The Korea Herald


Star-studded summer blockbuster films to compete in August

By Kim Da-sol

Published : June 12, 2023 - 14:00

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A scene from “Unofficial Operation” (Showbox) A scene from “Unofficial Operation” (Showbox)

A number of star-studded blockbuster films will vie for audience attention this summer, raising expectations that the projects might bring local moviegoers back to theaters after the majority of films released this year have performed worse than expected at the box office.

"Unofficial Operation," an action flick starring Ha Jung-woo and Ju Ji-hoon, will open Aug. 2, according to the film distributor Showbox.

The film revolves around Min-joon (Ha), a diplomat who departs for war-torn Lebanon to search for a missing colleague. If successful, he will be given his dream post in the US. In Lebanon, Min-joon meets a Korean taxi driver, Pan-soo (Ju), who is fluent in Arabic and looks like a swindler.

Set in 1987, the film is directed by Kim Sung-hoon, who has also helmed the Netflix hit “Kingdom,” as well as action flicks “A Hard Day” (2014) and “Tunnel” (2016).

Also opening on Aug. 2 is "The Moon," a long-waited film by hit filmmaker Kim Yong-hwa, that stars Sol Kyung-gu, Kim Hee-ae and Do Kyung-soo.

“The Moon” tells the story of Seon-woo (Do), a member of a space project crew who is accidentally left behind and isolated on the Moon, and former space center chief Jae-kook's (Sol) adventure to the Moon to rescue Seon-woo.

The film is director Kim’s first movie set in space, after producing the very successful "Along with the Gods” (2017), (2018).

Meanwhile, director Ryoo Seung-wan’s much-anticipated “Smugglers” opens a week earlier on July 26.

Set in the 1970s in a peaceful seaside village, this crime action film features an accident in front of "haenyeo," female divers who collect mollusks from the ocean floor. Actors Kim Hye-soo, Yeom Jeong-ah, Zo In-sung, Park Jung-mi and Go Min-si star in the film.

With the confirmation of the summer blockbuster films' release in July and August, the market expectation is high for ticket sales to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. There have been concerns about resurgence of local cinemas as streaming services like Netflix enjoy increasing popularity.

Among the dozens of films released so far this year, just three films -- "The Point Men," starring Hwang Jung-min and Hyun Bin; and “Dream,” featuring Park Seo-jun and IU -- drew more than 1 million moviegoers. “The Roundup: No Way Out," which opened May 31, surpassed the 7-million admissions mark over the weekend.