- Just got word that THE HOST will be making its US debut on 60-70 screens in March. Originally, there was talk that it would open on well over 100 screens, but apparently THE HOST’s poor showing in European markets has spooked Magnolia a little, so now they will open the film more conservatively.
- THE HOST just came out on DVD here in Korea. I already have my copy of the uber-fancy, super-special edition, and I must say it is a nifty package (even if it is a strange shape that fits awkwardly in my DVD cabinet. The menus inside the DVD are a little awkward, too, with odd English, and few of the extras are subtitled. But overall, I still quite like it. There is a monster gag reel, featuring the creators at the Orphanage screwing around with the special effects. And Bong Joon-ho’s short film that was kind of his test for shooting around the Han River was pretty amusing. Most importantly, though, is the movie itself, which looks gorgeous. They blues and greens of the Han riverside in the rain just pop off the screen, and the whole movie is so richly textured. I think I like it more after looking at it at home that I did the first time around in the theaters.
- THE HOST has a first printing (is that the right term for DVDs?) of 33,000 copies in Korea, including rentals. Plus another 20,000 on VHS. Which might not sound great, but that is pretty spiffy for Korea these days. THE KING AND THE CLOWN had just 30,000 (plus 24,000 on VHS). No word on how it is doing in Japan yet.
- Oh, in my box office report a couple of days ago, I forgot to mention BORAT. BORAT opened in just 15th, with 7,271 admissions. No idea how many screens it was on, sorry.
- Big congratulations to Japan for a great year in movies. EIREN (Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan) announced that Japanese films accounted for 53% of the box office in 2006. First time Japanese movies have taken a majority of the box office in 21 years.
(UPDATE: Jason Grey has a good post about the year’s box office here. Then he proudly says he will not talk about box office for the rest of the year, concentrating on content instead. But I am not intimidated by someone daring to talk about art instead of commerce. No, I’m not. Really. And a couple of posts earlier, he talks about the year ahead.)
- On the other hand, admissions were up just 2.4% from 2005, reaching 164 million — nearly the same number Korea had last year, despite having just 40% of Japan’s population. But since tickets in Japan cost double what they do in Korea, Japan remains a much bigger market.
- As I indicated in the comments section of another post, still no word when CHILDREN OF MEN will hit the screens in Korea. But now that the Universal Pictures Korea office has been reorganized, hopefully they will get their act together and bring it sooner rather than later.
- Just ran across Brian Yecies’ article FILM CENSORSHIP AS A GOOD BUSINESS IN COLONIAL KOREA. Great stuff. Download it and read it yourself for a fascinating look at the early days of cinema in Korea. One of the many money quotes:
During this time [1934-36], Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros — First National, Universal, independent agent J.H. Morris and others who represented Columbia, MGM, RKO, and United Artists — had direct distribution offices in Seoul. Korea was unquestionably a key territory for Hollywood distributors. There was no better market in Asia for Hollywood films than colonial Korea.
- A follow-up to my post on the new Daniel Gordon movie, CROSSING THE LINE. CBS’s 60 Minutes had a segment on the movie last Sunday. And, to be honest, it was a little weak. The producers basically just repeated the documentary in (very) short form, with no additional insights or analysis. You can see it for yourself here. Or, better yet, see the original documentary for yourself. The actual film is much more in-depth and interesting than the 60 Minutes abbreviation. For those of you reading from the US, it sounds like the odds are good that the film is going to get distribution in the United States. Hopefully you will not have to wait long to see it.