The Korea Herald


Star-studded cast couldn’t save ‘Wonderland'

Less than a month after its release, the fantasy romance heads to streaming platforms

By Kim Da-sol

Published : July 2, 2024 - 14:18

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“Wonderland” (Acemaker Movieworks) “Wonderland” (Acemaker Movieworks)

Movies with an all-star cast are normally guaranteed hits, as fans flock to the theater to see their favorite actors.

However, the talented cast of director Kim Tae-yong’s fantasy romance “Wonderland” couldn’t save it from its shortcomings.

The film portrays people reuniting through AI in a simulated virtual world called Wonderland. South Korean heartthrobs Suzy and Park Bo-gum star as a couple, while Chinese actor Tang Wei boasts good chemistry with Gong Yoo. Jung Yu-mi and Choi Woo-shik play the Wonderland staff.

Just 22 days after the movie’s release on June 5, “Wonderland” became available on video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. The movie will also be available on Netflix later this month in countries other than Korea.

As of Tuesday, the movie has accumulated 620,000 tickets sold so far, pushed out by the competition with “Furiosa: Mad Max Saga,” “Hijacking 1971,” “Handsome Guys” and “Inside Out 2.”

Many see the movie's delayed release as having contributed to its box office failure. The movie was completed in 2020, but its release was delayed due to the pandemic. The delay may have given the impression that the movie is outdated.

“It is just a bit awkward to see actors from four years ago. For example, Park Bo-gum developed this manly image after completing the military service but this movie was shot before his enlistment,” said an industry insider who declined to be named.

Some pointed to the shortcomings in the plot itself.

“If this movie had come out a few years ago, it could have sounded fresh and imaginative. but since so many people are already exposed to the developed technology and AI services, the storyline sounds dull and banal,” said a 30-something moviegoer surnamed Park.

First-time director Kim Se-hui's “Following,” a mystery thriller that depicts the secretive life of a voyeur and a pretentious attention-seeking social media influencer, opened in theaters on May 15. The film completed shooting in February 2021. But the movie drew many viewers, selling 1.2 million tickets.

Director Nam Dong-hyup’s action comedy “Handsome Guys,” which centers on two well-meaning friends who relocated to the suburbs, went viral for blending genres, providing viewers with an unprecedented viewing experience. The movie also completed shooting in December 2020.