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South Korea

Showbox

2008 B.O.: $65.3 million (through July)

TOPPERS: Jeong Hun Ryu, CEO; Mi-Jung Kwon, head of distribution; Steve Lee, head of international business and development

UP NEXT: “Go Go 70s” (October 2), “Antique” (November), “Frozen Flower” (December)

Showbox parent, Korea’s largest movie conglom Mediaplex, has been dogged by negative rumors since the downturn in the local pic biz last year. Following the sale of its theater chain Megabox to Australian consortium Macquarrie last year and the shuttering of its production shingle Motion 101 in April, observers pondered whether Mediaplex might pull back further.

Despite the upheaval, distributor Showbox had a solid year. Company released seven local movies through July this year, including successes “The Chaser,” “G.P. 506” and boffo summer pic “Sunny.” “The Chaser” topped the year’s box office with grosses of about $32 million, before rival distrib CJ Entertainment’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird” hit screens. Among its six import releases through July this year were Wong Kar-Wai’s “My Blueberry Nights” and Pang brothers remake “The Eye.”

Shingle’s balanced slate spans pan-Asian co-productions, high-quality genre pics and more light-hearted fare.

Upcoming films drawing local buzz include rock and roll drama “Go Go 70s” and $7.5-million romantic epic “Frozen Flower.” Company also invested 10% of the budget on pan-Asian epic “Red Cliff,” which scored a B.O. record in China this year. Queued up for 2009 are $10-million epic “The Sword of No Name” and “Red Cliff 2.”

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