Christmas blues besiege three Korean actresses

Kim Tae-hee, Han Ye-seul and Choi Kang-hee enjoy similarly enviable public recognition as attractive actresses. But they are going through a similarly gloomy Christmas holiday.

The three actresses are now competing at the box office, jockeying for a position in the usually crowded year-end holiday season. But their films are struggling to gain a foothold in terms of ticket sales.

Kim Tae-hee, who plays a tough housewife clashing with her husband in Han Ji-seung's latest comic drama "Venus and Mars" (Ssaum), is dealing with the second lackluster public reception in as many big-screen attempts. Last year, she joined the 10 billion won ($10.6 million) film project "The Restless", which tanked at the box office with a mere 1 million tickets sold.

Released on Dec. 12, "Venus and Mars" sold about 320,000 tickets in two weeks. The film had drawn keen interest as director Han, a leading filmmaker known for his sophisticated style, has taken the helm, and equally famous actor Sol Kyung-gu plays opposite Kim.

Han Ye-seul, who plays the supposedly "calculating" beauty in Park Yong-jib's "Miss Gold Digger", is noticing that her popularity as a TV commercial model does not automatically translate into a silver-screen success.

Han helped promote the film extensively, going on popular variety shows on major networks prior to the release. For instance, her unpretentious and impressive interview on "Golden Aquarium", a weekly TV show hosted by Kang Ho-dong, generated strong buzz on the local online community. But the box-office figures suggest that "Miss Gold Digger" is nowhere near the goldmine yet, with 220,000 moviegoers having watched the romantic comedy since its Dec. 18 release.

Choi Kang-hee plays opposite Kam Woo-sung in "My Love", an assemblage of four different love stories a la "Love Actually". But the film is yet to spark any real interest since it has so far attracted just 270,000 people.

Choi plays Ju-won, who develops a memorable yet tragic relationship with Se-jin (played by Kam), a subway worker who drives the underground train on Line No. 2 around in circles.

The chief reason behind the Christmas blues confronting the three actresses is the stronger box-office scores of three Hollywood features led by "National Treasure: Book of Secrets", "I Am Legend" and "The Golden Compass".

By Yang Sung-jin
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