Major local film titles are beginning to appear on the Korean releasing schedule as COVID-19 retreats and the peak summer season approaches.
Since Korean cinemas began reopening earlier this month, cinemas schedules have relied heavily on re-runs, mixed with a handful of foreign, smaller new releases. That is about to change.
Since the coronavirus ran rampant from February, local distribution giants CJ Entertainment, Lotte and Showbox canceled or postponed dozens of theatrical outings. “Time to Hunt” was rescheduled multiple times and then switched to a straight to streaming release via Netflix. The pattern was repeated in May.
What has changed is the retreat of the virus threat, effective social distancing measure sin cinemas and the arrival of the summer season, which is traditionally a peak period, especially for genre and horror. That’s because school is out and audiences retreat into theaters to escape the heat.
Acemaker Movieworks’ mystery thriller “Intruder,” which was originally to open in May, held press previews this week and will now open on June 4. Starring Song Ji-hyo (“New World”) and Kim Mu-yeol (“Illang: The Wolf Brigade”), the story revolves around a widower who re-encounters his sister who has been missing for 25 years.
“I feel burdened and nervous (about opening the film at a time when audiences don’t go to watch films in theaters). I hope audiences can enjoy watching films while sticking to safety precautions,” said the film’s director Son Won-pyung at the press event.
Another local drama “Innocence,” which was delayed twice previously will open on June 11. Co-distributed by Sony Pictures Korea and Kidari Ent, “Innocence” is the story of a lawyer who endeavors to prove her mother’s innocence in a murder case.
Starring Park Shin-hye (“The Royal Tailor”) and “Burning” star Yoo Ah-in, “Lotte’s “#alive” is set for a theatrical debut on June 24. The survivor thriller is based on 2019 American film “Alone” by Matt Naylor. Naylor participated in adapting his own script with the Korean director Cho Il-hyung. In a city that is infected by a mysterious virus and has gone out of control, two survivors isolated in an apartment struggle stay alive in the critical situation.
With exact dates not yet confirmed, summer tent pole films from the country’s major distribution players are also gearing up for July and August. These include: N.E.W.’s “Peninsula,” the sequel to Yeon Sang-ho’s megahit zombie thriller “Train to Busan”; CJ Entertainment’s musical drama “Hero”; and Merry Christmas’ space opera “Space Sweepers.”