South Korean Blockbuster 'Veteran' to Get U.S. Release

Veteran Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

A special screening of the crime actioner will be held for LAPD officers before it hits local theaters.

Veteran, one of South Korea's highest grossing films of all time, will open across North American theaters on Sept. 18 following its international premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, its local distributor CJ Entertainment announced.

Before hitting screens across Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Vancouver and Toronto, the action flick will be shown to Los Angeles Police Department officers and their families on Sept. 16. On Sept. 17, director Ryoo Seung-wan will take part in a press junket as well as a Q&A session with the audience invited to a preview screening.

The film is due to be shown across 46 screens in the North American region, which is significantly higher than the number of screens allotted to other recent CJ Entertainment titles, including The Admiral: Roaring Currents (30 screens) and Ode to My Father (38 screens).

Starring Korean A-listers Hwang Jung-min (Ode to My Father) and Yoo Ah-in (The Throne, Korea's entry for the 2016 foreign-language Oscar category), Veteran is about a cop facing off against a corrupt, sociopathic business mogul. “The film embodies Ryoo Seung-wan’s style as a writer-director, with humorous dialog and social commentaries,” said film critic Jeong Ji-ouk.

As of Thursday, Veteran ranks No. 2 in the Korean box office since opening here over a month ago on Aug. 5, and has earned $79.2 million according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database. In terms of admissions, by which local industry observers measure a film's performance, it has become one of the top 10 homegrown titles of all time with over 12 million admissions — or close to a fourth of Korea's population of 50 million.

CJ Entertainment America will handle the North American release. The company began directly distributing films in the U.S. in 2009 and is one of the largest distributors of Asian films in the region, handling around 20 to 24 titles per year.