The 5 Biggest South Korean Releases Set to Hit Theaters in 2016
This year's buzzy titles include Liam Neeson's Korean War epic, Yeon Sang-ho's live-action film debut and Warner Bros.’ first local production.
The South Korean film industry is booming more than ever, with box-office revenue and theater admissions in 2015 hitting all-time highs for the sixth consecutive year.
With a diverse range of big-budget movies slated for 2016, The Hollywood Reporter spotlights five titles already generating buzz.
CJ Entertainment (EFM sales handled by Finecut)
Liam Neeson is sure to generate interest in his role as Gen. Douglas MacArthur in this Korean War epic. Director John H. Lee and writer Lee Man-hee, who collaborated on another Korean War actioner, 71: Into the Fire, reunited for this film. Finecut has already closed deals for the title in Germany, Austria, Benelux, Yugoslavia and Taiwan at EFM.
Director Kim Jee-woon (Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand) helms Warner Bros.’ first local production. The action-packed period film, set for release in the second half of this year, marks Kim's fourth collaboration with veteran Korean star Song Kang-ho (The Throne). Set in Japan-occupied Korea and China during the 1920s, the movie features independence fighters facing off with Japanese police and secret agents while attempting to smuggle explosives across the border.
Train to Busan
Next Entertainment World
Yeon Sang-ho, creator of the critically acclaimed noir animations for adults The King of Pigs and The Fake, makes his live-action film debut with this thriller. The film chronicles the chaos that ensues as a deadly virus sweeps through Korea and passengers on a bullet train from Seoul to the southern port city of Busan must fight for their survival. The project has garnered strong early buzz due to the fact that there have been few local disaster movies since the enormous success of the 2009 tsunami blockbuster Haeundae.
Kim Sung-hoon, director of 2013's hit crime actioner A Hard Day, helms this story of a man trapped inside a collapsed tunnel and the dramatic events surrounding his rescue. Highly sought-after star Ha Jung-woo (Assassination) plays the lead role alongside actress Bae Doo-na, who has returned to mainstream Korean cinema after a stint in Hollywood (Sense8, Jupiter Ascending).
Master filmmaker and producer Kang Woo-suk tackles a historical epic for the first time for his 20th film. Based on the novel of the same name by Park Bum-shin, the pic traces 19th-century mountaineer, geographer and cartographer Kim Jeong-ho’s extensive efforts to create his renowned map of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). Cha Seung-won plays the legend who is known to have walked the entire breadth and length of the Korean Peninsula for the project.