Magazine article Variety

Showbiz Leaders Seek Global Growth

Magazine article Variety

Showbiz Leaders Seek Global Growth

Article excerpt

he growth bug has hit South Korea's three leading entertainment companies: CJ Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment and Showbox.

They're all participating in the American Film Market as sellers of Korean films. That's to be expected. But the real story here is that the trio are also setting out to expand globally and dive deeper into international productions.

Such expansion is seen as necessary if those companies are to grow, as they are already dominating the domestic market.

CJ Entertainment, which started started its international move before Lotte and Showbox, has been the country's No. 1 film studio that has backed, distributed and sold some of South Korea's biggest films.

At AFM, the conglomerate is introducing several new titles to buyers: Jang Joon-hwan's "1987: When the Day Comes," Noh Dongseok's "Golden Slumber," Choi Sung-hyun's "Keys to the Heart," Korean-Turkish co-production "Hot Sweet Sour" and animated feature "Tobot: Attack of the Robot Force."

Among the three companies, CJ is the only one to launch sales of new titles that have not been sold at previous markets such as Busan's Asian Film Market and Tokyo's TIFFCOM.

"Each market has different buyers," Choi Yoon-hee, CJ's head of international sales and distribution, told Variety. "Compared to the other two markets in Asia, there are more non-Asian buyers attending AFM. Also, we consider our products' release schedules when launching sales. As we prefer pre-sales, the titles that we are bringing to the AFM are mostly winter tentpole films that are set for theatrical releases during the Christmas or Lunar New Year seasons."

Apart from international sales, which are the company's major strength, CJ has now set its sights on becoming a full-fledged global film producer. The company, which accounts for a 30% share of the Korean distribution market, now aims to annually produce 20 films in 10 languages.

The international production strategy started with the "Miss Granny" franchise. The hit Korean comedy has already been remade in multiple territories in Asia, including China, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, and has enjoyed box office success.

As the company aims to further expand beyond Asia, "Granny" is being remade for two separate audience groups in North America. Tyler Perry Studios is handling an English-language version of the film, targeting the African-American community, while 3Pas Studio will make a Spanish-language version for the Hispanic market and potentially for Latin America.

The company's latest international production attempt is "Hot Sweet Sour," a Turkish remake of the company's 2013 co-production with China. …

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