Busan: Ryoo Seung-wan Lines up Sequels to ‘Veteran’ and ‘The Berlin File’

Ace Korean director Ryoo Seung-wan, currently riding high on the box office success of “Veteran,” is to make sequels to his two biggest movies “The Berlin File” and “Veteran.”

First up, however, will be “Gun-ham-do”. The film takes its provision title from the name of an island where Korean laborers were forced to work for Japan during the wartime.

That will be followed by “The Berlin File 2,” for which Ryoo has already crafted a draft screenplay. He aims to shoot the sequel and deliver it by 2017.

Significantly, the action will shift from Germany to Asia and be told in a more direct fashion than his 2013 effort. The first “File” was set in Berlin and involved complicated ‘Cold War’ plots featuring spies from North and South Korea.

By Ryoo’s high standards the big budget film was a comparative disappointment and a commercial close shave. It sold 7.17 million tickets in Korea for a gross of KRW52.4 billion (US$43.9 million at current exchange rates), but Ryoo says that the picture failed to fully connect with younger audiences which know little of the Cold War era.

“After making such an expensive film, my take-away was that I needed to make a cheaper one,” Ryoo told Variety. He says that the sequel film will likely shoot in Vladivostok and Korea.

Ryoo’s latest movie, the comedic action thriller “Veteran” was not only made at lower cost, it has performed better. “Veteran 2” is third on Ryoo’s directing slate.

Released on Aug. 5, “Veteran” this week became the fourth biggest film of all time at the Korean box office – close behind “Avatar” – and the third top grossing Korean film of all time.

According to data from the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS box office tracking system, “Veteran” has sold 13.2 million tickets for a gross of US$87.0 million (KRW1.04 trillion).

(For full interview with Ryoo Seung-wan, see tomorrow’s Busan daily edition of Variety.)

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