Showing posts with label the crucible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the crucible. Show all posts

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PiFan 2012: The Crucible (시련, Silyeon) 2012

Part of MKC's coverage of the 16th Puchon International Film Festival.

Among the Korean independent fare at this year’s PiFan there were some wonderful works that will likely enjoy healthy festival runs and should find wider audiences but along with the good there is inevitably going to be some bad. One film that will quickly be forgotten is a low-budget take on Arthur Miller’s famed play ‘The Crucible’. However, please don’t confuse this film with last year’s much-ballyhooed and far more worthwhile Silenced, which was originally known as The Crucible In English.

Though not particularly familiar with Miller’s play, it’s easy to see that the filmmakers behind this work got themselves a little too caught up in the mechanics of putting on a theater piece as well as their attempt at forging a meta-narrative around the staging of a play which begins to take on the story and themes of the work in question. The story is as follows: a student theater troupe preparing to perform their rendition of Miller’s play following the mysterious death of one of their cast members. One night during rehearsals things take a turn for the worse and the events that begin to unfold mirror those of the play.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/04-11/06, 2011)

Weekend of November 4-6, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Punch 10/20/11 574,631 2,465,751
2 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 245,537 2,499,600
3 Couples 11/2/11 144,623 189,965
4 In Time (us) 10/27/11 87,109 406,663
5 Always 10/20/11 60,106 894,813
6 Mr. Idol 11/3/11 33,391 48,780
7 The Help (us) 11/3/11 33,181 49,556
8 The Kick 11/3/11 20,865 27,101
9 Guzaarish (India) 11/3/11 18,851 30,894
10 Johnny English Reborn (uk) 11/2/11 17,277 20,362
- Penny Pinchers     11/10/11 9,475 10,175
- Teacher and the Devils       10/27/11 3,579 12,535
- The Crucible        9/22/11 3,561 4,662,753
- The Client       9/29/11 2,880 2,389,540
- A Reason to Live 10/27/11 2,573 55,583

Business remained strong this weekend with 1.28 million admissions, another year-on-year increase, and a 65% market share for Korean films.  Punch is once again the big news this week as it has topped the chart for a third consecutive week.  Even more impressive is that after last week's big increase over its opening weekend, it doesn't seem to have lost any business this time around.  Its 574,631 take lifted its total to 2,465,751 which is already good enough for no. 8 on the yearly chart.  Word of mouth is very strong for this pic and it may well have a lot more milestones in store.

Real Steel same in at no. 2 for the third straight week with 245,537, which is down about a third from last week.  It has performed very strongly over the past month and looks set to cross 3 million in the coming weeks which should land it on the combined top 10 for the year.

Couples went wide this week on nearly 400 screens but only mustered a so-so 144,623.  With Punch dominating the way it is, Couples will likely take a big drop next week and disappear from marquees soon after.

Always dropped by two thirds for 60,106 and has now accumulated 894,813 to date.  The 1 million mark is tantalizingly close but may be a fraction too far out of reach.  While not a bad number for a romance film, this performance will likely be seen as a bit disappointing given the saturated marketing surrounding it, especially as it opened the recent new-look Busan International Film Festival.  Bad reviews and poor word of mouth are what sunk it in the end.

Mr. Idol, which has had one of the more aggressive marketing campaigns of the season, opening with an embarrassing 33,391, that's a little less than 100 tickets per screen for its first weekend.  As enormous as K-Pop is (at home and abroad), it has yet to be successfully mined for a feature film.  Execs may be scratching their heads at the poor performance of what seemed like a surefire hit but in Korea you can't beat bad reviews, no matter how big your fan base is.

The Kick, which has generated a lot of buzz and press coverage as the first Thai-Korean marital arts production, also got off to a poor start with 20,865, unless these are previews which, at 154 screens, may well be the case.

Three other movies opened this weekend from across the world, The Help (USA) with 33,181, Guzaarish (India) with 18,851, and Johnny English Reborn (UK) with 17,277.  These are all mediocre hauls but none of these pictures could have been expected to perform well in Korea.

Penny Pinchers had its previews this weekend and will go wide later this week but its 9,475 start does not bode particularly well.  I imagine it will open somewhere in the middle of the chart.  The big question is if Punch can continue its extraordinary run!

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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (10/21-10/23, 2011)

Weekend of October 21-23, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Punch 10/20/11 461,290 584,528
2 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 453,322 1,485,699
3 Always 10/20/11 268,422 372,552
4 The Client 9/29/11 115,135 2,256,985
5 The Three Musketeers (uk) 10/12/11 99,595 564,313
6 Silenced 9/22/11 80,528 4,544,968
7 Paranormal Activity 3 (us) 10/20/11 49,321 56,590
8 Hit 10/13/11 14,372 84,142
9 Major: Yujo No Winning Shot (jp) 10/20/11 7,085 8,251
10 War of the Arrows Director's Cut 5,256 6,290
- Couples       11/3/11 4,430 6,126
- War of the Arrows       8/10/11 3,810 7,451,344
- Fighting Spirit       10/6/11 2,558 209,104
- Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild       7/27/11 1,359 2,197,866

A Korean film reclaimed the top spot this weekend, but only by a very slim margin.  Once again business gained over last year's comparable frame, going up 50% to 1.59 million admissions.  The Korean market share also saw a healthy increase over last weekend, topping 60%, last year it was 50%.

The number one movie was Punch, which after getting good notices at the Busan International Film Festival and performing well in previews last weekend, opened to a solid 461,290.  Word of mouth will likely be strong, which means it could play well through November.  In recent years, Kim Yun-seok has turned into a massive force at the box office.  One of the few bankable stars remaining in Korea, his most recent features have all gone way past 2 million viewers: The Yellow Sea (2.42 million), Woochi (6.1 million), Running Turtle (3.05 million), and The Chaser (5.07 million). If Punch continues this trend, which it likely will, his streak is not likely to an end any time soon with the release of the much anticipated The Thieves just around the corner.

Coming a very close second this weekend was Real Steel in its sophomore frame with 453,322, down only 25%.  As around the rest of the world, the film seems to be playing well with families.  The Three Musketeers fell 64% for 99,595, it will likely fall far down the chart next weekend.  The only major Hollywood release was Paranormal Activity 3, which despite posting a franchise best opening in the US, opened to a small 49,321, about 30% of what the previous installment.  Major: Yujo No Winning Shot from Japan also opened low on the chart with 7,085.

Always seemed poised for a decent opening considering all the attention it received as BIFF's opening gala presentation and its promising previews last weekend but the negative buzz and critical savaging of the picture as already caught up to it.  It opened to a disappointing 268,422 and will likely exit the Top 10 swiftly.

The Client, which had been holding on to the number 2 spot for three weeks fell to number 4 with a 60% drop.  Its weekend haul of 115, 135 was enough for it clinch the last spot in the yearly top 10.  It may still have enough left in the tank to crawl up two more rungs and unseat Marrying the Mafia IV.

Silenced (aka The Crucible) took another big fall this weekend (67%) as the media attention it had been receiving has died down, it added 80, 528 to its total.  I wonder whether it could still move up to number 3 for the year by topping Detective K's total.

Hit came in at number 8 with 14,372 after seeing two thirds of its theater count slashed. Rounding out the top 10 was the director's cut of War of the Arrows which opened in select locations to 5,256.  The new cut may play wider depending on its performance but I think it is more likely to tour around different locations.

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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Korean Cinema News (10/13-10/19, 2011)

This week is Modern Korean Cinema's largest edition of the Korean Cinema News update.  A whopping 64 articles were culled for many sources and include coverage of the recently wrapped Busan Film Festival, the 48th Daejong Film Awards (by yours truly), major news articles on the continuing Silenced scandal, eight interviews and Q&As, and a host of new trailers and posters.



Toronto Reel Asian Int Film Festival Unveils Lineup
Rotterdam Tiger Award winners Journals of Musan, by South Korean director Park Jung-Bum has been booked into the Toronto festival include Rotterdam Tiger Award winners Journals of Musan.  (The Hollywood Reporter, October 12, 2011)

Finecut Does a Raft of Sales in Busan, Mipcom
Seoul-based sales company Finecut has announced its recent deals done at the Asian Film Market and Mipcom which include the animation Leafie selling to Portugal, Russia and Indonesia.  (KOBIZ, October 13, 2011)

Storm, Life and Poonsang head to Rome
A trio of Asian films have been selected for the main competition at the International Rome Film Festival (27 Oct – 4 Nov 2011), and the festival has a wide scattering of Asia-Pacific titles through its many different sections.  In main competition are Gu Changwei's Love for Life, Juhn Jai-hong's Poongsan, and Fred Schepisi's The Eye of the Storm.  (Film Business Asia, October 13, 2011)

Won Bin’s The Man From Nowhere is This Month’s Most Popular Movie on Hulu
Many of you have probably heard about or seen Won Bin’s epic 2010 action-drama movie, The Man From Nowhere.  The film has won numerous awards in Korea, such as Best Actor, Best New Actress, Most Popular, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, and much more.  (allkpop, October 12, 2011)

Hawaii International Film Festival Kicks Off With Korea's Oscar Submission
This year’s opening night film is the Korean submission for the Oscar’s Best Foreign Language film The Front Line.  It will screen at 8 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 13 at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX.  (Hawai'i Magazine, October 12, 2011)

Silent For Too Long
For some years, South Korea has punched far above its weight in the film industry.  Directors here, however, tend to lament the fact that the Korean flicks that do well with Western audiences tend to be of the more extreme variety, such as the admittedly excellent Oldboy (2003), or anything by Kim Ki-duk.  (The Economist, October 11, 2011)

CJ Launches Direct Distribution in Vietnam
CJ E&M Pictures, part of CJ E&M Corp, has begun direct distribution of its own film titles in Vietnam, the fourth territory where the South Korean giant self-distributes theatrically.  Released last week (7 Oct), motor bike action comedy Quick was the first title to be handled under the new arrangement.  (Film Business Asia, October 13, 2011)

South Korean Film Shooting at Briarcliff High School
Films trucks are back at Briarcliff High School on North Druid Hills Road, but it's not MTV's Teen Wolf this time around.  A South Korean film production is currently shooting at the shuttered school for part of this week, DeKalb County School System spokeswoman Joye Burton said.  The movie is called Papa.  (Patch, October 12, 2011)

Korea Contents Fund Showcase at Busan
At the 16thBusan International Film Festival (BIFF) and the 6th Asian Film Market, fund managers presented a variety of options for filmmakers at the Korea Contents Fund Showcase yesterday.  BIFF Festival Director LEE Yong Kwan opened the event with a message of welcome and thanks.  (KOBIZ, October 12, 2011)

BEXCO effect for Asia Film Market?
Asian Film Market 2011 showed distinct growth this year with its relocation to BEXCO.  Opening on October 10, the number of participants increased 39% from last year and the number of sales booths jumped 67%. As of the second day, there were 1,100 registrants, up from 789 the year before.  “This year, the number of market screenings increased from 47 to 64, with 60 films on show up from 39 in six theaters as opposed to four,” said Art Film Market organizers.  (KOBIZ, October 12, 2011)

Busan Festival Takes a Bold Step, But Is Asian Cinema Ready?
"Change" was the key word at this year's Busan International Film Festival, and not just because the organizers finally succumbed to the host South Korean port city's request to change the name from "Pusan."  Lee Yong Kwan took over as festival director from founder Kim Dong Ho, who is credited with turning BIFF into Asia's biggest and most important film festival.  But the main news was the opening of the Busan Cinema Center, a huge facility that has been in the works for more than a decade.  (The Japan Times, October 14, 2011)

Korean Film Festival Shows Asia’s Big-Budget Dreams
For a glimpse of where South Korea’s movie industry is headed, one only need wander through the new home of the country’s biggest film festival.  The sprawling Busan Cinema Center – which government officials describe as “beautiful,” “grand” and a “masterpiece” – is a testament to the country’s ambitions.  (The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2011)

New Look Busan Film Festival Draws to a Close
The Busan International Film Festival drew to a close on Thursday, with the 2011 edition featuring numerous firsts, but leaving question marks about the festival’s direction going forward.  This year marked the inauguration of the new $150-million Busan Cinema Center, designed by Austrian architects Coop Himmelblau, a dedicated facility that will serve as the festival’s permanent home.  (The Hollywood Reporter, October 13, 2011)

Busan Film Festival Highlights Politics, Pizzazz
Asia's most renowned film festival drew to a close in the South Korean port city of Busan on Friday, with films from new directors in Iran and the Philippines capturing its main prizes in an affirmation of the event's focus on emerging Asian talent.  (Reuters, October 14, 2011)

The Serious Side of Song Hye-kyo
For Song Hye-kyo, the days of the romantic roles may be a thing of the past – for now.  The 28-year-old beauty spoke yesterday at a press conference for her role in director Lee Jeong-hyang's A Reason to Live, where she portray's a hurt woman questioned between the right and wrongs of capital punishment after losing her fiance.  (Busan Haps, October 10, 2011)

Korean War Still Haunts SKorea's Top Filmmaker
The Korean War ended nearly 60 years ago, but it still haunts South Korea's most celebrated filmmaker.  Speaking in an interview Friday on the sidelines of the Busan International Film Festival, Im Kwon-taek said he did not imagine he would be so successful when he was a boy selling combat boots on the streets of Busan while the city was besieged by North Korean forces in a 1950 attack.  (, October 7, 2011)

Asian Film Market Closes With Record Results
The 6th Asian Film Market 2011 closed last night after four days at its new venue, the BEXCO (the Busan Exhibition Convention Center).  The market combined sales companies and BIFCOM locations and post-production services this year and saw an increase of 113% in exhibitors’ booths and 38% more participants than last year.  (KOBIZ, October 14, 2011)

Why South Korea's Action Movies Blow Hollywood Out of the Yellow Sea
These may seem golden times for the action movie. An only slightly embalmed-looking Arnold Schwarzenegger is merrily tweeting from the Bulgarian set of The Expendables 2, while his co-star Bruce Willis has announced a return to the fray with a fifth Die Hard.  Or perhaps that all strikes you as a little short-termist.  However much fun is had in the meantime, it can't be a sign of good health for any genre to become so reliant on men who have clearly, to use the cinematically correct parlance, got too old for this shit.  (The Guardian, October 14, 2011)

Asian Filmmakers Explore New Forms of Collaboration
Bustling with thousands of press, cinephiles and film aficionados, the port city of Busan turned into a place promoting the latest collaborative film projects of many Asian production companies during the 16th Busan International Film Festival during the past week.  First on the list was Yang Gui Fei, a joint production including Korea, China and Japan.  Produced by the state-run China Film Group Corporation, Korean filmmaker Kwak Jae-yong, famous for his 2001 hit My Sassy Girl, is at the helm of the 18-billion-won ($1.5 million) film.  (Joong Ang Daily, October 14, 2011)
Asia's top film festival drew to a close on Friday after nine days packed with screenings that left audiences enthused over the future of the region?s movie industry.  The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) rolled out the red carpet to a cast of A-list stars and showcased more than 300 productions from all over the world – but it has been the local films that have left cinema-goers buzzing.  (AFP, October 14, 2011)

Asia's Top Film Festival Troubled by Rain Leaks
Organizers of Asia's top film festival vowed that its closing ceremony would still go ahead Friday despite rainwater leaking into the lavish new multiplex that has been the showpiece for this year's event.  Rainwater poured from at least a dozen cracks Friday in the Busan Cinema Center, a $156-million theater that has hosted the Busan International Film Festival since last week – worrying movie fans and prompting organizers to express regret and convene an emergency meeting.  (Bloomberg Businessweek, October 14, 2011)

Eduardo Noriega Is Villain in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Stand
Arnold Schwarzenegger has had to face some menacing villains in his time.  Who can forget the unstoppable and unrelenting Robert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the ultimate all seeing evil Gabriel Byrne as The Devil in End of Days, the madness of the Christmas Day shopping spree in Jingle All The Way, or even a clone of himself in The Sixth Day?  (Whatculture!, October 13, 2011)

Seduced by Choked, Asia’s Busan Film Festival Transforms
For the past sixteen years, the Pusan International Film Festival has often featured fireworks on its opening nights.  This year, however, was a little different.  The multicolored lights flashing over the heads of audience members were still impressive, but they were electronic, a vast LED light-show that ushered in a year of change for Asia’s largest film event, which concluded with the world premiere of Harada Masato’s Chronicle of my Mother.  (indieWIRE, October 14, 2011)

Authority and Power in Korean Cinema
The representation of authority in modern Korean cinema has me perplexed.  The power and agency public organisations should hold is lacking, with institutions being portrayed as weak, incompetent, and unprofessional.  This is not a judgement but rather an observation that recent films such as The Crucible and Poongsan have confirmed.  Political corruption, police incompetence, and individual responsibility seems to be some of strongest themes running through contemporary Korean cinema.  (, October 15, 2011)

Films to Strengthen Local Asian Communities
The San Diego Asian Film Festival was created with one mission in mind: to foster better understanding of the different cultures within the Asian community.  With the festival’s 12th year beginning next week, the mission remains the same as San Diegans continue to learn.  (Patch, October 14, 2011)

Na Hong-jin a Judge For the 13th Mumbai Film Festival
Na-Hong Jin, who received numerous awards and acclaim for his films The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010), is on the jury for the 13th Mumbai Film Festival.  (, October 14, 2011)

In Pusan, a Heroine, a Villain, and 23,000 Extras
It’s about a woman alone on a crane in a naval construction site, in Pusan, since the 6th of January.  We’re in October and she’s still up there.  Meaning she lived on that crane, 35 meters high, during 8 months, without electricity (at least until July, to be confirmed now) including in the awfully freezing winter and the amazingly rainy summer.  For what ?  (Timeless, bottomless, September 30, 2011)

Film Underscores Koreans' Growing Anger Over Sex Crimes
At an appeals court in the southwestern city of Gwangju in 2006, a school official was convicted of raping a 13-year-old deaf girl and sentenced to one year in prison.  When the verdict came, an outraged middle-aged man, also deaf, let out an incomprehensible cry from the galley, signaling frantically with sign language.  (The New York Times, October 17, 2011)

On BIFF 2011 Menu: Films About Monsters and Men Who Love Men
This year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) yet again offered cineastes a diverse menu of films. Bulletin Entertainment had the privilege of watching some of these and we present here reviews of those we found most interesting.  (Manila Bulletin, October 17, 2011)

Breaking Up Is Not So Very Hard to Do... If Done Online
25-year-old Tu Weiming specializes in acting as a "break-up" agent.  In other words, he is paid by one half of a couple to tell the other that the relationship is over.  Tu launched his business in November last year after watching the Korean film Sad Movie (2005), in which the hero plays the same role.  (China Daily, October 17, 2011)

48th Daejong Film Awards
The Daejong film awards are the oldest and most prestigious film industry awards in Korea.  They are essentially the Korean oscars and they will soon be celebrating their 50th edition.   Just like the Oscars, they feature musical performances, celebrity presenters, and a host of other similarities. (Modern Korean Cinema, October 17, 2011)

Ex-Teacher Accuses Dogani School of Murdering Students
A former teacher at a special school for the deaf, which has been criticized over a sexual assault and rape scandal, claimed two students there were abused to death and buried secretly about 50 years ago.  The revelation comes amid public anger against repeated rapes and sexual harassment by school staffers on students after the film Dogani, titled The Crucible in English, based on the true story, was released recently.  (The Korea Times, October 17, 2011)

Johnny Knoxville and Forest Whitaker Join Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kim Ji-woon's The Last Stand
The world has become a much stranger place with word that Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker and Luis Guzman have joined the cast of Kim Ji-woon's Arnold Schwarzenegger led picture The Last Stand.  (Twitch, October 17, 2011)

Denver Film Festival, Focus On A National Cinema: South Korea
Though still a stranger to the multiplexes and only an occasional visitor to arthouses, South Korean cinema is (and has been for decades) a staple in film festivals around the world.  And while what we get here in the States tends toward the outrageous (The Host, 2006; The Good, The Bad, The Weird, 2008; I Saw the Devil, 2010), the industry is wildly diverse.  (, October 2011)

South Korean Films Claim Narrow B.O. Win
Local and foreign films largely tied at the South Korean box office in the first nine months of the year, representing a significant improvement for Korea's home grown movies at the expense of imported titles.  (Film Business Asia, October 11, 2011)

Watch Films from the Paris Korean Film Festival for Free
Since 2006, the Paris Korean Film Festival (Festival Franco-Coréen du Film which ran through October 18) has screened a wide variety of Korean films in the Latin Quarter of the City of Light.  This year, the Festival and MUBI are presenting a generous sampling of 17 films you can now watch for free. (, October 11, 2011)

The Golden Age of Korean Cinema & the Legend of Shin Film
A biography of Korean director and studio head Shin Sang-ok, who worked both sides of the peninsula's north-south divide.  (Variety, October 17, 2011)

Korea's Finecut Sells Poongsan and Leafie
Korean animated feature Leafie and the Kim Ki-duk-produced Poongsan reaped a fine harvest for Seoul-based sales agent Finecut at the Asian Film Market in Busan and MIPCOM in Cannes.  (The Hollywood Reporter, October 17, 2011)

Schwarzenegger Starts Shooting New Film, The Last Stand
Lionsgate says Korean director Kim Jee-Woon began shooting his new action flick The Last Stand, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monday.  The announcement was made by Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake and President of Production Michael Paseornek.  (, October 17, 2011)

Actress Im Soo Jung Joins Bae Yong Joon's Key East Entertainment
Another acting heavyweight joins the top stars in Bae Yong Joon’s management agency, Key East Entertainment.  It was reported that actress Im Soo Jung, most recently seen in the Cannes entry Come Rain, Come Shine with Hyun Bin has signed with Key East.  Im Soo Jung was formerly under the management of Sidus HQ.  (soompi, October 17, 2011)

Korean Films Top Sitges Festival
Director Na Hong-jin was named best director for his action-thriller The Yellow Sea (2010) in the official competition section and the team of brothers Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong was awarded best motion picture for their fantasy-horror film Night Fishing in the Noves Visions category. Director Ryoo Seung-wan’s The Unjust (2010) won the best motion picture award in a category recognizing movies produced in Asia and director Oh Sung-yoon’s animated film Leafie received an award for best Sitgest family film in the Gertie Award category for animation.  (Joong Ang Daily, October 18, 2011)

South Korean Sex Crime Movie Highlights Nation’s Anger
In 2006, four teachers and administrators at a South Korean school for the deaf were convicted of raping or sexually molesting at least eight students, ages 7 to 22.  Due to the country's lenient sentencing for sexual abuse, only two of the four officials served jail time.  The case received limited attention at the time, but a new film based on the story has helped to fuel the nation's growing outrage.  (Jezebel, October 18, 2011)

The Daejong Film Awards
Often referred to as ‘The Korean Oscars’, the 48th Daejong Film Awards were held in at the Sejong Center in Seoul on Monday the 18th.  As usual, the red carpet was rolled out for the stars and for their fashionable entrances.  Here are pictures of the actors, actresses, and couples that attended.  (Hanguk Yeonghwa, October 18, 2011)

S.Korea Writer Hopes Hit Film Brings Legal Changes
The South Korean author of a novel turned box-office hit about teachers who sexually abused disabled students has vowed to fight to the end to change what she says are outdated and weak sex crime laws.  (, October 19, 2011)

BIFF Organizers Clash Over Festival Expansion
“It started with Oh In-hye’s revealing outfit and ended with an embarrassing leak.”  This was the curt assessment offered by a film company president on the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which wrapped up last Friday.  The subject of the lament was a variety of construction problems, including leaking rainwater on the last day at the exclusive Outdoor Theatre in Busan’s Haeundae neighborhood, which poured cold water, so to speak, on the 2011 festival’s fine selection of films.  (The Hankyoreh, October 19, 2011)

Korean Director Lee Chang-dong Gets Major Drama From Thwarted Lives
South Korea boasts the most interesting film scene in the world right now, and part of the reason it’s so interesting is that, on the surface, it’s not that interesting.  That is, there is no particular stylistic flash or groundbreaking type of work or new school of cinema you can attribute to the nation’s filmmakers.  (Baltimore City Paper, October 19, 2011)

Press conference for A Reason To Live took place at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 8, 2011.  Appearing as speakers are director Lee Jeong-Hyang, actress Song Hye-Kyo, and actress Nam Ji-Hyun.  AsianMediaWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.  (Asian Media Wiki, October 8, 2011)

Kim Kkobbi (Interview) – Flowerain Is My Middle Name
Kim Kkobbi, the actress & star of many varied films such as Ghost Theatre (2006), Breathless (2008), Jealousy Is My Middle Name (2002), and the forthcoming release, Ashamed talks to Mini Mini Movie.  (Mini Mini Movie, October 15, 2011)

Meet the Taekwondo Family in Prachya Pinkaew's The Kick
If your not fluent in the Korean language, then you'll miss out on what the cast of Prachya Pinkaew's martial arts comedy The Kick is talking about in terms of their individual role.  Don't worry because atleast there is some footage of Taekwondo action goodness to keep the uninitiated happy.  (Twitch, October 14, 2011 - Korean)

Listening to Korean Cinema: The VCinema Show
The VCinema Show is a well established podcast, which has recently released its thirty-fifth episode.  An accessible mixture of chat and opinion along with a strong knowledge of their subjects, a typical episode of the podcast focuses on one specific film which is discussed in terms of background, cast and crew, and country of origin.  The VCinema podcast manages to cover a mix of titles from across Asia that you may of heard of, alongside titles that you possibly won’t.  (New Korean Cinema, October 16, 2011)

BIFF: King of Pigs Q&A
Q&A for The King of the Pigs took place after a screening of the movie at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 14, 2011.  Appearing as speakers are actor Yang Ik-Jun, actress Kim Kkobbi and director Yeun Sang-Ho.  AsianMediaWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.  (Asian Media Wiki, October 14, 2011)

Interview With Actor So Ji-sub
Korean entertainment news purveyor 10 asia conducts an interview with So Ji-sub, star of Always, which recently opened the Busan International Film Festival and will open wide this week.  (10 asia, October 17, 2011)

Forgiveness Should Not Be Forced: Lee Jeong-hyang
Director talks about issues of capital punishment and domestic violence in her upcoming film.  She made a highly successful debut with a charming romantic comedy in the late 1990s, and enjoyed another box-office home run with a heart-warming tale of a grandmother and a grandson in 2002.  (The Korea Times, October 16, 2011)

An interview from enewsworld with Punch star Park Hyo-joo.  The film opens wide this week in Korea.  (enewsworld, October 17, 2011)



Teacher and the Devils


(Modern Korean Cinema, October 17, 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. 

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (10/14-10/16, 2011)

Weekend of October 14-16, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 590,043 789,230
2 The Client 9/29/11 282,910 2,013,874
3 The Three Musketeers (uk) 10/12/11 258,299 376,220
4 Silenced 9/22/11 235,977 4,331,176
5 Punch 10/20/11 56,116 65,408
6 Always 10/20/11 45,687 46,606
7 Fighting Spirit 10/6/11 29,617 192,831
8 Hit 10/13/11 21,284 29,041
9 War of the Arrows 8/10/11 19,810 7,430,360
10 Countdown 9/29/11 10,324 461,704
- Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild 27/7/11 1,300 2,195,700
- The Day He Arrives 8/9/11 510 42,983
- Ordinary Days 29/9/11 98 1,517
- Scars 13/10/11 81 132

After 11 weekends with a Korean release claiming the top spot at the box office, this week's usurper is Real Steel, Hollywood's new blockbuster which played well in previews last week.  This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise as there was no major Korean release this week and also given the fact that the year's other robot themed tentpole release is Korea's top grosser of the year (Transformers 3 with 7,790,426).

The Client clung to the number two spot for its third straight week with a 282,910 take.  This represents a drop slightly over 40% and puts into doubt whether it can join the 3 million club as it has only just cracked the two million mark.

Silenced (aka The Crucible) took another big tumble (52%) as its mass media exposure begins to fade.  It took 235,977 this weekend and dropped three places.  It had already crossed the four million mark before the weekend but its chances of cracking five look precarious, especially if it keeps suffering such steep falls.

Punch and Always were next at 56,116 and 45,687 respectively as they played in previews.  These are both strong figures for the recent Busan Film Fest features.  They open wide next week and will likely battle it out for first place.  Kim Sang-jin's Fighting Spirit took a big 70% dive after its lackluster opening.  It added 29,617 for a 192,831 total, a disappointing result and this may drop out of the top 10 as early as next week.

Hit, a new film starring Han Jae-suk also had a limited opening this past weekend but its 21,284 admissions does not bode well for its chances.  War of the Arrows added 19,810 admissions to its massive total which now stands at 7,430,360.  Finally Countdown crumbled again with 10,324 tickets sold.

This weekend's take amounted to 1.58 million tickets, a healthy increase over both last weekend (22.5%) and last year's comparable frame (50%).  The bad news is that that increase benefited a major Hollywood release.  Despite having 8 of the top 10 spots, this weekend's Korean market share was only 45%, down a little from last years's 55% but a lot from the last two weekend's 87% and 81%.  Somewhat ironic given that Busan just wrapped up. However the festival's releases will soon be inundating theaters and will likely post strong numbers.

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.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (10/07-10/09, 2011)

Weekend of October 7-9, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 The Crucible 9/22/11 447,049 3,743,065
2 The Client 9/29/11 395,973 1,456,121
3 Fighting Spirit 10/6/11 90,941 120,802
4 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 73,738 74,127
5 Countdown 9/29/11 61,010 403,805
6 Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon 8/10/11 50,536 7,378,874
7 The Three Musketeers (uk) 10/12/11 41,083 45,537
8 The Debt (us) 10/6/11 31,606 37,922
9 From up on Poppy Hill (jp) 9/29/11 30,082 168,018
10 Mr. Popper's Penguins (us) 9/7/11 16,337 967,290
- Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild 7/27/11 3,952 2,193,214
- Punch 10/20/11 3,233 6,350
- Marrying the Mafia IV 9/7/11 2,535 2,362,103
- Sunny 5/4/11 1,332 7,373,387
- The Day He Arrives 9/8/11 508 40,451

Box office was down significantly this weekend with a total take of 1.29 million but this was still a strong figure given the time of year. This is now the 11th consecutive weekend that a Korean film has claimed the top spot at the box office. Indeed, Korean films dominated the marquees with 5 of the top 6 spots and an 81% market share. To put this in perpective, the same figures for the comparable weekends of the last 3 years were:

2010: 1.09 million adms. - 50%
2009: 1.06 million adms. - 70%
2008: 1.28 million adms. - 32%

The Crucible aka Silenced, which has inundated Korean media of late as the real-life figures it depicts are now under investigation, held onto its top spot. However, after last weekend's astonishing increase it tumbled 56%, this was still enough for a big 447,049 frame but its lead was much narrower than expected. It currently has 3,743,065 admissions and sits at no.4 on the yearly domestic chart, just after Detective K, which it will pass before long. I'm keen to see how it holds over the coming weeks, it should be the third film to cross 5 million in 2011 but I don't think it will have enough steam to challenge the top two spots.

The Client, which despite being completely overshadowed by The Crucible last weekend, had a strong opening weekend and has held very well in its second weekend of general release with a drop of 26%. This brings its total to 1,456,121 and it it continues to play well throughout October it should become the sixth Korean film of the year to cross 3 million admissions.

The sole local platform release this week was Fighting Spirit, Kim Sang-jin's new baseball comedy, it mustered a weak 90,941 opening weekend. Kim's films, which include Attack the Gas Station (1999), Kick the Moon (2001), Jailbreakers (2002), and Ghost House (2004), used to always wind up in the yearly top 5. 2009's Attack the Gas Station 2 was his first film since before Korean cinema's resurgence which failed to break the 1 million mark but Fighting Spirit, which has garnered decent reviews but sported a relatively tepid marketing campaign, looks to fall well short of the former's 731,426 total. It's sad to see one of Korean cinema's brightest embers start to fade away.

Countdown, which opened to lower than expected figures has suffered a precipitous fall (63%) and attracted a measly 61,010 viewers over the frame. It's total now stands at 403,805 but it will likely drop out of the top 10 very soon, maybe as early as next week. This is a disappointing performance from a well-received film which features two big stars, Jeon Do-yeon and Jeong Jae-yeong. Clearly, name recognition is not the drawing factor it used to be in Korean cinema.

Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon dropped 50% for a 50,536 total, this was enough for it to claim the top spot of the year over Sunny but only by 5,000. Despite all the huge blockbusters that held the weight of expectations on their shoulders like Sector 7, Quick, and The Front Line, this late summer entry which debuted with much less buzz than the previously mentioned films, has comfortably outpaced all of them. It has, in fact, more than doubled all of their totals. A great performance from a very well-reviewed film, considering Sector 7's calamitous flop, clearly Korean moviegoers are a discerning audience!

As for foreign releases, Real Steel, The Three Musketeers, and The Debt opened with 73,738, 41,083, and 31,606, respectively. Poor openings across the board as foreign films in recent months have failed to gain a foothold in Korea.

Looking ahead, there are a number of important local release during the rest of October. With the Busan International Film Fest in full swing, films like Always (which opened the event) and Punch are likely to gain extra exposure after their screenings. K-Pop film Mr. Idol will open at the end of the month and I am very curious to see how it performs, the hallyu element could be a significant draw but it may also bomb, we shall see.

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, October 7, 2011

Weekly Review Round-up (10/01-10/07, 2011)

Another good week for reviews spread over a wide range of films. A number of reviews for I Saw the Devil (not sure why) and trio for BIFF opener Always. I anticipate that next week's edition will feature a lot fo BIFF reviews, until then!


(Init_Scenes, October 3, 2011)

(Seen in Jeonju, September 28, 2011)

(Soul's Rebel, October 1, 2011)


(cut print review, September 15, 2011)

I Saw the Devil

(Init_Scenes, October 4, 2011)

(, October 1, 2011)

(, October 1, 2011)

(Radar Redux, October 3, 2011)

(, October 3, 2011)

(Modern Koreaa Cinema, October 6, 2011)


(, October 2, 2011)

Daisy, 2006
(, October 2, 2011)

Death Bell, 2008
(Hangul Celluloid, October 3, 2011)

(Init_Scens, September 30, 2011)

(cut print review, September 20, 2011)

(10 Mag, September 28, 2011)

Turn It Up to 11, 2009
(Twitch, September 22, 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.