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"May 18" off to a Promising Start

2007/07/30 Source

"May 18" opened strong, taking in US$ 10.1 million in its first weekend. The CJ Entertainment title took the top spot at the box office with 1.45 million viewers. "May 18" also broke another deadlock by becoming the first Korean film to lead the pre-sales in thirteen weeks. In its first few days ahead of the opening weekend the film attracted already 126,000 viewers. All these factors together cause hopefuls to speculate about whether "May 18" may achieve the most successful opening week for a Korean film. Over the weekend the number of screens was raised from 490 to 520.

Reports show that the film about the Gwangju massacre moves the audiences emotionally, a change of pace from the special effects laden films and horror titles crowding the cinemas during summer. Another aspect going for "May 18" is its subject matter; films dealing with modern Korean history have often proved to find an audience in Korea, including "Silmido" and "Taegukgi".

The film also boosts a strong cast with Ahn Sung-ki ("Silmido"), Kim Sang-kyung ("Memories of Murder"), Lee Yo-won ("Take Care of My Cat") and Lee Joon-gi ("The King and the Clown") who engage the audience on a personal level in a film depicting highly political and societal issues.

Director Kim Ji-hoon chose to focus on the emotions of the people involved rather than to visually impress with camera trickery; this also contributes to setting the film apart from the other films which rely heavily on spectacular scenes. KIM previously directed the acclaimed "Mokpo, Gangster's Paradise".

Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)

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