One of Korea's largest producer-distributors, Cinema Service, is making its market debut as a film seller this week with a slate of nine pictures including local box office hit Bichunmoo.
The $5m martial arts romance has scored 2.3 million admissions at the Korean box office. Shot in Shanghai with a Chinese martial arts team, the film is described by Cinema Services sales manager Josh Lee Describes as "more Asian than Korean."
The company is also selling Il Mare, which despite the Italian title is a Korean fantasy about two people who live in the same place at different times. Released last month, it has so far notched ticket sales of 700,000 in its domestic market. Cinema Services will also be screening Bloody Beach, a teen splatter title about a group of kids on a summer holiday.
The company's pre-sales roster includes $5m actioner Libera Me and Tokyo-Seoul love story Asako In Ruby Shoes, co-produced by Korea's Koo & Film and Japan's Shochiku. Cinema Service is also representing one of its own productions, A Masterpiece In My Life about a filmmaker who falls in love with a scriptwriter. Rounding out the slate are Last Present, A Day and Volcano High School.
Founded in 1993, Cinema Service is now the largest independent distributor in Korea. Handling both the New Line and Miramax slates its last year achieved a market share of 19%. It is prepared to fully finance third-party product and previously saw its pictures handled internationally by Mirovision. The company is now moving into TV through a recent alliance with Kim Jong-hak Production. Next year a move into home video is on the cards.