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COVID-19 pushes back summer releases

“Space Sweepers” (Merry Christmas)
“Space Sweepers” (Merry Christmas)

South Korean films set for release this summer are rescheduling their release dates, as cluster infections of the novel coronavirus continue to spring up in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Film distributor Merry Christmas announced last week that it has postponed the release of sci-fi flick “Space Sweepers” from summer to later this year, since the danger of COVID-19 infection lingers in the nation. The company stated that it is considering opening the film around the Chuseok holidays in September.

The space blockbuster, featuring big names such as Song Joong-ki and Kim Tae-ri, follows the journey of the crew on a debris-collecting space shuttle called the Victory in search of valuable garbage, and its dangerous deal with a humanoid weapon of mass destruction.

Another star-studded film, “Deliver Us From Evil” starring Hwang Jung-min and Lee Jung-jae, had its release date pushed back from July to August. The film’s distributor, CJ Entertainment, announced the postponement last week, predicting that early August will be the peak season for the film industry considering the holiday schedule and current market situation. 


“Deliver Us From Evil” (CJ Entertainment)
“Deliver Us From Evil” (CJ Entertainment)

CJ Entertainment is also shifting the release date of the musical film “Hero,” which was expected to hit local cinemas in the summer season. Depicting the final year in the life of of Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, the film is one of the distributor’s most anticipated tentpole productions of the year. Although the film’s new release date is undecided, the company aims for a release this year to mark the 110th anniversary of Ahn’s death.

Action-crime film “Mogadishu” from star director Ryoo Seung-wan, featuring stars Kim Yoon-seok and Jo In-sung, has also been delayed to later this year.

Two star directors set for summer comebacks with sequels to previous hits, director Yeon Sang-ho with “Peninsula,” the follow-up to “Train to Busan,” and director Yang Woo-seok with “Steel Rain 2: Summit,” are likely to continue with their original release plans, meaning their films should be out in July or August.

The trend accompanies a recent rebound in the number of virus infections and the extension of toughened social distancing measures, announced by the government Friday. While local cinemas have seen the number of moviegoers inch up in June -- thanks to government-provided discount coupons and the introduction of new films -- companies are still hesitant to launch new titles with the ongoing fear of COVID-19 among the general public.



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