×

Korea’s CJ Entertainment Targets Global Production

CJ Entertainment, long South Korea and Asia’s leading movie conglomerate, has now set its sights on becoming a fully-fledged global film producer.

“The domestic [Korean] market has been highly saturated in recent years. Expanding overseas is no longer a choice but a necessity,” said Jeong Tae-sung, CEO of CJ Entertainment, at a recent event in Seoul.

The company, which typically has a 30% share of the Korean distribution market, and is a sister company of leading exhibitor CJ-CGV, now aims to produce 20 films per year in 10 languages. That would be a greater volume than the number of Korean films it backs.

It also puts CJ within striking distance of the Hollywood studios, but Jeong foresees a production-led strategy, subtly different from the U.S. majors. For a start, budgets in the U.S. are likely to be capped at $35 million, though it invested some $40 million in “Snowpiercer.”

“Our case is different. Hollywood studios have global distribution channels and entering foreign territory is easier for Hollywood films than for Korean films,” said Jeong. “Our strength is creativity.”

The blueprint for CJ’s production outreach is its “Miss Granny” franchise. The comedy-drama has already been remade several times within Asia (including China, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam) each time with subtle cultural nuances. Now it is being remade for two separate audience segments in North America.

Tyler Perry Studios is handling an English-language version of the film, targeting the African-American community, while 3Pas Studio will make a Spanish-language version for the Hispanic market and potentially for Latin America.

“African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics account for 38% of (the U.S.) population, but they make up almost 50% of the ticket sales,” said Jeong, implying that the company may as well target those communities with other initiatives.

After several years of operation within Asia, CJ now has other original properties that could be remade or transformed. Its Vietnamese film “The Housemaid” is to be remade in other territories.

It plans to leverage CJ’s corporate strengths in North America, Latin America and Europe. It has been plugged into Hollywood as an investor in DreamWorks for more than 20 years, and as the U.S. studio’s Korean sub-distributor.  Through CJ America, it has operated as a distributor and exhibitor in selected local markets in the U.S.  And it has a relationship with Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures.

Following the acquisition of leading Turkish exhibitor Mars Entertainment by CJ-CGV, CJ Entertainment opened a Turkey production office in May.

“Along with Korea, Turkey is one of the few countries in the world where local films outrun imported Hollywood titles,” said Mike Im, head of international at CJ Entertainment. Korea-Turkey co-production “Sweet & Sour,” a Turkish remake of Korea-China co-production “A Wedding Invitation,” is set for release in December.

Now the company is dropping hints about expansion into Russia and India.

More Film

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the most buzz for eight of the top 10 movies or [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

  • Peter Farrelly

    Peter Farrelly to Judge Sun Valley Film Festival's Film Lab Competition

    Sun Valley Film Festival has set “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly as the judge for the sixth annual Film Lab competition. The program, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is in its sixth year, selects one team of filmmakers to work with the festival to complete their film projects. The director and producer of the [...]

  • The Lion King

    'The Lion King' Dominates, But Is Disney Running Low on Remakes?

    “The Lion King” and its massive $185 million domestic debut proved that audiences have an insatiable appetite for Disney’s remakes and re-imaginings. Despite mixed reviews, moviegoers turned out in force for director Jon Favreau’s hyper-realistic update of the classic cartoon. “The Lion King” broke numerous box office records, including the best start among Disney’s live-action [...]

  • The Fast and the Furious

    'Fast & Furious 9' Production Halted After Stuntman Injured in Fall on Set

    An accident on the set of Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” in the United Kingdom has left a stuntman in hospital with a serious head injury. Production on the movie has halted at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, near London. “We had an injury on the set of ‘FAST 9’ today in Leavesden with one of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content