Kang Hyeong-cheol has set a new record in the domestic film industry as the first Korean director to make two films that have each attracted audiences of more than 7 million.
Kang's latest film "Sunny - 2010" lured 7.08 million viewers as of Sunday to rank 11th in cinema attendance among all Korean films, while his debut work "Scandal Makers" (2008) attracted 8.31 million to become the 8th most popular Korean film.
If box-office numbers for "Sunny - 2010" continue at their blistering pace, the movie about a female group of school friends looks set to eclipse Kim Ji-hoon's "May 18", which pulled in 7.31 million moviegoers in 2007, as the nation's 10th favorite film within this week.
If this happens, Kang, 37, will be able to add another prestigious accolade as the first director to get two of his works into the list of the top 10 highest-grossing movies in the domestic market. This also spells good news for the studios bankrolling his projects.
"Speedy Scandal" cost W4.7 billion (US$1=W1,052) to produce and generated a 300 percent rate of return as of this year, while "Sunny - 2010", which cost W5.5 billion, is expected to rake in similar profits.
Kang worked his way up from nowhere. Born in southern Jeju Island, he had no experience as assistant or crewmember of famous directors and devoted himself to writing screenplays alone before a college classmate landed him a job at Toilet Picture in 2006, where he wrote and directed his debut hit.
Kang attributed his success to being able to relate to moviegoers across the nation. "I don't know any magic ingredient to making a hit film, and I never gave that much thought when I was making them", he said. "I just tried to make films that I liked, and that I wanted to watch".
"I find more meaning in the fact that people watched the films that I also wanted to watch", he said, "because it means I succeeded in communicating with them".
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