Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Genre Diversity from Major 3 in 2015
  • by Pierce Conran / 12.29.2014
  • Big Lineups Feature Period, Thriller, Drama, Mystery Fare

    With 2014 winding down, another big year for the local industry which cracked 100 million admissions on December 23rd, people are looking to the horizon for a glimpse of what’s in store for the new year from Korea’s major film studios. Continuing a period film trend that kicked off with Masquerade in 2012, each studio will once again present at least one costume drama in their new lineups. Beyond that, local staples such as thrillers and dramas appear prominently, but less common genres also abound along with genre hybrids.
    New war and mystery films will be programmed alongside romantic thrillers, a genre that has gained traction in Korea since the success of Helpless (2012). Regardless of genre, studios are also demonstrating an affinity for films set in different time periods, with a diverse range of projects taking place at different points of the 20th century.
    CJ Entertainment
    Following the stunning success of Roaring Currents, which soared well past any previous records to clinch 18 million admissions during the summer, CJ Entertainment is poised for another big year in 2015 with a varied lineup comprised of high profile thrillers, period films and dramas.
    Following the release on the romcom Love Forecast on January 15th, their first tile of 2015, CJ’s next major title will be C’est si bon, which will be released in time for the Lunar New Year holiday, falling on February 19th. A music biopic of the popular folk duo Twin Folio, the film takes place in the 1960s, largely in the C’est si bon music bar where three young men form the C’est si bon Trio, a group that would later turn into Twin Folio. Directed by Cyrano Agency’s (2011) KIM Hyun-seok, the film stars JUNG Woo (Red Family), KANG Ha-neul (Mourning Grave), JIN Goo (The Target) and HAN Hyo-joo (Cold Eyes), while KIM Yun-Seok (The Thieves, 2012) and KIM Hee-ae (Thread of Lies) appear as some of the same characters in later sequences set in the 1980s.
    For spring, CJ have five titles scheduled, including the JEON Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine, 2007) thriller The Shameless (working title), the KIM Hye-soo (Tazza: The High Rollers, 2006)/KIM Go-eun (Eungyo, 2012) vehicle Coin Locker Girl (working title), the mature drama Salute d’Amour (working title) from Taegukgi (2004) director KANG Je-gyu, the romantic thriller Perfect Proposal, with LIM Soo-jung (All About My Wife, 2012)) and YOO Yeon-seok (A Werewolf Boy, 2012), and the mystery romance Remember You (working title), with JUNG Woo-sung (Cold Eyes) and KIM Ha-neul (Blind, 2011).
    The studio will reserve its big guns for the summer, which will see the releases of action thriller Veteran (working title) from RYOO Seung-wan and the period-set action drama Empire of Lust (working title). Teaming up once again with his The Unjust (2010) stars HWANG Jung-min and YU Hae-jin, as well as younger star YOO Ah-in (Punch, 2011), RYOO’s Veteran features a detective who goes up against a big corporation in what promises to be another tightly choreographed action extravaganza from the maker of The Berlin File. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) star SHIN Ha-kyun leads the cast of Empire of Lust as an army general who must keep a close eye on a young prince with ambitions to seize the throne. At the same time, he falls in love with a Gisaeng, whom he takes as his concubine, not realizing that she aims to carry out a vendetta against him. The film is being helmed by Blind’s AHN Sang-hoon.

    Also primed for a big year is Showbox, the studio behind two of three biggest Korean films of all time (The Host, 2006; The Thieves). Given the recent success of high profile period films in the last two years (including their titles The Face Reader and Kundo: Age of the Rampant), the studio is anchoring its slate with a pair of costume dramas, as well as two star-driven thrillers. First out of the gate this year for Showbox will be their gangster thriller Gangnam Blues, from A Dirty Carnival (2006) mastermind YU Ha, on January 21st.
    Showbox’s Lunar New Year title will follow in February. The only major Korean sequel of the year, Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island will reteam KIM Myung-min as the Joseon era detective with OH Dal-su as his sidekick. KIM Sok-yun also returns to the director’s chair for the follow-up to the 2011 hit.
    Later in the year, the company will present Assassination, a 1930s thriller from The Thieves helmer CHOI Dong-hoon shot in Shanghai. Along for the ride in the high octane film will be stars HA Jung-woo (The Berlin File), JEON Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl, 2001) and LEE Jung-jae (New World). Another thriller in the works is the LEE Byung-hun (A Bittersweet Life, 2005) vehicle Inside Men, in which the global star plays a political fixer. The film, from Man of Vendetta (2010) filmmaker WOO Min-ho, will also star CHO Seung-woo (Marathon, 2005) and BAEK Yoon-shik (Save the Green Planet, 2003).
    Also scheduled for later in the year will be period drama The Throne, from King and the Clown (2005) director LEE Joon-ik and starring screen icon SONG Kang-ho (Memories of Murder, 2003) as King Yeongjo, who famously ordered his son’s death by suffocation in a large wooden chest filled with rice. Rounding out Showbox’s upcoming slate is The Classified File, a new detective thriller set in 1970s Busan from Friend (2001) director KWAK Kyung-taek. The film stars KIM Yun-seok and YU Hae-jin.
    Lotte Entertainment
    Following the success of their films The Fatal Encounter and The Pirates this year, Lotte Entertainment will also be entering the fray by presenting a new period blockbuster in 2015, not to mention the first Korean war film since 2011’s The Front Line and major new dramas and thrillers.
    Featuring major star wattage with the presence of LEE Byung-hun and JEON Do-yeon, in addition to KIM Go-eun and BAE Soo-bin (26 Years, 2012) in supporting roles, Memories of the Sword is an action period epic from PARK Heung-sik, the director of My Mother, the Mermaid (2004).
    Later in the year, Lotte will present Western Front 1950 (working title), a Korean war film featuring SUL Kyung-gu (Oasis, 2002) and young star YEO Jin-gu (Hwayi: A Monster Boy). A tale of cooperation between South and North Korean soldiers at the tail end of the war, the film marks the directorial debut of The Pirates scribe CHEON Seong-il.
    Also on the cards for Lotte is So-Nyeo (working title), a female-driven mystery drama from Like a Virgin (2006) co-director LEE Hae-young. The film will feature A Werewolf Boy lead PARK Bo-young as a student at a mysterious boarding school in 1938. So-Nyeo will also feature Hope actress UHM Ji-won.
  • Comment