The Korea Herald


Popular Korean content remade into films, TV series globally

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : March 14, 2022 - 14:33

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A scene from the French Netflix film “Restless” directed by Regis Blondeau (Netflix) A scene from the French Netflix film “Restless” directed by Regis Blondeau (Netflix)
A lieutenant’s life is turned upside down after accidentally killing a man. He desperately hides all the pieces of evidence, including the dead man’s body. Just when he thinks he has succeeded, he receives threats from a mysterious witness.

This is the plot of a recent hit French film on Netflix, “Restless,” directed by Regis Blondeau. Released on Feb. 28, the film immediately became popular globally with its fresh and tight plot, topping the streaming service platform’s non-English movie chart for the Feb. 28 to March 6 period.

Many Korean movie lovers found the plot of this film familiar, as it is a remake of the Korean action thriller “A Hard Day” directed by Kim Seong-hoon, which came out in 2014 and garnered an audience of around 3.45 million here.

Kim’s movie was especially popular in the remake market, as “Restless” is its third remake. It was remade in the Philippines under the same title, and also in China as “Peace Breaker.”

Local film industry insiders see that it is likely to see more cases like this, where recognized Korean content turns into another successful work after being remade. This is especially the case since Korean content is constantly gaining popularity among global buyers.

Last year, Korean movie remake rights sold overseas reached 2.38 billion won ($1.91 million), the highest figure in five years.

Cable channel tvN’s 2016 hit drama series “Signal” is considered as a candidate for the next overseas hit remake. The Japanese remake movie of the Korean drama will hit local theaters in March.

The original drama is written by Korean star screenwriter Kim Eun-hee and centered around investigators from the past and future who communicate via a special walkie-talkie to solve crimes. The walkie-talkie transports its users to past crime scenes and offers information crucial to solving the case in the present time.
A scene from the Korean film “A Hard Day” directed by Kim Seong-hoon (Showbox) A scene from the Korean film “A Hard Day” directed by Kim Seong-hoon (Showbox)
The Japanese film adaptation of the Korean drama also features K-pop sensation BTS’ “Film Out” as its official soundtrack song.

Another highly anticipated remake film is “The Last Train To New York,” which is expected to be released in April next year. The remake zombie thriller will be directed by Timo Tjahjanto, who is known for directing thrillers like “The Night Comes for Us” and “May the Devil Take You.”

It will be an English remake of director Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie apocalypse thriller flick “Train to Busan.”

Yeon received global attention in 2016 with “Train to Busan,” which follows a motley crew of passengers on a train when a sudden zombie virus outbreak overtakes the country. The original film was a box office hit locally and screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The Villainess,” another Korean thriller directed by Jung Byung-gil which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, will be adapted for small screen viewers by Amazon Studios in the US.

The new remake depicts the story of an Asian woman who believes she is adopted and raised by white parents in a small American town. After a violent incident on a trip to Korea, she discovers she may have some sort of connection to her motherland. The only way to uncover her true identity might be to sell her soul to a corrupt organization.