This year's box office champion "Welcome to Dongmakgol" has sold more than eight million tickets 89 days after opening.

The film's distributor Showbox on Tuesday said the comedic drama drew 8,002,000 moviegoers nationwide as of Monday since opening in August.

The feature debut of director Bae Jong, th...More

Booth to Sell Korean Films at Global Expo

Source | 2005/10/31 | Permalink

Domestic filmmakers in November will set up a sales booth for Korean movies at the world's largest trade expo in Santa Monica, California.

The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Korea Film Council and cinema distributors will promote eight domestic movies at the annual American Film Market opening Wednesday.

The nine South Korean distributors to run a Korean film sales booth are CJ Enterprise, Tube Entertainment, Cineclick Asia, Showbox, Showist, Koa Studio, Mirovision, MK Pictures and Film Messenger.

Among the Korean movies up for sale are the melodrama "All For Love" - "...More

Korean Films to Be Promoted at American Film Market

Source | 2005/10/31 | Permalink

A promotion of Korean films will be launched at the American Film Market (AFM) in early November. The AFM, the world's largest trade fair for films, will be held in Santa Monica in the U.S. on Nov. 2-9.

Public and private Korean agencies will proactively engage in the promotion of Korean films at the event by jointly opening a PR hall for Korean films. Such agencies include the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), as well as nine private film distribution agencies.

The AFM is the world's largest trade fair for independent films, where about 500 million dollars' worth of films and TV products are produced and distributed annually. It is held under the sponsorship of the ITFA, a global agency of independent film and TV program producers and distributors. About 7,000 independent film producers from around ...More

Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) plants seeds for future Asian cinema

Source | 2005/10/10 | Permalink

The 8th Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) started its three-day schedule on Monday (Oct. 10) with a total of 33 official projects at Paradise Hotel in Haeundae.

This year, 27 PPP projects from 19 countries and six New Directors in Focus (NDIF) projects by promising young Korean directors will be introduced to potential investors.

Some 550 meetings between local and international directors and investors have been booked for this year's PPP, which runs Oct. 10-12, the organizing committee said.

Among 27 projects, which have been chosen out of some 150 applicants, South Korean director Kim Ki-duk has drawn keen attention with his third PPP project tentatively named "Beautiful". His two previous projects are "Address Unknown", and "...More

'Mafia' Sequel Hits 5-Million Viewer Mark

Source | 2005/10/04 | Permalink

The romantic gangster comedy "Marrying the Mafia II" hit the 5-million-viewer mark on Monday. It is the 10th domestic film to reach that mark in history.

The film, which opened Sept. 8, was seen by 4.96 million people by Sunday and went over the 5-million mark the next day, according to its distributor Showbox.

Aside from "Marrying the Mafia II", two other films brought in over 5 million viewers this year: "Running Boy" - "...More

'Mafia 2' Wins Box Office Honors

Source | 2005/09/20 | Permalink

The domestic gangster comedy "Marrying the Mafia 2: Monster-in-Law" was the top movie during the Full Moon Harvest holidays.

The film attracted 309,783 moviegoers at 97 screens in Seoul over the weekend to remain number one for the second straight week, and has attracted 3.32 million viewers since its release on September 8th.

Second was the remake of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with 1.22 million tickets sold in Seoul and 4.58 million nationwide since its release Thursday.

The nation's biggest hit this year, "...More

For Korean Film Mogul, the Word "Fun" Is the Only Word in His Dictionary

Source | 2005/09/01 | Permalink

by Seung-Jae Lee

Kim Woo-taek (41), the CEO of SHOWBOX, a film investor and distributor, is a rare kind of gambler. He makes every movie that he is engaged in an "out-of-the-park homer", not just a hit.

The number viewers of "Taegukgi", which SHOWBOX invested and distributed last year, exceeded 10 million, setting the record of the largest domestic audience in history. Again this year, the company set the box office record over the first half of this year with "Marathon" (5.18 million-strong audience), and is setting a new record for the second half with "Welcome to Dongmakgol", outdoing "Marathon". Kim is with the Midas touch.

I Choose Fun Movies-

-"It is almost certain that your company topped the list of film distributors this year."..

"Being No.1 in distribution is meaningless for audience. Movie-goers will only have the memory that they saw the fun "Marathon" and...More

Free Screenings to Mark Film's Milestone

Source | 2005/08/31 | Permalink

The studio that produced the country's most popular movie this year will show the film free Thursday.

Showbox said each theater nationwide will show the first screening of the comedy "Welcome to Dongmakgol" free to celebrate the film's milestone as the highest-grossing movie of the year.

The movie has attracted 5.5 million fans, beating the previous champ "Marathon" with ...More

Director Jang Returns to Theatrical Play

Source | 2005/08/29 | Permalink

By Bae Keun-min
Staff Reporter

Director Jang Jin, second from right, poses with his fellow alumni of Seoul Institute of the Arts, who will together stage Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", after a press conference at Dongnang Arts Center in central Seoul, Monday.
Jang Jin, director of film in release "The Big Scene (Paksuchil Ttae Tonara)" and producer and writer of this year's biggest hit "Welcome to Dongmakgol", will return to the stage as a director next month.

Although Jang is savoring success in the film industry with the two recent films, he said he feels more at home in the theater. He began his career as a playwright winning a prize at the spring literary contest hosted by a ...More

'Dongmakgol' Seen by Over 3 Mil. Viewers

Source | 2005/08/16 | Permalink

SEOUL (Yonhap) _ A new homegrown film about Korean War enemies who combine forces to defend a peaceful mountain village from bombing has been seen by more than 3 million moviegoers nationwide, its distributor said Monday.

"Welcome to Dongmakgol" drew 3,057,889 people to cinemas across the nation as of Sunday, the 11th day after its opening, Showbox said.

The movie broke the 3-million mark in box-office ticket sales a week earlier than "Marathon", which was viewed by 5 million people to become the top-selling film of the first half of this year.

"Dongmakgol" beat its cinematic rivals to take the top spot at the weekend box office.

The debut feature by director ...More

Media Market Barriers Breaking Down

Source | 2005/07/08 | Permalink

By Kim Ki-tae
Staff Reporter
The fast changing media contents market is destroying longstanding barriers between filmmakers, broadcasters, talent management firms and mobile carriers.

Film companies are beginning to make television dramas, while broadcasters are producing films. Talent management companies, riding on their rising "star power", are jumping into production projects. Meanwhile, mobile communication carriers are buying up companies that traditionally provided only content.

"Television, theater, game, mobile phone and other media are converging in the name of digital technology", said Kan Han-seop, a professor at Seoul Institute of the Arts. "The entertainment market is now undergoing fundamental changes".

According to industry insiders, burgeoning new media, like digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) and satellite channels, require large, high-quality content and are therefore transforming the traditional contents market. In addition, the rising popularity of Korean pop culture in East Asia is raising demand for content.

In the eyes of traditional content makers or their neighbors, the ongoing upheaval is seen as either a "crisis or an opportunity". They are now emerging from their long-standing home turfs and making forays into neighboring territories.

Last month, Yellow Film announced that it would make a television mini-series called "Someday", deploying film director Han Ji-seung of "A Day" and "Ghost Mama", and scriptwriter Kim Hee-jae of "Silmido". They said they would begin shooting in October.

The film company Nobise Entertainment is also cooperating with a company of drama scriptwriters including Kim Yeong-hyeon of ...More

Korean Film Industry Faces Financial Crisis

Source | 2005/06/02 | Permalink

The warning lights are flashing on Chungmu-ro, the center of Korea's film industry as public funding runs out. The liquidation date for most of the W260 billion (US$260 million) movie fund for film production between 2000 and 2002 comes up at the end of this year, and the Small and Medium Business Agency's anticipated first-round contribution of W250 billion to the film fund has come out to no more than W7 billion.

The movie fund was an idea hatched by the film world following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, when the Small and Medium Business Agency, Korean Film Council and other government agencies and private investors came together to set up a fund to boost film production. Under the Kim Dae-jung administration, W260 billion were raise...More

7 Korean film producing companies enhance Korean film's phase in EFM

Source | 2005/02/11 | Permalink

Plus the 55th International Berlin Film Festival, 7 Korean film producing companies enhance Korean film's phase by taking part in EFM (European Film Market) which will be held till Feb. 20.

EFM is a movie sale market whose phase is on a par with established three largest movie markets in the world such as Cannes, Milan, and AFM (American Film Market).

In particular, as AFM took place in Feb.-March previously, takes place in autumn from this year, EFM's significance is being heightened as a sole movie market, which is held in the first half of the year.

According to Korean Film Council (KOFIC), 7 film producing companies from Korea have prepared a ...More

Share of Korean films declines in January

Source | 2005/02/03 | Permalink

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

Korean cinema scores 60% market share in October

Source | 2004/11/05 | Permalink

According to a report by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and, 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

Director Kang looks to the world

Source | 2004/07/01 | Permalink

Kang Jae-gyu's office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, is a cross between a bachelor pad and a lesson in modern interior decorating. Outfitted with a black leather furniture set, small metal trinkets and full-length posters of his movies, his office looks like something right out of a Nick Hornby novel.

But a Hornby novel protagonist Kang is not. While bachelors Rob from "High Fidelity" and Will from "About a Boy" are capricious and have difficulty sustaining serious relationships, Kang is married with children and emphasizes that, in life, family is the most important thing. While a Hornby bachelor is wayward and unmotivated, Kang is a commanding trendsetter who wants to bring Korean filmmaking to a whole new level.

Kang's domestic blockbuster "Taegukgi", starring Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin, who pl...More

'Taegukgi' Off to Promising Start on First Weekend in Japan

Source | 2004/07/01 | Permalink

The Korean blockbuster movie 'Taegukgi' is taking Japan by storm, after a phenomenal run at home.
More than 130,000 viewers saw the movie in the island nation on the first weekend of its release.

South Korean blockbuster 'Taegukgi' got off to a promising start on the first weekend of its release in Japan. On its debut weekend, '...More

`Taegukgi' Flies High in Japan

Source | 2004/06/30 | Permalink

The local blockbuster "Taegukgi (Brotherhood)" opened in Japan and took fourth place at the weekend box office.
The film, which stars Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin as two brothers fighting in the Korean War, was seen by 133,000 on Saturday and Sunday, reported Showbox, the film's production company.

According to the Japanese film Web site Eiga (, the film placed fourth at th...More

Korean Films, Dramas Ignite Storm in Japan

Source | 2004/06/28 | Permalink

Korean films and dramas are causing quite the storm in Japan. "Brotherhood" (Korean: Taegeukgi Hwinalli-myeo), the Korean War movie staring Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin, is expected to gross W100 billion in Japan,
Showbox, the film's distributor, said Monday that when one computes the numbers based on the 8,700 pre-purchased tickets sold three days before the film's premier in Japan, the film should draw about 3 million viewers. At...More

Saying Sayonara to Screen Quotas

Source | 2004/06/13 | Permalink

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 ...More

Foreign Dignitaries in Korea Treated to Special Screening of "Taegukgi"

Source | 2004/04/01 | Permalink

Some 200 foreign dignitaries in Korea and their spouses were treated to a special screening of the local mega blockbuster "Taegukgi" on Wednesday at Seoul's Convention and Exhibition Center. The US$13 million production by filmmaker Kang Je-gyu is the second homegrown movie to draw more than 10 million moviegoers from a population of 48 million in just 39 days after its domestic release.
"Well I'm really impressed with this kind of movie. I never really thought Korea can make a film like this". "Taegukgi" portrays the crossing fates of two brothers forced to fight each other in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. "The movie showed us the nonsense of war and cruelty and a little part of the ...More

Free Outdoor Screening of 'Taegukgi' Rescheduled

Source | 2004/03/24 | Permalink

A free outdoor screening of the blockbuster film "Taegukgi" will take place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the public square located within Kyongbok Palace, Seoul, a week later than it was originally planned.
The screening, which is to be held in celebration of the film reaching the 10-million-viewer mark, was first planned for March 20, but was postponed a week due to the demonstrations over the presidential impeachment.


"Taegukgi" Opens in Japanese Theaters on June 25

Source | 2004/03/19 | Permalink

The Korean movie Taegukgi is scheduled to be released in Japan on June 25, coinciding with the day the Korean War started.

An official at the foreign sales team from Showbox, Taegukgi's distribution company, commented on the film's opening in Japan, Since the movie is about the Korean War, we are promoting the release of the film on the day the Korean War bega...More

'Taegukgi' draws 10 million audience

Source | 2004/03/16 | Permalink

The Korean War film "Taegukgi" has attracted 10 million viewers in the shortest time in Korean film history, announced Showbox, the movie's distributor. In just 39 days of its opening, "Taegukgi" became the second Korean film to surpass this mark, which was first broken by "Silmido" less than a month ago. "Silmido", a movie dealing with the ...More

Blockbuster 'Taegukgi' Clocks 10 Mln Admissions

Source | 2004/03/15 | Permalink

Another Korean mega-blockbuster has done it again yet this time at a faster pace. 'Taegukgi' went down in Korean history as the second film ever to garner 10 million viewers at the national box office just 39 days after its release. Its distributor, Showbox says the Korean War epic attracted more than 10 million moviegoers across the country as of late Sunday, beating the previous record set by the season's first blockbust...More

Korean Movie 'Taegukgi' Tops 9 Million Viewers

Source | 2004/03/08 | Permalink

Korean blockbuster "Taegukgi" clocked more than 9 million admissions at the national box office this past weekend. The Korean War epic attracted 9.12 million moviegoers as of Saturday on its 31st day of release according to the film's distributor Showbox. This is the shortest period of time in which any movie, Korean or foreign was able to top 9 million ticket sales nationwide. It also breaks the ...More

CNN to Broadcast Special on Korean Film

Source | 2004/02/25 | Permalink

The cable news network CNN will run a special broadcast on Korean blockbusters like "Taegukgi", giving recognition to their global worth. "Taegukgi" production company Kang Je-gyu Film and distributor Showbox said Tuesday, "On Feb. 27, CNN BizAsia will report on the growth of Korean film, the background to that growth, and Korean film trends". They added, "The special will last more than 10 minutes, and is scheduled for broadcast not only in Asia, but all across the world". The program will introduce how Korean films based on true-stories like "Silmido", "...More

'Taegukgi' Aims to Fly High at the Box Office

Source | 2004/01/28 | Permalink

by Jeon Sang-hee

"The Korean Flag Waves", scheduled for release on Feb. 6, boasts the potential to be the country's biggest blockbuster yet. The fact that it's directed by proven box-office master Kang Je-gyu is enough to draw attention, but the polish on the chrome is the film's two biggest movie stars of this age, Jang Dong-gun and Weon Bin. On Chungmu-ro, the studio isn't even bothering to do the marketing research -- they're confident that ...More