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Korean films expected to hit theaters in summer

Film “Peninsula” (NEW)
Film “Peninsula” (NEW)

Though the ongoing coronavirus crisis has stopped the clock for most industries, some big players in the film scene are sticking to their original plans and preparing to release new works this summer.

In recent months, the local film industry has been struggling hard with the ongoing pandemic. Film productions have been postponed or halted. Numbers of cinemagoers have drastically dropped, hitting the lowest point in history, as people refrain from visiting public spaces.

Meanwhile, amid such a crisis, film producer and distributor Next Entertainment World released a teaser video last week for its upcoming zombie thriller “Peninsula,” confirming plans for a summer release. The sequel to director Yeon Sang-ho’s 2016 hit zombie film “Train to Busan,” “Peninsula” will be helmed by Yeon and stars top-tier actors Gang Dong-won and Lee Jung-hyun.

After the massive success of “Train to Busan,” followed by worldwide hit “Kingdom” series on Netflix, local zombie movies recently have been in the limelight, and “Peninsula” is now one of the most anticipated Korean films this year.


Film “Peninsula” (NEW)
Film “Peninsula” (NEW)

The sequel is expected to take place in the same universe as the original movie, picking up the story four years after the zombie apocalypse. The survivors are still fighting the zombies, who are now even faster and more powerful than before.

According to NEW, the blockbuster will be released in Korea and several other countries in the summer.

Musical film “Hero,” which depicts the events leading up to the death of Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, is also slated to open in the summer as scheduled.

The film, a remake of the popular musical theater piece of the same title, will be helmed by director Yoon Je-kyoon of “Ode to My Father” (2014) and “Tidal Wave” (2009).

“Hero” dramatizes the final year of Ahn’s life, during which he shoots Korea’s first resident governor as it is under Japanese colonial rule. The assassination occurred in Harbin Station in northern China on Oct. 26, 1909, and Ahn was executed in a Japanese prison in China on March 26 the following year.

According to the film’s distributor CJ Entertainment, it is being released this year in commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the activist’s death.


Poster of film “Hero” (CJ Entertainment)
Poster of film “Hero” (CJ Entertainment)

Actor Jung Sung-hwa from the original musical, who has played the historical icon since the show opened in 2009, takes up the role in the film as well. A veteran actor both on the stage screen, Jung was honored by the Korea Musical Awards in 2010 as best lead actor for his work in the musical.

Although the release schedule has not been confirmed yet, a few other blockbuster films with similar production budgets, around 20 billion won ($16.2 million), are looking toward summer debuts.

Sci-fi space movie “Victory,” featuring Song Joong-ki and Kim Tae-ri, is also expected to open in July or August. The producers are reportedly monitoring the virus situation before confirming a release date.

Action-crime film “Mogadishu” from star director Ryoo Seung-wan, featuring top actors Kim Yoon-seok and Jo In-sung, is also nearing the post-production stage. Shooting in Morocco fortunately wrapped up before the coronavirus outbreak started.

Major film company Showbox is also mulling when to release comedy-disaster flick “Sinkhole,” starring Cha Seung-won, Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Sung-kyun.

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
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