CJ makes inroads into Vietnam

By Claire Lee

Two joint production films to be released in Vietnam this year

  • Published : Jan 27, 2014 - 19:34
  • Updated : Jan 27, 2014 - 21:54
Vietnamese American film producer and director Charlie Nguyen (left), Vietnamese actor Thai Hoa.
(CJ Entertainment)

After its successful venture into the Chinese film industry last year, Korea’s CJ E&M Pictures is now set to make a foray into Vietnamese cinema, targeting audiences in the Southeast Asian country.

The entertainment company announced on Sunday that it is producing two Korean-Vietnamese joint films, both of which will be released in theaters in Vietnam this year.

One of the two films is “De Hoi Tinh,” about a gay man who meets a talented but financially struggling artist who makes a living by creating imitations of the world’s masterpieces. It stars the highly popular Vietnamese actor Thai Hoa, and is directed by Vietnamese-American auteur Charlie Nguyen.

The other is “Thien Ac Kho,” an action comedy about an attractive pickpocket who tries to seduce a wealthy woman to pay off his debts. But he eventually finds himself developing genuine feelings for her. The film is CJ’s first collaboration with Chanh Phuong Films, a Vietnamese production company. It will be directed by Vietnamese director Vo Tan Bihn and will star popular actor Johnny Nguyen.

CJ E&M Pictures last year coproduced “A Wedding Invitation,” a Chinese remake of Korean filmmaker Oh Ki-hwan’s 2001 tearjerker “Last Present.” The film, starring Chinese actress Bai Baihe and Taiwanese-Canadian actor Eddie Peng, was directed by Oh.

In April it became the highest-grossing Korea-China joint production, garnering 192 million yuan ($32 million) at the Chinese box office. The film, however, did not enjoy commercial success in Korea when it was released in June; it only drew 17,872 viewers and grossed 127 million won ($117,550).

CJ’s other international projects include Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 dystopian thriller “Snowpiercer” and Gina Kim’s food and family drama “Final Recipe,” which stars Hong Kong-Canadian singer Henry Lau and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh. The two films will be screened during the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival next month.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)