'Alone' feels at home in Korea

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SEOUL -- "Alone," a Thai horror film about Siamese twins, has become an unexpected hit in South Korea, earning more than $2.3 million in its opening week, officials at importer UniKorea said Wednesday.

Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, who also directed the 2005 horror film "Shutter," "Alone" is distributed by Lotte Entertainment.

Opening July 16 on 171 screens -- the widest opening by far for a Thai film in Korea -- "Alone" had pulled in 348,784 viewers by Sunday evening.

To achieve that success, UniKorea pushed the name value of Thai horror, marketing it as the next big wave.

"We wanted people to think that 'J-horror' is not scary anymore and that 'Thai horror' is," UniKorea director of acquisitions Yura Kwon said, referring to horror genre films from Japan.

"Then we started to publicize that 'Alone' is the second horror film from the directors of 'Shutter' and used the term 'Thai horror,' given the successful Thai horror titles from the past, such as 'The Eye' and 'Shutter,' " Kwon said.

"Alone" was the fourth-biggest film of the weekend, beating out all non-Hollywood competition, including all Korean movies, but lagged the big Hollywood films currently dominating Korean screens: "Die Hard 4.0," "Transformers" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Kwon said that UniKorea expects a strong showing for "Alone" because of the directors' track record, the quality of the movie and the unique subject matter. Marketing played up the film's Siamese twin characters. Indeed, the Korean title of the movie was "Siam."

In late March, when it was released in Thailand, "Alone" made just over $2 million at the boxoffice, making it the Southeast Asian nation's fifth-biggest domestic movie so far this year.

Produced and sold internationally by GMM Tai Hub, "Alone" has already been sold to all Asian territories, Brazil, Mexico, France and the U.S. In addition, Los Angeles-based 24 Frames has acquired its remake rights.
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