South Korean major CJ Entertainment will become the first Korean company to distribute directly into international territories when it releases the political drama Joint Security Area (pictured) in Hong Kong on January 3, 2002.

The film will be the first in a series of planned overseas releases in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of Southeast Asia.

The 20-screen release of Joint Security Area, a local smash which remains one of the best-selling films in Korean history, will be orchestrated by a branch office in Hong Kong which will handle all aspects of marketing and distribution. Director Park Chan-wook and stars Lee Byung-heon and Song Kang-ho are scheduled to fly to Hong Kong on December 20th to promote the feature, which earlier this year enjoyed a profitable 225-screen release in Japan through distributors Cine Quanon and Amuse Pictures.

In the first half of 2002, CJ Entertainment also has plans to directly distribute in Hong Kong the period epic Musa: The Warrior starring Zhang Ziyi and the sci-fi action blockbuster 2009 Lost Memories starring regional star Jang Dong-gun and Japanese actor Nakamura Toru.

"Our goal is to directly distribute all the Korean films that CJ Entertainment produces and finances in the Southeast Asian region," says Mark Yoon of CJ Entertainment's international sales team.

CJ Entertainment, a founding shareholder of DreamWorks SKG, was established in 1995 and has since grown to become one of the top two studios in Korea.