Warner Bros.' South Korean Oscar Contender 'The Age of Shadows' Sells to Multiple Territories

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
'The Age of Shadows'

Korea's entry for best foreign-language film category has been sold to 45 territories as it rakes up U.S. and domestic box-office shares.

Seoul-based sales banner Finecut announced on Thursday a slew of new deals for The Age of Shadows, Warner Bros.' first local production in South Korea.

Following well-received screenings at Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, the period drama has been sold to 45 territories including North America (CJ Entertainment), Latin America (California Films), Australia and New Zealand (Madman Entertainment), Hong Kong (Edko Films), Taiwan (Filmware International), the Philippines (Viva Entertainment Group), Spain (La Aventura), Portugal (FILMS4YOU) and Turkey (Filmarti Film).

"Now other territories including Japan, the U.K., Germany and others are in keen discussion for further sales deals," said a statement from Finecut about the film which is currently topping the South Korean box office.

Presented by Warner Bros. Pictures and produced by Grimm Pictures and Warner Bros. Korea, The Age of Shadows has earned over $57 million in the South Korean box office since opening on Sept. 7. It continues to top the charts for the third straight week, competing against new releases such as Ben Hur and Magnificent 7

It has grossed over $165,685 in the U.S. during its first weekend following its release on Sept. 23. It ranked No. 20 in North America in terms of box office per screen, according to Rentrack. It is expected to rake up more revenue, with theatrical release dates set for Oct. 20 in Hong Kong, Oct. 27 in New Zealand, Nov. 3 in Australia, and Nov. 4 in Taiwan. Chosen as Korea's Oscar entry, the film will also vie for a spot in the best foreign-language nominee list.

Directed by star South Korean director Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad The Weird), The Age of Shadows is set during the 1920s Japanese colonial era. Snowpiercer star Song Kang-ho appears opposite Train to Busan's lead man Gong Yoo in a cat-and-mouse intrigue about independence fighters trying to bring in explosives from China to destroy key Japanese facilities.

"It's both an excellent film and an excellent piece of work for a distributor. Korean films raise the level of what European audiences understand as genre, so a film like The Age of Shadows deserves to be seen in Spanish theaters," said Ferran Herranz of the Spanish distributer La Aventura.

Says Christian Were of Madman Entertainment (Australia and New Zealand): "I think that from the opening rooftop scene, Kim Jee-woon proves he is still the master of the action set-piece and this sets the momentum for a film that is constantly moving at a thrilling pace. The chemistry between the two leads brings an extra magic and depth. The story is also universal and I believe one that would particularly appeal to Korean and Chinese audiences and also strongly elsewhere. That;s why we think it will perform well in our territory."