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"Noble Affair" Appeals to Audience

2003/10/14 Source

"Untold Scandal" premiered on October 2 and sold two million tickets in 11 days, remaining the top box office hit for two consecutive weeks. The long-term box-office record is expected as it claimed more than 60 percent of total online ticket sales. We will examine the appealing points of this movie.

How Popular: As of October 12, its total audience reached 2.19 million nationwide, and 830,000 in Seoul alone. It leads the biggest blockbuster of the first half of this year, "Memories of Murder" (1.38 million) by 810,000 tickets.

The cinemas' responses are varied. As for Bundang's two CGVs, located in the residential areas, the early-bird tickets (around 10 a.m.) on the weekdays are being sold out. One CGV manager, Kwon Dong-yup said, "Most of the audiences in this time-frame are females in their 40s and 50s".

Cha Seung-jae, representative of Sidus, said, "I think it the film's high perfection which is attracting the audience. It's a film with a possibility of attracting three to four million people".

Nevertheless, it does have some weak points. Ticket sales of "Memories of Murder" continued its upward trend even after the second week of release, but "Untold Scandal", just like the second biggest hit of the first half of the year, "My Tutor Friend", is showing a decline in ticket sales. The disadvantage is that, while "Friends" and other blockbusters that attracted more than five million moviegoers moved both males and females in their 20s to 50s, the viewers of "Untold Scandal" are mostly comprised of women.

How It Is Appealing: If we take it from a genre perspective, "Untold Scandal" is a fusion film that effectively combines Korea's favorite genres: comedy, drama, and sex. Film critic Shim Young-sup said, "The sexual aspect of the film is portrayed not in a regular folk-style but rather in a noble-style". He added, "Such noble wrapping allows the audience to lighten their psychological burden in choosing 'Scandal'". The film is funny and touching, yet sexy and noble all at the same time.

Secondly, there is the "Bae Yong-joon effect". His "young star" image ended the stereotype that historical dramas are only for TV. It is estimated that his fans in their 20s and 30s are rushing to the movies. "Untold Scandal" is Bae Yong-joon's first film.

Third, the social openness to sex is helping the movie's popularity. The concept of this film is "destroying Chosun dynasty's enchantress and playboy's devoted lover". Film critic Jun Chan-il said, "'Scandal's' story cannot win the general public's approval, but it plays with social psychology, which resulted in its popularity, just like Singles and 'A Good Lawyer's Wife'".

Other points included: the ensemble of Lee Mee-sook's cold intuition and Bae Yong-joon's playboy acting, the sophisticated and stable visual play of director Lee Jae-yong, a strong scenario that melted in modern-day speech style, and Lee Byeong-woo's score and two billion won high-end art.

The attention goes to whether "Untold Scandal" will sustain its high ticket sales even after the release of "Hwangsanbul" on October 17.

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