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Fortnight ‘Host’ to monster movie

Cannes sidebar unveils first pick

HONG KONG — Korean monster movie “The Host,” will preem in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes festival it was announced Thursday.

Pic is a highly anticipated change of genre for helmer Bong Joon-ho, whose “Memories Of Murder” was famously passed over by Cannes three years ago. “Memories” went on to be a festival favorite, a boffo success in its native Korea and a decent commercial success in some of the hard to crack European territories.

Announcement a week ahead of the bulk of the Fortnight lineup appears to a means of locking in “The Host,” which was until very recently being courted by Thierry Fremaux’s team as a possible late addition to official selection.

Story involves a mutant creature that inhabits Seoul’s Han River and a half-witted father trying to rescue his daughter from the monster’s clutches. Pic, now billed as bearing an $11 million budget, has creature effects by San Francisco boutique The Orphanage with John Cox’s Creature Workshop and a scannable maquette by Weta Workshop.

“The Host” is skedded for Korean release through Showbox in July and is assured of a major Japanese release through Kadokawa Herald. Production is by Chungeorahm with coin from Japanese investor Happinet and int’l sales by Cineclick Asia.

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