Execs: Local Korean productions to expand

Hollywood likely to continue funding local-language films

SEOUL -- Hollywood studios are likely to continue and perhaps expand production of local-language movies around the world, despite the recession-driven cutbacks in the U.S. That, at least, was the message delivered to audiences Monday at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

"Hollywood has to do it and should do it," said "Superman Returns" producer and former head of Columbia/TriStar Chris Lee, arguing that cinemagoing reflects the leisure occupations of middle income folks around the world.

He questioned how far Hollywood studios are able to go into territories, assemble local stars and directors and then sell to local markets better than their local counterparts. But he added that "studios are definitely in it for the long haul."

Former Fox Atomic exec Zak Kadison said "they have to continue (making local films) because that's where the business is going."

Kadison said that Hollywood studios do not place high emphasis on remake rights or international distribution potential when assessing which local projects and talent to back. Instead, "the studios are only looking at the local market level," he said. Kadison said that studios had to date avoided much local production in Spain and Korea because of high levels of piracy.

Lee, however, had better news for Korea when he predicted a massive international future for Korean singer-turned-actor Rain.

"Rain's performance in 'Speed Racer' really made Warner sit up and take note. Now he is in 'Ninja Assassins.' Rain is going to be a huge star after that film," Lee said.