Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Review Round-up (09/24-09/30, 2011)

An enormous amount of reviews this week (53!) due in part to Austin's Fantasia Fest and the release of Poetry in Toronto. I'm sure I've missed a couple though but if you can point me towards any more I will gladly include them!


NEW KOREAN RELEASES

(koreanfilm.org, September 2011)

Blind

Countdown


RECENT RELEASES

(hancinema.net, September 24, 2011)

(Twitch, September 24, 2011)

Haunters

Invasion of Alien Bikini

(Modern Korean Cinema, September 30, 2011)

Poetry

(Init_Scenes, September 29, 2011)

The Yellow Sea


PAST FILMS

(Hangul Celluloid, September 16, 2011)

(buzzfocus.com, September 28, 2011)

(The New Yorker, September 28, 2011)


The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Korean Cinema News (09/22-09/28, 2011)

Another light week for Korean cinema news but in my searching I did uncover a large amount of Fantastic Fest korean film reviews which will be features in Friday's WEEKLY REVIEW ROUND-UP, maybe that explains it.


KOREAN CINEMA NEWS

Online Smiles for Sunny
CJ E&M Pictures has scored strongly with the multiple online releases of its hit film SunnySunny was released for download via portals and cloud services on 8 Sep, shortly before the Chuseok public holidays, and achieved $597,000 after 10 days. Separately it earned $511,000 on Korea Telecom's IPTV service. Taken together with revenues from other IPTV outlets, CJ estimates that Sunny earned $1.28 million over the Chuseok period and is on course for total ancillary revenues of $2.56 million. (Film Business Asia, September 23, 2011)

Bae Doo-na Ice Cool Ahead of Hollywood Debut
All it took was a video call and a short home movie, and the Wachowski brothers -- the brains behind The Matrix trilogy -- were sold on actress Bae Doo-na. The Wachowskis had been looking around for someone to fill a role in their upcoming movie, Cloud Atlas. (The Chosun Ilbo, September 24, 2011)

LKFF: Festival News from Mayfair, First Impressions & a Salute to Curatorial Ambition
A preview of the London Korean Film Festival courtesy of Ian London over on the New Korean Cinema site. (New Korean Cinema, September 25, 2011)

HK Film Archive's "Restored Treasures" to Feature Korean Director Shin Sang-ok's Masterpieces
An accomplished director and producer, Shin Sang-ok, nicknamed the 'Prince of Korean Cinema', was one of a handful of directors who were instrumental in making the 1950s and '60s a golden age for Korean cinema. The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Restored Treasures" series in October and November will screen two of his masterpieces. The two selected films were also the first and third restored treasures of the Korean Film Archive (KOFA). (7th Space, September 26, 2011)

Unsettling Dogani Revisits School Horror
A new film based on a true story is stirring up anger and a sense of helplessness among Korean moviegoers. The movie, called Dogani or The Crucible in English, is adopted from the bestselling book of the same name by Gong Ji-young, one of the most prominent and respected female writers in Korea (The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011)

Top Actor Jang Dong-gun Set to Star in Foreign Film
Top Korean actor Jang Dong-gun is set to star with Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung in director Hur Jin-ho’s adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Jang is fresh off the shoot of Kang Je-kyu’s sweeping WWII film My Way which wrapped recently. (kobiz, September 27, 2011)

5-Day Korean Film Fest in Cebu Starts
A five-day Korean Film Festival in Cebu will be held starting tomorrow September 28 until October 2 with top-grossing films to be shown for free at the SM Cinema. (Philippine Information Agency, September 27, 2011)

American Professor Loves Korean Movies
'Korean movies are humanistic and deal with human existence, and that makes us watch them. I think they are this way because of the huge tragedies of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War.' 53-year-old Earl Jackson, a professor at the Korean National University of Arts, told Yonhap News on the 22nd that Korean movies have unique characteristics compared to the cinema of other nations. (asiancorrespondent.com, September 28, 2011)


INTERVIEW

Interview With Director LIM Woo-seong
Up-and-coming Korean director Lim Woo-seong, whose Scars is screening in the San Sebastian International Film Festival Zabaltegi-New Directors Section, speaks to Cine21’s SHIN Dooyoung about his work. (kobiz, September 23, 2011)


TRAILERS




(Modern Korean Cinema, September 26, 2011)



Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (09/23-09/25, 2011)

Weekend of September 23-25, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 The Crucible 9/22/11 685,784 914,369
2 Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon 8/10/11 149,183 7,042,686
3 Contagion (us) 9/22/11 111,932 133,147
4 Mr. Popper's Penguins (us) 9/7/11 85,808 848,949
5 Marrying the Mafia IV 9/7/11 74,487 2,283,806
6 The Killer Elite (us) 9/22/11 70,238 90,591
7 The Client 9/29/11 61,074 61,074
8 Countdown 9/29/11 32,100 39,279
9 Pained 9/7/11 24,591 673,342
10 Champ 9/7/11 17,824 514,194
- Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild 7/27/11 10,704 2,171,074
- Hindsight 8/31/11 5,452 761,276
- Blind 8/10/11 4,798 2,355,927


Business was once again a little slow with 1.4 million tickets sold overall. That's slightly below last year's comparable weekend which had 1.8 million admissions. 7 of the top films were Korean and this is now the 9th weekend in a row where the top place has been occupied by a local film.

After strong previews last week, The Crucible (aka Silenced) has conquered the local box office with a big 685,784 tally on its opening weekend, that accounted for a 48.9% share of the marketplace. With nearly a million admissions tucked away already it will be interesting to see how far this goes although it will come up against some stiff competition next weekend.

Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon took its biggest slide yet as it retreated nearly 50% in its 7th weekend, although its 149,183 admissions were enough to push it over 7 million. While it is unlikely to crack 8 million, Arrow will now challenge for the local number 1 spot currently occupied by Sunny and its 7,369,213 take.

Marrying the Mafia IV took another big dive this weekend, this time over 70%. With 74,487 tickets sold this weekend it remains to be seen whether it has enough to go over its predecessors 2.5 million total.

Pained sold 24,591 tickets after falling nearly 80% and now has 673,342 admissions as it winds up its run. Champ suffered a similar fall and 17,824 for a 514,194 total. Outside of the top 10 Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, Hindsight, and Blind all posted small numbers.

The Client and Countdown, two hotly anticipated Autumn releases, had their previews this weekend.  They scored 61,074 and 32,100 admissions respectively and all eyes will be on them when they open in earnest next weekend. Also in the mix for the top place will be The Crucible's sophomore frame.


The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekly Review Round-up (09/17-09/23, 2011)

A good number of new reviews this week including a whole bunch relating to the Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today MOMA screenings currently taking place in New York. Since most of those reviews are from the event itself I've put them in their own section at the bottom.


NEW KOREAN RELEASES

(Front Row Reviews, September 18, 2011)

(Fangoria, September 22, 2011)


RECENT RELEASES

Amen

(Twitch, September 22, 2011)

(Oriental Nightmares, September 19, 2011)

(Beyond Hollywood, September 21, 2011)

(Metro Pulse, September 21, 2011)

(New Korean Cinema, September 22, 2011)

(Manila Bulletin, September 21, 2011)

(Beyond Hollywood, September 18, 2011)

(Beyond Hollywood, September 15, 2011)

The Yellow Sea


PAST FILMS

(Anikor, September 21, 2011)

(Twitch, September 22, 2011)

(Beyond Hollywood, September 18, 2011)

(New Korean Cinema, September 19, 2011)

Rainy Days, 1979
(Init_Scenes, September 19, 2011)

(Metro Pulse, September 21, 2011)

The Chaser, 2008
(sky.com, September 2011)

(DVD Verdict, September 20, 2011)


YEONGHWA: KOREAN FILM TODAY

Influenza, 2004


The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Korean Cinema News (09/15-09/21, 2011)

Not a huge amount of news this week, mainly pieces on the upcoming Busan film fest. Also a couple of interviews and trailers.


KOREAN CINEMA NEWS

Won Bin’s The Man From Nowhere to be released in China
Actor Won Bin‘s blockbuster film The Man From Nowhere will be meeting audiences in China. According to the Beijing, China office of the Korean Film Commission on September 15th, The Man From Nowhere will be released in more than 4,000 cinemas across China on September 16th. Depending on the turnout of the opening week of this intermediate scale distribution, the movie may further expand on the number of cinemas that it will be showing in. (allkpop, September 15, 2011)

Kim Ki-duk to Head Jury of Eurasia Film Festival
The international jury of the seventh Eurasia international festival which opened in the Kazakh city of Almaty on Monday will be headed by South Korean film director Kim Ki-Duk. His last film Arirang will be shown in the "Special Event" programme. (trend.az, september 19, 2011)

Poster revealed for the upcoming Korean movie My Way
A poster for Kang Je-gyu's mega-blockbuster My Way, which reportedly cost $30 million to make, has appeared online, the film is set for release in December. (hancinema.net, September 19, 2011)

Actress Song Hye-kyo plays a documentary producer who forgives a 17-year-old boy for killing her fiance in the movie A Reason to Live, which will premier at the 16th Busan International Film Festival next month. The film is directed by Lee Jeong-hyang, of Art Museum by the Zoo (1998) fame. It was officially invited to premiere at the Gala Presentation of the film festival. (The Chosun Ilbo, September 20, 2011)

DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival Opens Sept. 22
The Third DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival will open Sept. 22 to 28 in Paju, Gyeonggi province, a northern South Korean city bordering North Korea. The event celebrating themes of peace, life and communication will show 100 documentary films from 30 countries around the world. (The Hollywood Reporter, September 20, 2011)

Busan Int'l Film Fest to Shed Light on SE Asian Cinema
Asia's largest film festival, the Busan International Film Festival, will be held from Oct. 6 to14 at five theaters in the city of Busan. Some 307 films from 70 countries will be screened, with 135 premiering at the festival. The festival was formerly known as the Pusan International Film Festival but amended the spelling of its name this year to conform to the official Romanization of the city in which it is held. (The Chosun Ilbo, September 20, 2011)

Haunters Picked as a Must-see of Fantastic Fest
Haunters, a South Korean movie about a child who has the ability to control anyone who makes eye contact with him. He can assemble armies with the power of his mind. "It's very superhero-esque," says Tim League, festival founder. "But there's no costumes. It plays out more like a drama." (The Hollywood Reporter, September 21, 2011)


INTERVIEWS

Kim Man-hee Interview
Paul Quinn interviews the director of the blockbuster Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon which will be the opening of the upcoming London Korean Film Festival. (Hangul Celluloid, September 16, 2011)

Toronto Fest Interview with Mia Wasikowska
Mia Wasikowska discusses working on the new Park Chan-wook film Stoker which is currently in production. Skip down to the final few questions. (The A.V. Club, September 20, 2011)


TRAILERS








(Modern Korean Cinema, September 19, 2011)


Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (09/16-09/18, 2011)

Weekend of September 16-18, 2011:

TitleRelease DateWeekendTotal
1Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon8/10/11292,9316,589,663
2Marrying the Mafia IV9/7/11258,4661,917,256
3Mr. Popper's Penguins (us)9/7/11172,668640,685
4Pained9/7/11105,016555,879
5The Crucible22/9/201180,14689,201
6Rise of the Planet of the Apes (us)17/8/201170,4672,626,488
7Champ9/7/1169,780421,633
8Shark Night 3D (us)15/9/201149,64661,148
9Final Destination 5 (us)9/8/1143,462206,718
10Hindsight31/8/201142,814681,757
-Blind8/10/1129,2712,304,931
-Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild7/27/1123,7332,141,264
-The Day He Arrives8/9/114,50122,966


Following last week's Chuseok festivities, box office receipts have shrunk down considerably with no major new film on wide release. The good news is that just like the last few weeks local fare has dominated on the charts.

Having relinquished its crown to last week's winner Marrying the Mafia IV, Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon is back on top again with 292,931 which represents a sub-30% drop from last weekend. With nearly 6.6 million admissions as of Sunday, Arrow is well positioned to overtake Sunny in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile the latest Marrying the Mafia installment had a predictably steep decline of 55%, taking 258,466 in its sophomore frame. If it manages to level out somewhat it wil easily have enough steam to drive its total above that of the franchise's last entry.

Kwon Sang-woo's lastest Pained saw a standard decline and raked in another 105,016 admissions but after it mediocre opening this may not be enough to bring it over a million.

The Crucible was the only new Korean film to play nationwide but it did so in only 221 theaters for previews and is scheduled for its full release on September 22. Nevertheless it managed to pull in 80,146 which is a good omen for its chances, it remains to be seen how the word-of-mouth will affect its chances.

Cha Tae-hyun's latest comedy Champ took a dive this week and nearly saw its take slashed in half with only 69,780 added to its coffers. It will likely fall out of the top 10 entirely next week.

Hindsight also slowed by nearly 50% with another 42,814 tickets sold. Its chances at one million admissions are all but nil at this point.

Outside of the top 10 Blind and Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild both fell by another 30% and their respective totals now stand at 2,304,931 and 2,141,264. Hong Sang-soo's latest The Day He Arrives added another 4,501 admissions to bring its two-week total to 22,966, a good start for this acclaimed limited release.


The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekly Review Round-Up (09/10-09/16, 2011)

I've probably missed a few things as I am traveling in Dublin but a very wide range of films represented this week including a trio from @refresh_daemon of Init_Scenes who has been very active of late!


RECENT RELEASES

(hancinema.net, September 10, 2011)

(init-scenes.blogspot.com, September 13, 2011)

(The Daily Page, September 7, 2011)

(KoreanIndo, September 10, 2011)

(Modern Korean Cinema, September 10, 2011)

(Twitch, September 10, 2011)

The Unjust (French)
(Des Bons, des Brutes et des CinglĂ©s, September 10, 2011)

(VCinema, September 14, 2011)


PAST FILMS

Breath, 2007
(justpressplay.net, September 9, 2011)

(At the Cinema, September 11, 2011)

(justpressplay.net, September 9, 2011)

Singles, 2003
(init-scenes.blogspot.com, September 9, 2011)

(init-scenes.blogspot.com, September 16, 2011)

(Hangul Celluloid, September 13, 2011)


The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Korean Cinema News (09/05-09/13, 2011)

I'm away in Dublin for a few days so this update is a little lighter than usual. Some features on the rising popularity of Korean literature and a lot of acquisitions of Korean films for international distribution.


KOREAN CINEMA NEWS

Top 6 Art Cinemas in Seoul
For anyone sick of watching the same 10 movie stars go through the same motions in every blockbuster, these six art cinemas around Seoul offer less commercial, more experimental films on their screens. Keep in mind that most of the movies are shown in their original language with Korean subtitles, unless otherwise noted by the theater: 1. Cinecube; 2. Arthouse Momo; 3. Spongehouse; 4. Sangsang Madang Cinema; 5. Seoul Art Cinema; and 6. Media Theater i-Gong. (CNN, September 5, 2011)

Korean director Kim Ki-duk Retrospective at Busan
The 16th Busan International Film Festival, which will be held from October 6-14, 2011 will present a Retrospective of Korean director Kim Ki-duk. Ki-duk made his debut with Five Marines in 1961 and went on to make 66 films in his career. His last film was Yeonggwangui 9 hoimal in 1977. Eight of his works will be screened at the festival: Five Marines (1961); The Barefooted Young (1964); The North and South (1965); Buy My Fist (1966); Horse-year Bride (1966); I Will Be a King for the Day (1966); Monster Yonggari (1967) and; Until That Day (1969). (dearcinema.com, September 6, 2011)

The Day He Arrives Invited to England, Brazil, Austria Film Fests
Korean film The Day He Arrives has been invited to films festivals in England, Austria and Brazil, adding to the fast-growing list of international film events that have called on critically acclaimed director Hong Sang-soo's newest movie. (10asia.co.kr, September 7, 2011)

It’s BIFF Now, The P Is Out
South Korea’s largest and most star-studded film festival – and one of the largest in Asia – is getting a new home and a new acronym. It’s now the Busan International Film Festival, instead of the Pusan International Film Festival. BIFF, not PIFF. Organizers of the festival, which this year runs from Oct. 6 to 14, held news conferences in both Seoul and Busan on Thursday to announce the opening and closing films and some of the winners of various prizes. (The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2011)

Song Il-gon's romance Always will open next month's Busan International Film Festival (6-14 Oct 2011). Always stars So Ji-sup as a former boxing champ traumatised by the death of an opponent who died during a match. After falling in love with a blind girl, played by Han Hyo-ju, he returns to the ring. The event will close with Harada Masato's drama Chronicle of My Mother. Based on Inoue Yasushi's autobiographical novel, the Japanese film was awarded the Special Grand Prize at the recent Montreal World Film Festival. (Film Business Asia, September 8, 2011)

Finecut's New Deals Include Arirang to Italy, Day He Arrives to France
Korean sales company Finecut has announced a raft of deals as the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off. Kim Ki-duk’s documentary Arirang has sold to Italy (Punto Zero), German-speaking Europe (Rapid Eye Movies), and Poland (New Horizons) in addition to Japan and Taiwan. Hong Sang-soo’s The Day He Arrives has sold to France (Les Acacias) and Israel (Nachoshon). Night Fishing, directed by brothers Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong, also sold to Italy (Tucker Film) and German-speaking Europe (Rapid Eye Movies). (Screen Daily, September 9, 2011)

Fueled by Need for Fresh Material, Best-sellers Become Box Office Hits
The soon-to-be released Korean film The Crucible has a sure-fire selling point: the film is based on the novel of the same name by Gong Ji-young, one of a few star authors in Korea whose novels have sold more than a million copies. Although cinematic adaptations of best-sellers do not always guarantee success at the box office, they are providing rich fodder for film production companies looking for fresh material. The formula seems to be working, with theaters reporting record attendance numbers. (Joon Ang Daily, September 9, 2011)

Can Literature be Next 'Hallyu' Hit?
After prominent novelist Shin Kyung-sook rose to international fame with her landmark book Please Look After Mom, global interest in Korean literature began to grow. Shin said that Korean literature seems fresh to readers in other countries and its status is bigger than Koreans think. “They seem to be looking for an alternative in humanity and community spirit, which is richly expressed in Korean literature,” she said in a recent press conference. (The Korea Times, September 9, 2011)

Cine Asia/Showbox Pick up Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon and More for UK Release
Cine Asia/Showbox are just unstoppable, it seems. In the shadow of their losses from the Sony fire last month, they have announced several new acquisitions for the fourth quarter of 2011, including recent South Korean action hit, Arrow The Ultimate Weapon. Also included in their plans are Spanish freak-out Neon Flesh, British horror Panic Button, and Korea's selection for the 2012 Oscars, The Front Line. (Twitch, September 10, 2011)

Modern Korean Literature: Searching for Identity at Home and in the World
If you only listen to one nearly two-hour podcast on Korean modern literature, it has to be this one by Ann Choi Wan. Wan takes you from the start of modern literature (Yi Kwang-su, more or less, and she talks about his relationship with modernity and romance and how that doesn’t work out quite that way it does in the west) all the way up to the recent successes of post-modern Korean fiction. (klit.com, September 10, 2011)

The Host in 3D Will Premiere at the 2011 Pusan International Film Festival
The Host is set to be shown in 3D for the first time at the 2011 Pusan International Film Festival. The original version was released in 2006 and set a box-office record in a very short amount of time. Even though the original version was released five years ago, the 3D version is expected to give its viewers a whole new experience. It is also expected to be a great hit in the whole Asian film market. (soompi.com, September 11, 2011)

Well Go Lands Rights To Two Korean Pics
Well Go USA has acquired North American TV, DVD, digital, and VOD rights to the South Korean war drama My Way from CJ Entertainment. Well Go also bought from CJ all North American rights including theatrical to the 3D-animated actioner Tarbosaurus. (Deadline, September 12, 2011)
Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon with Park Hae-il, Ryoo Seung-yong and Moon Chae-won has maintained its success during the Chuseok holiday as it crossed 6 million admissions. According to the Korean Film Commission, Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon was released on August 10th and has so far recorded 6,172,643 audiences. (hancinema.net, September 13, 2011)


INTERVIEW

Director Hong Sang-soo: Part 1
(10asia.co.kr, September 7, 2011)


TRAILERS






(Modern Korean Cinema, September 12, 2011)


Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (09/09-09/11, 2011)

This is the first edition of Modern Korean Cinema's Weekly B.O. Update and as such is in a trial phase and is subject to changes over the coming weeks. I know that there are other places which provide box office information and analysis for Korean cinema but I believe that I can bring a slightly different approach. I aim to be analytical and thorough as I examine the weekly returns, in addition, I will keep a tab which will collect all of these updates for easy reference.

Please let me know what you think of this new component of the site, I hope you find it useful!


Title Release Date   Weekend   Total

1 Marrying the Mafia IV 7/9/2011 601,363 806,376

2 Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon 10/8/2011 405,816 5,709,350
3 Mr. Popper's Penguins (us) 7/9/2011 170,400 193,738
4 Pained 7/9/2011 157,389 248,920

5 Rise of the Planet Apes (us) 17/8/2011 125,817 2,401,266
6 Champ 7/9/2011 113,622 161,549
7 Hindsight 31/8/2011 80,855 539,597

8 Columbiana (us) 31/8/2011 68,452 416,033

9 Final Destination 5 (us) 8/9/2011 65,119 87,176

10 Seafood (us) 8/9/2011 42,065 43,307

- Blind 10/8/2011 41,172 2,241,164
- Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild 27/7/2011 37,858 1,057,027
- The Day He Arrives 8/9/2011 8,017 10,964






















After a strong start with last week's previews, the latest installment of the immensely popular Marrying the Mafia franchise unseated Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon, which has dominated at the top of the charts for four consecutive weekends. With just over 600,000 admissions over the weekend, Marrying the Mafia IV: Family Ordeal is poised to do solid business through the rest of September unless it succumbs to a strong case of sequelitis. The last entry in the series wound up with over 2.5 million ticket sales.

Arrow continues to do very well having added another 400,000 tickets to its haul this weekend (down just over 10%) which now stands at over 5.7 million. The question now is whether it can unseat Sunny as the best-selling Korean film of the year and Transformers 3 at the top of the yearly chart.

Song Kang-ho's latest Hindsight has crumbled after its so-so opening with a take of 80,000, down over 70%. It is unlikely to hit the  million mark at this point, surprising given the star's stellar pedigree.

Pained, which teams heartthrob Kwon Sang-woo with action director Kwak Kyung-taek had a modest opening with nearly 160,000 tickets sold. Reviews have been strong so this may pick up in coming weeks after positive word of mouth sets in.

Champ, the third platform Korean release of the week, starring Cha Tae-hyeon also had a light opening with just over 110,000 tickets sold. I just hope that this horse-themed sports drama is better than last year's woeful Grand Prix, which floundered at the box office.

Just outside of the top ten, Blind and Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild, nearing the end of their runs, added 41,000 and 37,000 respectively to their tallies to bring their cumulative grosses to 2.24 and 2.05 million.

Hong Sang-soo's latest, The Day He Arrives opened to 8,000 admissions despite positive buzz and a successful festival run which began at Cannes earlier this year. Sadly, this is roughly comparable to his previous films.


The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Apprehenders a.k.a. Officer of the Year (Chae-po-wang) 2011

The Apprehenders a.k.a. Officer of the Year is one of the few bright spots in what has been a relatively disappointing commercial output for chungmoro in early 2011. Park Joong-hoon, one of the heavyweight stars of past and current Korean cinema who has experienced a renaissance recently with strong roles in Haeundae (2009), Hanji (2011), and especially My Dear Desperado (2010), subsequent to a three-year hiatus, teams up with Lee Seon-gyoon, who has impressed recently with roles in Hong Sang-soo’s Oki’s Movie and the solid rom-com Petty Romance (both from last year), for this effective and often-hilarious action comedy.

Heads of police demand results
The film walks on often trod ground as it focuses on the police in Korea and their less than noble priorities when it comes to apprehending criminals. Even the slightest exposure to Korean cinema will result in this being no surprise but although it doesn’t go to the lengths of exposing a perceived national pariah in the way that the likes of Peppermint Candy (1999), The Unjust (2010) and many others have, it strangely brought to mind my favorite television series, The Wire (2002-2008). While one has really little to do with the other, I was reminded of one of the main themes which ran through most of the series, 'duking the stats' to make the endeavors of the department far more palatable than they really are, for the benefit of perception and politics.

The Apprehenders uses this statistical obsession as its starting point, Detective Hwang (Park) is the big kahuna of law enforcement with more arrests than anyone, he is the reigning Officer of the Year, while police academy graduate Detective Jeong (Lee) desperately wants the prize money that this honor affords in order to buy a house with his bride-to-be. They are the lead detectives in two competing precincts, Mapo and Seodaemun, who seem hellbent on upstaging one another and stealing each other’s collars. While this large scale game of one-upmanship and bravado is essentially a way to pit the main protagonists against each other, it does cleverly and surreptitiously introduces the idea that policing in Korea is not performed with the intent that it should be. As far as legal, judiciary, and enforcement careers go, there has always been a problem, the world over, as to how one should balance the careerist advancement of the self and the moralistic pursuit of the greater good. More often than not, the greater good is a noble notion that is idealized but not sought or achieved.

Mapo vs. Seodaemun
While the detectives go at it, there is a series of brutal rapes that take place in the city and now the police commissioner has made it a priority to track the perpetrator down. Naturally, a joint task force is created between Mapo and Seodaemun and instead of helping one another catch the criminal, they hinder eachother and arguably spoil the chance to catch him, in effect leaving him free to violate further victims. I wonder if it was the intent of the filmmakers to lay this quandary in our laps, was it the reckless, arrogant, and stubborn refusal of the principal detectives to collaborate that lead to an innocent 15-year-old being brutally beaten and raped after they let him get away? I’m not sure that they are directly inferring this, but the possibility, which could significantly alter how you the view the film, is there.

Aside from this, the film is a relatively straightforward dual protagonist narrative that is played for broad laughs and these are achieved in no small part due to the strong chemistry between Park and Lee. The direction is even-handed and lets the actors shine through the script’s often clever dialogue. There were three people credited with writing this screenplay, including director Lim Chan-ik, Choi Jin-won is the only one with any work I’m familiar with as he wrote last year’s Bad Couple, which I didn’t like very much but this may have had more to do with the lead actors in that project rather than his writing ability.

Det. Hwang vs. Det. Jeong
My main gripe with film was the tone it took as the protagonists got together to genuinely catch the rapist. It got much more somber and sadly self-serious as we made the rounds of the traumatized victims, I felt it not in keeping with the levity of the rest of the film and when contrasted with the main comedic thrust of the plot, it seemed borderline inappropriate.

The Apprehenders works best as a fun action comedy anchored by two strong lead performances. The chase sequences are well-rendered, the supporting characters each have something to add, and the great dialogue keeps everything rolling together. A solid genre entry all around.


Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.