×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Korea’s NEW Hits 10-Year Mark With Bigger Plans in Place

“For the past decade, Next Entertainment World has continuously challenged itself whenever there was an opportunity,” said Kim Woo-taek, chairman of Next Entertainment World.

Indeed, NEW, celebrating its 10th anniversary at Busan, has come a long way in a short time, developing itself from a second mover in the industry into a total entertainment company, overcoming hurdles and implementing innovative decisions. Take, for example, the company’s beginnings. When Kim launched NEW in 2008 with only four employees, the Korean film industry had been dominated by long-established, vertically integrated big companies. CJ Entertainment had been the top Korean distributor since 2003, with Showbox the a runner-up. The Korean arms of Hollywood majors had boasted strong lineups. A fledging in such a saturated industry, NEW started its domestic distribution business with foreign titles including Catherine Hardwicke’s “Twilight.” In its second year, when it launched investment-distribution operations of Korean titles, it became one of the top five distributors.

In 2013, it distributed 12 homegrown titles and accounted for 29.5% of the total box office revenue from all local films released that year, an astonishingly fast rise. That was the first time in 10 years that CJ Entertainment, the country’s all-time No. 1 conglomerate, failed to take the top spot. NEW’s “Miracle in Cell No. 7,” which crossed the 10 million admissions mark, was the biggest film of 2013, while its crime actioners “New World” and “Hide and Seek” also saw moderate success. In the following year, political drama “The Attorney” managed to sell more than 10 million tickets, and helped NEW log a successful year.

NEW’s 2016 zombie pic “Train to Busan” was a sensation in the Asian film industry. It broke almost every box office record in South Korea and went on to blaze through the B.O. in the majority of Southeast Asian territories. France’s Gaumont bought the film’s English remake rights. “Train” was the live-action feature debut film of animation maverick Yeon Sang-ho, and NEW had made the bold decision to invest in “Train” when all they had was a one-sentence logline.

A willingness to embrace risk helped the company take steps beyond the domestic market. It set up joint venture HUACE & NEW (Huacehexin) with China’s Huace Media in 2015, aiming to make content for the Chinese market. Three films, including two remakes of South Korean originals, “The Beauty Inside” and “The Phone,” are currently being developed and produced.

NEW was also one of the first Korean companies to build up business relations with Netflix. Since 2016’s disaster pic “Pandora,” Netflix has picked up a string of NEW titles including “Train” director Yeon’s sophomore outing, “Psychokinesis,” and political actioner “Steel Rain.” And once again in 2017, the global streaming giant partnered up with NEW for Korean theatrical release of its “Okja,” from director Bong Joon-ho.

Kim, looking ahead in the coming years, puts emphasis on not stopping the challenges, and working with the right partners.

“With good partners both inside and outside Korea, we will continue to challenge ourselves even further so that NEW can become an icon of challenge, trust, fun and heartwarming (content provider),” he said.

In celebration of the 10 year anniversary, NEW hosted a party in Busan Oct. 5. Among its anniversary lineup full of blockbusters with star casts, period zombie actioner “Rampant” and musical drama “Swing Kids” are set for release in the fourth quarter.

More Film

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

  • Crown Vic

    Thomas Jane's Police Thriller 'Crown Vic' Sells to Screen Media (EXCLUSIVE)

    Screen Media has bought North American rights to writer-director Joel Souza’s police crime-thriller “Crown Vic,” starring Thomas Jane and Luke Kleintank. The distributor closed terms during the Cannes Film Festival amid a competitive bidding situation between seven other suitors. Screen Media plans to release the pic this fall. “Crown Vic” premiered in April at the [...]

  • Colleen Bell

    Colleen Bell Replaces Amy Lemisch as California Film Commission Director

    Veteran entertainment executive and ambassador Colleen Bell will replace Amy Lemisch as director of the California Film Commission. Bell, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, has worked as a consultant since 2017. She was the U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 2014 to 2017. She held several positions at Bell-Phillip Television Productions, including [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content