You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SK Telecom adds to $25 mil film fund

Co. also increasing emphasis on distribution

SEOUL — Mobile phone giant SK Telecom has added its weight to a new $25 million movie production fund.

SKT and its recently acquired Hanarotelecom unit are each putting $5 million into the Benex Digital Culture Content Investment Assn., which is headed by fund manager Benex Investment. The fund which has a seven-year lifespan has also corralled coin from Asia Star ($2.5 million), Korea Fund of Funds ($7.5 million) and $5.1 million from Benex itself.

Benex, which joined the film investment sector in September 2006 just as many other money managers were pulling out, has previously committed $28.5 million to 15 content investments, 12 of which were movies. Company is this year expected to deploy $30 million with 60% going into movies and 40% into retail. Its credits include “Open City,” “Radio Dayz” and “Truck.”

With the Benex fund, SK Telecom is planning to produce and secure exclusive content for its IPTV service Hana TV. It is also investing in pictures outside the fund and has committed to investing and distributing upcoming films including K.C. Park’s “Our School ET” (produced through Courage Films) and “Blood Rain,” plus helmer Kim Dai-seung’s “Lovers” (produced by Magic Flute).

“Final contracts have not been finalized yet, but we already have teamed up with some production companies for script development and will announce two or three additions to our lineup in August,” an SK Telecom spokesman said.

Company is also increasing its emphasis on theatrical distribution. At the end of 2007 it launched its own movie distribution company and quickly put out “Once Upon a Time in Corea,” “L: Change the World” and “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon.” Initially these were released under the CH Entertainment banner, but group is now releasing under its own name.

A lull prompted some observers to speculate that SK would withdraw from the industry, but it will next put out “Death Bell,” the only local summer horror pic to be released this year, on Aug. 7.

The conglom’s media ambitions have proved controversial. Some of the traditional players fear its firepower, while cable companies are resisting the rise of fledgling IPTV services, an area which SK looks set to dominate through its 39% stake in Hanaro Telecom, agreed last December.

Only last week, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission again reminded SK that sharing its high-quality network with competing telcos such as KT and LG Telecom was a condition of approvals for the Hanaro deal.

More Film

  • Kevin Costner Diane Lane

    Kevin Costner, Diane Lane to Reunite in Suspense Thriller 'Let Him Go'

    Focus Features has tapped Kevin Costner and Diane Lane to star as a husband and wife in the suspense thriller “Let Him Go.” The two also collaborated on “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) is set to direct his own screenplay, based on Larry Watson’s novel [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • Green Book spiderman into the spider

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content