All 20 episodes of the series will be shown on Tuesday mornings from July 10 to September 11, featuring extra footage only shown once previously on NHK's BS satellite channel and unavailable on DVD. BM Inc is handling the theatrical distribution of the series.
As Roppongi Hills is one of Tokyo's key multiplexes, Winter Sonata is fighting for screen space against Harry Potter And The Order Of The Pheonix, a live-action feature based on hit TV anime Saiyuki and the latest installment in the popular Pokemon franchise, all opening on July 14. Seven of the cinema's nine screens will show the episodes on July 17.
On June 14, all nine screens at Roppongi Hills showed the final episode of TV Asahi's evening drama Hotelier, setting a one-day record of 2,000 admissions. The screenings are part of an increasing trend of TV viewership in cinemas.
Originally produced and aired in 2002 by Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Winter Sonata was broadcast on Japan 's NHK three times throughout 2003 and 2004. The series and its star Bae Yong Joon have been mainstays in Japan despite a sharp decline in the 'Korean wave' of TV dramas and movies imported into the territory.
Bae still has a huge following among middle-aged Japanese women and has inspired a cottage industry of tours, merchandise and events. Female co-star Choi Ji Woo also enjoys popularity in Japan, appearing on TV variety shows and starring in commercials for Lotte, one of the screenings' sponsors.