South Korea'scinematic output over the next few months will be concentrated less on festivalofferings and more on potential box-office hits.
With a string ofhorror titles and star vehicles lined up for mid to late summer, local cinemawill be looking for some commercial successes to tide it over until the autumn,which is traditionally its strongest season.
Horror filmscontinue to be seen as the best bet for summer success, as Korean customassociates a good scare with relief from the summer heat. Most prominent among the offerings will be Bunshinsaba,the third film by director Ahn Byung-ki, whose 2002 release Phonegrossed upwards of $11m in Korea while also performing strongly in markets likeJapan and Italy. The latest filmfocuses on an ostracised student, while also adding an increased focus onvisuals, perhaps influenced by the groundbreaking success of last year'sstylish A Tale Of Two Sisters.
Other horror filmsnearing release include The Doll Master, drawing notice for itsattractive young cast; Cinema Service's R-Point, a "militaryhorror" film shot in Cambodia and set during the Vietnam War; and Sicily2km, a mix of comedy and horror likened to early Peter Jackson, and shot onHD digital.
Charismatic localstars will also be a focus of marketing efforts. Taewon Entertainment's Everybody Has Secrets, a remake ofthe 2001 film About Adam, will feature Lee Byung-heon (Bungee JumpingOf Their Own) as an irresistible charmer who wins over the hearts of threesisters. Meanwhile Korea Pictures' LoveSo Divine will team youth idols Kwon Sang-soo (Once Upon A Time In HighSchool) and Ha Ji-won (Sex Is Zero) in a story about a Catholicdivinity student who experiences temptation in the form of the heartbrokenyoung woman getting over a breakup.
In general, thenext few months will see few releases from the best known of Korea's youngdirectors. A few exceptions are FacelessBeauty from Kim In-sik, whose debut film Roadmovie was a festivalhit; and thriller Some, the long-awaited third film by Chang Yoon-hyunof Tell Me Something fame.
Looking furtherinto the future, however, the latter months of 2004 should see Yeokdosan,the biopic of legendary Korean-Japanese pro wrestler Rikidozan by Failandirector Song Hye-sung; Cheung Yeon, the story of Korea's first womanaviator by the award-winning director Yoon Jong-chan (Sorum); and theperiod-set mystery Hyeol-ui Nu from Bungee Jumping Of Their Owndirector Kim Dae-seung not to mention the latest work 3-Iron byprolific auteur Kim Ki-duk.
For full Korean production listings, click here