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Seniors Invade Movie Theaters for 'Mapa Island' - 'Mapado'

2005/04/01 | Permalink | Source

A middle-aged revolution has taken control of movie theaters. For the third week since its release, the comedy "Mapa Island" - 'Mapado' has reigned supreme at the box office, surpassing the 2 million-viewer mark Friday. The film is completely devoid of top stars or even young actors.

In an era when films are drawing 10 million or more, 2 million might not seem like a lot, but the star driving the film's promotion is a middle-aged "grandmother-grade" actress, and middle-aged folk also make up the bulk of the filmgoers. The film -- starring 55 year-old Kim Hyung-ja, 65-year-old Yeo Wun-gye, 54-year-old Kim Soo-mi and other actors of yesteryear as well as 39-year-old "perpetual supporting actor" Lee Moon-shik in his first leading role -- is leaving behind Academy Award-winner "Million Dollar Baby" and youth-oriented action comedy "She's on Duty".

"Mapo Island" - 'Mapado' is without precedent in drawing a 40-and-up crowd usually resigned to their living room home theaters. "In the morning, it's middle-aged women and grandmother circles watching the film in groups, and in the evening there are lines of middle-aged couples", said Joongang Cinema's Kang Gi-myeong. "This is a phenomenon rarely seen with other films".

The actors, too, are experiencing an unprecedented surge in popularity. Kim Soo-mi bragged, "Each time I go to the sauna, middle-aged women greet me, and it's popular nowadays for church grandmothers to get together and see the film after Sunday service". Yeo Wun-gye joked, "Perhaps older filmgoers feel comfortable watching the film because it stars a bunch of older folk uglier than themselves". Pointing to his face, Lee Moon-shik said, "When was I going to get a leading role with a mug like this?" He added, "Up till the moment we started shooting, I was quite nervous, because I had been assigned leading roles a couple of times in the past, only to be replaced later on by a better-looking guy".

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