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'Haeundae' Hits 7-Million-Viewer Mark

2009/08/09 Source

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

Local summer blockbuster "Haeundae", directed by JK Youn, has been seen by 7 million viewers in 18 days since its premiere July 22.

The film is expected to break the 10-million-viewer mark soon with its present pace. Currently, only four domestic movies ― "Silmido" (2003), "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War" (2004), "The King and the Clown" (2005) and "The Host" (2006) ― have drawn more than 10 million viewers.

"Haeundae" attracted 180,000 viewers on opening day and reached 1 million viewers July 25, four days after its release.

The film has continued to draw an average 300,000 viewers a day during the weekdays and 500,000 viewers a day on the weekends. If the film reaches the 10-million-viewer mark, it will be the fifth film to do so, three years after "The Host", the last film to do so.

The movie's popularity is attributed to the wide range of audience members it appeals to, from teens to the middle-aged, due to its comical and emotional scenes.

The movie, billed as the nation's first disaster film, was directed by JK Youn who is known for his sex comedy "Sex Is Zero" and the feel-good romantic comedy, "Miracle on 1st Street".

The film is set in Busan, the nation's second-largest city, which is about to be hit by a tsunami and focuses on the story of a group of protagonists ― seaside-eatery proprietor Man-sik (Sol Kyung-gu) and girlfriend Yeon-heui (Ha Ji-won); his coast-guard brother and his sultry counterpart; and a divorced couple, one of whom is a workaholic ocean geologist (Park Joong-hoon) and the other a political adviser (Uhm Jung-hwa).

Although the drama deals with a natural disaster, the story touches on complications in love caused by relatives, class differences and human relations.

The $13 million production by CJ Entertainment, one of the most expensive in Korea, is now showing on 869 screens nationwide.

"Haeundae" shows Hollywood-caliber visual effects placed in a richly localized setting for the Korean audience by Hans Uhlig, the computer graphics expert for the film, also known for his work in "The Perfect Storm" and "The Day After Tomorrow".

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