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Korean titles to vie with Disney blockbusters in summer peak season

Movies 13:43 June 26, 2019

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) -- The sweeping arrival of Disney blockbusters this summer is expected to make the lucrative summer cinema scene unusually chancy for a group of Korean films on their way to hit the big screen.

Summer has traditionally been the busiest season of the year for the Korean film industry, when the most number of tentpoles get released.

This summer, however, is expected to be unconventionally trying for Korean titles in the face of several Disney films that are almost certain to crowd the summer cinema scene here.

This early summer, the box office is already being dominated by "Aladdin," a musical fantasy film by Walt Disney Pictures, which topped 7 million admissions Tuesday in one month since its release. As of Tuesday, the movie starring Will Smith was the box-office No. 1.

No. 2 went to "Toy Story 4," another Disney animation film, which was released a week earlier.

This image of "The Lion King" is provided by the Walt Disney Company Korea. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Disney's box-office domination is likely to pick up further traction with the release on July 17 of "The Lion King," a musical drama film and a photorealistic computer-animated remake of the 1994 Disney animation film of the same title.

The local release of Marvel film "Spider-Man: Far From Home" on July 2 will also add fuel to the Hollywood reign of the summer movie market, with its surefire success setting the tone for the cinema scene.

Film critic Kang You-jin was positive about the upcoming Hollywood films' brisk performance.

"Amid a lack of family movies like romances, romantic comedies and family growth dramas, Disney films have been a window of entertainment for moviegoers," the critic noted.

This promotional poster for the film "Exit" is provided by CJ ENM. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

At the home front, four major films will hit the silver screen in the summer season to vie with big-name Hollywood titles, including, most notably, "The King's Letters."

The movie, set for release on July 24, stars Song Gang-ho, the leading actor in the Cannes-winning Korean film "Parasite."

The film features Song as Joseon King Sejong with a humanistic touch in its depiction of the intelligent king's journey to invent the Korean alphabet, Hangeul.

Two more titles -- "Exit" and "The Divine Fury" -- will hit the local screen on the same day on July 31.

Starring Jo Jung-suk and Im Yoon-ah, the comical action film, "Exit," follows the two college mates' escape from a toxic fume-filled city, while "The Divine Fury" features Park Seo-joon as a professional fighter sparring with an evil creature through the genre of mystery action.

Another periodic film featuring a major Korean independence battle against the Japanese colonial rule, whose Korean title is translated as "Battle of Fengwudong," will also hit the big screen in early August, starring rising actor Ryu Jun-yeol.

The fate of the four Korean titles partly lies with the performance of the big-name Hollywood titles, according to cinema insiders.

"How well 'The Lion King' performs on its first week of release may impact the success of Korean films that will hit the big screen thereafter," Cho Seong-jin, an official at the country's biggest cinema chain CGV, said.

This teaser image of the film "The Divine Fury," starring Park Seo-joon, is provided by Lotte Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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