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Summer box-office preview: the 5 most highly anticipated Korean movies

All Headlines 16:42 May 28, 2018

SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- Summer is typically the peak season for the Korean film industry, the time when roughly one quarter of all moviegoers hit theaters. Major distributors have already competed fiercely to set the best timing for their new release.

Last year, "A Taxi Driver" about the 1980 Gwangju pro-democracy uprising was the most-viewed movie of the summer, drawing more than 10 million views. At the same time, "The Battleship Island," one of the most anticipated films of the year, was a box-office flop while "Midnight Runners" was a surprise sensation with more than 5 million views.

Here is a list of this summer's five most anticipated Korean films.

A still from "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" (Yonhap)

Along With the Gods 2 (Tentative title)

"Along With the Gods 2" is a sequel to the successful 2017 fantasy blockbuster "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds," the second-most-viewed film of all time in South Korea seen by 14.41 million moviegoers.

Directed by Kim Yong-hwa, the first installment of the two-part series was about a righteous firefighter (played by Cha Tae-hyun) who is judged in seven hells for 49 days after his death, guided by three grim reapers played by Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi. Part two, set to open in early August, has actor Ma Dong-seok as Seongju God (House Guardian God) helping people in addition to the three main characters. The film will be released by Lotte Entertainment.

A promotional poster for "Inrang" (Tentative title) (Yonhap)

Inrang (Tentative title)

Warner Bros. Korea recently decided to release "Inrang," (English title pending) the new feature from director Kim Jee-woon of "The Age of Shadows" (2016) and "A Bittersweet Life" (2004), in late July.

The sci-fi thriller is a Korean live-action adaptation from the Japanese animated film masterpiece "The Wolf Brigade" by Hiroyuki Okiura.

Set in the distant future where South and North Korea agree to launch a unified government, the movie features confrontation between an anti-reunification terrorist group called "Sect" and a special police unit formed to stop them.

Gang Dong-won plays Im Joong-kyung, an officer assigned to quell the terrorists and Han Hyo-joo plays Lee Yoon-hee, elder sister of "the girl in red cape" who detonates a suicide bomb right in front of Im's eyes. Jung Woo-sung appears as Jang Jin-tae, chief of the training camp for the police unit.

A still from "The Spy Gone North" (Yonhap)

The Spy Gone North

CJ Entertainment will open spy thriller "The Spy Gone North" on Aug. 9.

Directed by Yoon Jong-bin of "Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time" (2012), "The Spy Gone North" premiered to a standing ovation in the Midnight Screenings section of the 71st Cannes Film Festival held earlier this month.

Starring Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min, Cho Jin-woong and Ju Ji-hoon, the film tells the story of a South Korean spy who goes undercover as a businessman in North Korea in the 1990s to infiltrate its nuclear facilities using the codename "Black Venus." He is plagued by an inner conflict after observing the two Koreas' leaders making a secret deal to prevent liberal candidate Kim Dae-jung from winning the 1997 South Korean presidential election.

A still from "Drug King" (Yonhap)
A still from "Changgwol" (Tentative title) (Yonhap)

Drug King and Changgwol (Tentative title)

"Drug King," starring Song Kang-ho of "A Taxi Driver," and "Changgwol," starring Hyunbin of "Confidential Assignment" (2016), are also expected to get theatrical releases this summer.

"Drug King" is the latest from Woo Min-ho, who directed "Inside Men" (2015), a crime thriller seen by more than 7 million viewers nationwide.

Led by Song Kang-ho and Bae Doona, the new film is based on the true story of Lee Doo-sam, a drug dealer in Busan who was infamous in the 1970s.

"Changgwol," also known as "Rampant" is a zombie flick set in the Joseon era by director Kim Sung-hoon, who also helmed "Confidential Assignment."

The two films' distributors Showbox and the Next Entertainment World say the timing for the release of the new films are still under discussion.

sshim@yna.co.kr
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