Hong Sang-soo and his girlfriend Kim Min-hee are beginning to suffer diminishing returns at the box office. "Hotel by the River" has not met the standards set by Hong Sang-soo's previous films, having only scored over 6,300 domestic admissions at the time of this writing.
For a sense of comparison, the first project pairing the director and actress, "Right Now, Wrong Then" managed to obtain 80,734 admissions. "Yourself and Yours" had 18,151 admissions. "On the Beach at Night Alone" had 57,110 admissions.
Similarly underperforming films include "Claire's Camera" at 9,439 admissions and "Grass" at 7,443 admissions. These films, much like "Hotel by the River", did not get much of a run on the international film festival circuit, which likely translated into diminished returns at home due to the lack of publicity.
Hong Sang-soo has always been a bit of a niche director, so a low performing year isn't a big hit to him. The damage to Kim Min-hee's career is more worrisome. After a breakout performance in "The Handmaiden" her career has stalled as she only now appears in Hong Sang-soo films.
It's difficult to tell whether this is a deliberate choice on her part or if she simply stopped receiving offers when news of her affair with Hong Sang-soo broke. Hong Sang-soo is a married man twenty two years Kim Min-hee's senior. In public statements they have been steadfast in declaring their love for one another, although the content of their more recent films together suggests ambiguity over how sympathetically they really see themselves.
Hong Sang-soo petitioned for a divorce back in November of 2016. His wife is refusing to grant him one, and their marriage is expected to linger on indefinitely.
Written by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's News] Hong Sang-soo and Kim Min-hee's Films Suffer Popularity Drop"
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