South Korean Lesbian Thriller 'The Handmaiden' Presold to 116 Countries

Berlin Hot List - The Handmaiden - H 2016
Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

Amazon Studios will distribute the upcoming film by Park Chan-wook in the U.S.

The Handmaiden by South Korean director Park Chan-wook was pre-sold to 116 territories during the European Film Market (EFM), CJ Entertainment announced Thursday.

Amazon Studios will handle U.S. rights for the lesbian thriller from the director best known for Oldboy and Stoker. The film will also be distributed in Japan (Phantom), Taiwan (Catchplay), Hong Kong/Macau (Edko), Australia/New Zealand (Dreamwest), Mongolia (Bloomsbury), Turkey (Kurmaca), Poland (Gutek Film), Czech Republic/Slovakia (Aero Films), Hungary (Mozinet), Greece/Cyprus (AMA), German-speaking territories (Koch Media), French speaking territories (The Jokers) and Latin America (Swen).

The number of sales is expected to rise as the company concludes more deals under progress, according to Kini S. Kim, head of CJ's international department.

"There was fierce competition among the distributors to acquire the rights for their own territories," said Kim.
"The high expectations for maestro Park Chan-wook's new project and the high-quality visuals from the highlights in the promo reels have drawn pre-sales on an unprecedented scale."

This marks the second-largest pre-sales deal for the company since Bong Joon Ho's Snowpiercer, which was picked up by a record 167 countries.

Inspired by the British novel Fingersmith, The Handmaiden takes place during the Japanese colonial period (1910-45). An orphan girl (newcomer Kim Tae-ri) is hired by a con man (Assassination's Ha Jung-woon) to win the trust of a wealthy heiress (Right Now, Wrong Then's Kim Min-hee), only to end up falling for her. The film is slated to be released in June in Korea.