Set up by former Showbox executive Helen Jung, who had been behind multiple hit films such as historical drama “A Taxi Driver,” crime drama “Inside Men,” as well as disaster pic “Tunnel” and 2014 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title “A Hard Day,” Acemaker Movieworks began its journey in the Korean film industry in 2018.
As with several other new entrants at the time, Acemaker represented a combination of industry veterans and non-industry capital. It sourced its money from the former owner of cosmetic company Carver Korea, which Unilever acquired in 2017.
“[We] seek diversity in content and support creators without prejudice,” says the company in its mission statement. Acemaker’s line-up includes not only strong box- office hits, but also festival-acclaimed slates such as “The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil.”
Indeed, over the past two years, Acemaker has built up a colorful catalog of films, including 2019 Cannes Midnight Screening title “The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil,” horror thriller “Metamorphosis,” crime drama “Black Money” and comedy “Secret Zoo.” Sold to more than 100 territories, “The Gangster” is also set to receive an English-language remake in the U.S.
This year, the company took the lead in releasing homegrown titles in (real world) theaters when the market was hard hit by coronavirus, and Korean box office sustained four months of record lows.
Its mystery thriller “Intruder,” which opened on June 4, was the first mainstream Korean film released in cinemas since mid-February. Another Acemaker title, “Me and Me,” which is veteran actor Jeong Jin-young’s directorial debut, followed two weeks later.
Apart from the decision to theatrically release its films at the bottom of the market, Acemaker has made another bold move. From now on, it will start handling its own films’ international sales.
Although its catalog titles have been introduced at international film markets, represented mostly by independent sales house Finecut or Next Entertainment World’s Contents Panda, at the online edition of the Cannes Market, Acemaker’s international business team launched sales of “Dirty Money,” “New Year Blues” and pre-sales of “Wonderland,” which is still in production.
Starring Jung Woo (“The Himalayas”) and Kim Dae-myung (“Inside Men”), “Dirty Money” revolves around two detectives who lay their hands on big, risky money and see things start to go all wrong. Directed by Hong Ji-young (“Will You Be There?”), “New Year Blues” is an omnibus rom-com featuring four couples on New Year’s Eve. Both films are set for theatrical releases in later 2020.