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Korea’s CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs as It Battles With Local Industry

Yeun Seung-ro has been appointed as CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment, the Korean-owned company that operates Turkey’s largest cinema chain. He replaces Kwak Dong Won, another veteran of the CJ-CGV group.

The change of personnel may reflect two ongoing battles within the Turkish film industry. CJ-CGV, which bought Mars for some $650 million in 2016. would not explain its reasons, though it did confirm the personnel switch.

Turkish film producers last year took complaints about CGV Mars to Turkey’s Ministry of Culture. They argued that CGV Mars was acting unfairly by selling cinema-goers packages that bundled together admission tickets and popcorn. But that CGV only shared the revenue from the tickets, at a lower nominal price, with producers, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

After leading film-makers threatened to withdraw their films from cinemas, the producers appear to have won that battle. The Turkish parliament has passed new regulations, in line with the producers’ position, and which will become effective from July.

However, only three days after Kwak arrived from Seoul, CGV Mars became part of a new row over the role of Netflix in Turkey. Hit gangster comedy “Organized Jobs 2” (aka “Organize Isler: Sazan Sarmali”,) written and directed by the prominent Yilmaz Erdogan, began to screen on Netflix only two weeks after launching in cinemas. The online version was quickly pirated, and may have contributed to the film’s early exit from cinemas. The title was co-produced by local company BKM and CGV Mars.

CJ CGV previously kicked off its local production efforts in Turkey in 2017 with BKM producing “Hot, Sweet & Sour,” an adaptation of CJ Entertainment’s romantic drama “The Wedding Invitation.”

“Dong Won Kwak, CGV Mars Entertainment Group former CEO, will share his valuable experiences and business knowledge that he gained in Vietnam and Turkey, in CGV Korea Center as member of advisory board as of 18.02.2019,” said CJ-CGV in a statement emailed to Variety.

“Seung Ro Yoon was appointed as new CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment Group. Mr Yoon, worked as global region leader in CGV Korea Center, will work to achieve the 2019 goals of company by making a new leap and taking into account the changing dynamics of sector in the new era.” Yoon previously held positions in Australia and the U.K.

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