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Divers quartet rule the box office

2008/08/01 Source

After Yim Soon-rye's "Forever the Moment", Na Hong-jin's "The Chaser", and Kang Woo-seok's "Public Enemy Returns" Kim Jee-woon's "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is the fourth Korean film this year to surpass the 4 million spectators landmark.

CJ Entertainment announced that the kimchi western accumulated 4.13 million admissions in just eleven days. "Public Enemy Returns" was in 2008 the second fastest to reach the 4 million mark in 25 days.

2008 started with two unexpected block busters. In the sports drama "Forever the Moment", the Korean women handball team dramatically lost the final at the 2004 Athens Olympics; however they won the number one spot at the box office in early 2008. Korea had not much of a film history in sports dramas before.

An even bigger surprise was the sleeper hit "The Chaser". However, acclaim from critics and viewers for this dark thriller spread around and resulted in so far the most popular film in the running yearwith over 5 million admissions; an impressive feat for a debuting feature film director and hitherto relatively non-star actors.

"Public Enemy Returns" builds on the formula of its "Public Enemy" predecessors and added a new touch (of humour) by Jang Jin who wrote the scenario. The Public Enemy trilogy stars Sol Kyung-gu as a tough unconventional crime fighter. "Public Enemy Returns" is still in cinemas and CJ Entertainment expects the film to level with "The Chaser" in final attendance numbers.

Far from unexpected is the success of "The Good, the Bad, the Weird", the most anticipated film of 2008. Celebrated director Kim Jee-woon gathered the biggest Korean stars in Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho, and Jung Woo-sung. To top it off, the film gathered buzz at Festival de Cannes as one of the most sought after films.

The Korean flavoured western will soon be accompanied by more distinctively coloured Korean fare. Including, "Sunny", a Vietnam War film through the eyes of a head-strong female entertainer in the hands of director Lee Joon-ik; "Dachimawa Lee", a spy spoof handled by 'the action kid' director Ryoo Seung-wan; and "Death Bell" ("Gosa"), a chilling high school horror film with a combination of fresh talent and experienced actors; just to randomly name a few.

Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)

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