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Blockbusters Vie in the Heat of Summer

2006/07/11 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Local sci-fi film The Host by director Bong Joon-ho, which will open July 27, is expected to be one of the strongest box office competitors this summer.

As soon as the 2006 World Cup in Germany ended, a flood of blockbuster films, delayed over fear of a struggle with the televised global event, are ready to heat up the summer season.

This time of year is traditionally lucrative for the local film industry, but the concern is high over the domination of Hollywood blockbusters.

Strong competitors from Hollywood have already occupied the top spots at the local box office, and to make things worse, the screen quota system, which used to ensure 146 mandatory screening days per year for domestic movies at theaters, has been halved since July 1.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", which opened last Thursday, topped the local box office attracting 1.5 million moviegoers nationwide over the first weekend. "Superman Returns", which had been in the top spot since its release here on June 28, came second at the box office.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", a sequel to the 2003 hit, revolves around Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom), who is dispatched to steal Jack Sparrow's (Johnny Depp) mystical compass, which is believed to lead to a chest containing the heart of Davy Jones, a spirit who rules under the seas.

Directed by Bryan Singer, the latest version of the long-loved "Superman" series follows the man of steel returning to earth, after being gone for five years, where no one seems to need him any more.

Director Gore Verbinski's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" vies with other blockbusters for the Korean market this summer.
The two films' popularity will likely continue as the summer vacation begins soon.

Only three local films are included in top ten of the box office list last weekend _ the two horror films A.P.T and Arang, and the crime drama "A Dirty Carnival".

As 3-D animation "Cars" and the racing action film "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" will open on July 20, it will be more difficult for local films to enter the top ten list.

But two local blockbusters by famous directors will face off with their Hollywood competitors. One is "Hanbando" (the Korean Peninsula), directed by Kang Woo-suk, which opens on July 13.

The film begins with the hypothesis that Japan will emerge as the strongest objector when the two Koreas reach an agreement on unification. It also sheds light on the past Japanese brutality towards Koreans.

Although it has received negative reviews from the public and media because of its nationalistic theme, many expect the film to be a commercial success as Kang is known for his many hit films such as the "Two Cops" series, "Silmido" and the "Public Enemy" series.

Another strong local entry is The Host directed by Bong Joon-ho with a production budget of 15 billion won. It opens on July 27.

The much-anticipated film is about an ordinary family that fights a mutant rising from the Han River to save their daughter taken by the monster. It has received positive reviews and is expected to write a whole new chapter in local sci-fi films.

Another anticipated local movie is "Fly Daddy", which opens on August 3. It stars Lee Joon-gi, who rocketed to stardom after playing an effeminate court jester in the country's most popular film last year, "The King and the Clown".

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