[HanCinema's News] "Night in Paradise" and "SEOBOK" Face Off OTT
By William Schwartz | Published on
With the arrival of April comes the first major face-off between two highly anticipated films since last summer, when "Steel Rain 2: Summit" and "When the Devil Calls Your Name" premiered in theaters in back to back weeks. But after a year of a COVID-19 induced box office depression, the battleground has now taken a markedly different shift. Where the gangster noir "Night in Paradise" premiered on Netflix on April 9th, "SEOBOK" will have a hybrid premiere in theaters and TVING on April 15th.
While Netflix hopes to recreate the success of such hits as "#ALIVE", "The Call", and "Space Sweepers" on its platform, all three of those films had a much larger international appeal than "Night in Paradise" which is much more of a festival circuit styled film. Tonally, "Night in Paradise" is more of a prestige film like "Time to Hunt" which had more of an underwhelming impact on the platform. Consequently, hype for the movie, with its lesser known stars, has not been as intense.
The marketing for "SEOBOK" has been far more aggressive and localized, with much local advertising proudly emphasizing that the high concept science fiction film will appear both in theaters and the local streaming service TVING. The film is also the first for lead actor Gong Yoo since "KIM Jiyoung: Born 1982" in 2019, and is belatedly coming out deep into his co-star Park Bo-gum's mandatory military service. The buddy themed filmed had originally been planned for a Christmas release.
The winner of this showdown will be hard to gauge, with much streaming data remaining proprietary. However, a weak performance from "Night in Paradise" from FlixPatrol and a strong one for "SEOBOK" at the domestic box office could signal that the COVID-19 induced depression at the box office is near an end, given the high profile release of the right kind of film. We won't know for sure until box office totals start coming in after "SEOBOK" is released on April 15th.
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. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.