The announcement comes on the heels of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC)'s latest report on exports dropping by 50% last year, with flat fee and high minimum guarantee deal structures recently giving way to more revenue-sharing deals.
Following the screenings of the two films in Pusan and Toronto last year, the deal was struck for an undisclosed six-figure sum.
'Avex liked the quality of the films, and has determined to release them theatrically,' said Judy Ahn, head of international sales at Showbox.
'For M, it's a stylish film by a known director, and the star Gang Dong-won is popular in Japan, as is pan-Asian pop singer BoA who sang the end credits title song. In the case of Happiness, Hur Jin-ho is well-known for April Snow and other films, and the actors' performances were strong,' she said.
After a quiet 2007 in sales for the distributor, Showbox looks to pick up steam this year with an EFM slate that includes the recent addition of Kim Ki-duk's Dreams and Ryoo Seung-wan's Dachimawa Lee: The Orient Espionage (working title).