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"M" and "Happiness" Picked Up by Japan

2008/02/05 | 393 views | Permalink | Source

Major local film player Showbox has sold rights to Lee Myung-se's "M" and Heo Jin-ho's "Happiness" to music and film giant Avex Entertainment in Japan. Avex, known as one of the largest independent record-labels in the world, made a move into the film industry last year, picking up its first Korean title "Highway Star" (2007).

Both LEE's "M" and HEO's Happiness premiered last September at the Toronto International Film Festival. They feature prominent Korean Wave stars with Gang Dong-won as the bemused lead in director LEE's stylish mystery and actress Im Soo-jung along with Hwang Jung-min as the ill-fraught lovers in HEO's melodrama.

Both LEE and HEO have had their previous films released in Japan. LEE's "Duelist", also starring actor KANG, opened on about 200 screens across Japan in 2006. HEO's "April Snow", starring Korean Wave sensation Bae Yong-joon, became the top grossing Korean film of all time in Japan, with earnings of over US$26 million in 2005.

Overall Korean film exports to Japan have perilously slumped from highs of $60.3 million in 2005 to only $3.1 million last year. In the wake of this, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) plans to offer a support program for overseas theatrical releases beginning this March.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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