Korean producer Little Big Pictures and foreign sales agent Contents Panda have agreed terms over the licensing of action thriller “Time to Hunt.” The agreement paves the way for the movie to have its premiere on global streaming platform Netflix.
The two companies issued separate statements on Thursday afternoon. Little Big Pictures’ statement was a groveling apology to the sales agent, frustrated international distributors and audiences. Contents Panda’s notice announced that it had salvaged the reputation of the Korean industry, agreed compensation with distributors in 30 territories that it had licensed the film to, and withdrawn its injunction from the Korean courts.
Missing was a statement from Netflix. The streamer told Variety that it was currently unable to confirm a new upload date, but would be able to do so soon.
The film was directed by Yoon Sung-hyun and tells a revenge tale of four no-hopers in a dystopian near future who pick the wrong target to rob. It pulls together a cast of rising star youngsters including Lee Je-hoon, Ahn Jae-hong, Choi Woo-shik, Park Jeong-min and Park Hae-soo. Its world premiere was as a special gala screening in February at the Berlin Film Festival.
The film’s planned Korean commercial release shortly after its Berlin debut was repeatedly delayed by disruptions caused by the spread of the coronavirus. Little Big Pictures, which was the film’s principal financier and its local distributor, took the decision to go straight to online instead and announced that Netflix would make it available from April 10.
Little Big Pictures and Contents Panda had earlier been discussing alternative release strategies, but Little Big Pictures’ late March announcement that it had completed an online deal caught the sales agent by surprise. Contents Panda sought and obtained an injunction from a Seoul court, causing Netflix to suspend playout.
“We unilaterally sent a notice of termination while ignoring the achievement of Contents Panda, the world sales agent, who contributed (its efforts for) over a year. We received the restraining order from the court. We respect the court’s decision and offer our apologies to Contents Panda,” said Little Big Pictures head Kwon Ji-won in his statement.
“We have reached an amicable agreement (with) reasonable compensation to the overseas buyers representing more than 30 territories that had signed contracts to purchase ‘Time to Hunt’,” said Contents Panda. “We prioritized the avoidance of international disputes and wish to show that the Korean film industry respects contractual relationships, legal procedures and common sense.”