South Korean Werewolf Romance Eclipses 'Twilight' with 6.5 Million Admissions
SEOUL – Despite the arrival of Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, South Koreans are hot for a teenage werewolf romp of their own. A Werewolf Boy has become the most-watched homegrown romance of all time with over 6.5 million admissions as of Monday, and the craze has prompted the release of a new version with an alternate ending.
Jo Sung-hee’s fantasy film, which revolves around a romance between a young girl (Park Bo-young) and a feral yet devoted “wolf boy” (Song Joong-ki), topped the Korean box office for four consecutive weeks from Oct. 31 to Nov. 28, keeping the Hollywood vampire saga – which has been seen by 2.39 million by now – at number two for two straight weeks after its release in the country on Nov. 15.
“Werewolf is a different kind of fantasy compared to the Twilight or Harry Potter films,” said Jo, whose short film Don’t Step Out of the House won a prize at Cannes in 2008. “Werewolf does not showcase spectacular, CG-heavy action scenes; rather, it’s a fantasy of the emotions. It is a fantasy because it shows a kind of ‘love’ that many don’t believe can exist in this kind of world.”
Though Werewolf and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 dropped to third and fourth respectively this weekend with the opening of the crowd-funded Korean political drama 26 Years and animation The Rise of the Guardians, they continue to draw packed crowds. Werewolf currently ranks no. 2 in advance ticket sales according to the Korean Film Council, and observers expect it to break the 7 million-mark.
At the behest of fans, distributor CJ Entertainment announced Friday that it will release this month in theaters an alternative ending version of Werewolf.
Meanwhile, the fantasy flick, which opened Friday in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas regions, is due to hit more theaters across the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 7.