NOTES ON ENTERTAINMENT, CULTURE AND MORE FROM KOREA (OR WHEREVER)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Summer Releases

Does the opening of WATCHMEN last week mean the summer movie season now starts at the beginning of March? Let's hope not. However, the real summer releases are beginning to fill the calendar, and this year looks like one of the more interesting in quite some time.

If you follow Korean movies at all, you know the pattern -- Korean films start the year pretty strong, thanks in part of the Lunar New Year. But by March the balance flows back to Hollywood. Then May and June and much of July are completely dominated by Hollywood. But by the end of July, Korean films make a comeback and usually do very well in August. Korean films do well again for the Chuseok holiday in late September/early October, then finish the year strong.

Will 2009 be the same? Certainly Hollywood's rhythms fit that schedule. But this year there are several really big Korean films challenging Hollywood's turf, so there is at least the potential for a different result this year. It is still a little early to be talking about summer, but what they hey -- here's a look at the coming season's movies:

April 2
- PRIVATE EYE (Geurimja Sarin). A thriller set early in the Japanese colonial period. So far colonial era films have had rather lackluster results at the box office, but this film looks interesting.
- FAST & FURIOUS 4 (or whatever number this one is).

April 30
- THIRST (Bakjui). The new Park Chan-wook film. Starring Song Gang-ho. Religion, vampires, sex. What else do you need to know?
- WOLVERINE

May 7 - STAR TREK
May 14 - ANGELS AND DEMONS
May 22 - TERMINATOR 4
Some time in May (tentative) - MOTHER. Bong Joon-ho's latest. Distributor is waiting to see how the film does at Cannes, hoping it gets some good coverage and a bounce. Early word on this film is very strong.

June
- TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. The first TRANSFORMERS film was the most successful foreign film ever in Korea. How will the sequel do?
- GI JOE. Officially slated for August 2, word is Fox has moved this film up to June, although there is no exact date yet. (UPDATE: Nevermind. I'm an idiot. August release it is.) Features Lee Byung-hun has one of the bad guys.

July 2 - PUBLIC ENEMIES

Sometime in July
- HAEUNDAE. Big tsunami hits the sound coast of Korea, in particular the popular beach resort of Haeundae. Big money is going into the disaster effects, plus it stars Sol Kyung-gu and Ha Ji-won.
- JEON WOO CHI. Goblins wreaking havoc on the world? I would be more skeptical, but I am a pretty big fan of Choi Dong-hoon (TAZZA, THE BIG SWINDLE), so I have hope this film could be a lot of fun. Besides, special-effects heavy films coming out in late July/early August have a pretty good record (THE HOST, D-WAR).

No dates yet
- HARRY POTTER 6.
- All those Hollywood comedies. Hollywood still pushes its blockbusters hard in Korea, but the vulgar comedies just do not translate well so often get minimal releases (if any at all).

I am sure I have missed more than a few films. I will update this list as summer gets closer.

1 comment:

Marten said...

Oh man....Park Chan-Wook and Bong Jong-Ho in the same year! This is going to be a great year for Korean Cinema. These two films could potentially make up for last year's lackluster crop of Korean films in its entirety.

The trailer for Thirst looks promising. I really hope it delivers. I'm a Cyborg But That's Ok is an acquired taste. Unfortunately, I didn't acquire it.