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Will upcoming homegrown blockbusters bring audience back to cinemas?

Entertainment 11:26 April 01, 2021

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- Local movie theaters, which have been in the doldrums amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, are expected to get a fresh boost from several upcoming releases of homegrown blockbusters.

The black-and-white historical drama "The Book of Fish" has spearheaded the potential spring run that would attract audience members who have been reluctant for nearly a year to come to theaters under strict social distancing.

It garnered nearly 35,000 moviegoers on its opening day Wednesday, far outnumbering the weekend leader "Godzilla vs. Kong" with 27,000, according to the latest box office data from the Korean Film Council.

This image provided by Megabox Plus M shows a scene from "The Book of Fish." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"The Book of Fish" is one of the most anticipated films this spring for the return of director Lee Joon-ik, known as a master of period films in South Korea.

Thanks to the film's strong first-day performance, the daily box office record marked a combined 110,000 on Wednesday, the highest since Feb. 24, when it hit 112,000.

The science-fiction action blockbuster "Seobok" will lend support to the upside trend starting April 15.

Starring heartthrobs Gong Yoo and Park Bo-gum, the flick will be released simultaneously in theaters and via streaming after several postponements due to the protracted fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Seobok" is the first Korean-made film on a human clone, revolving around a former agent (Gong) who is assigned to take care of the first cloned human, Seobok (Park), who possesses the secret to eternal life.

This image provided by CJ Entertainment shows a scene from "Seobok." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

On top of that, three more movies -- "In Our Prime," "Special Gargo" and "Mogadishu" -- will likely hit local screens in the ensuing months, as their distributors have applied to the local authorities for film rating.

The drama film "In Our Prime" stars veteran actor Choi Min-shik, who plays a genius mathematician from North Korea who disguises himself as a security guard of a high school.

"Parasite" star Park So-dam will return with the crime action thriller "Special Cargo," telling the story of a delivery girl who gets embroiled in an accident while delivering a child.

Directed by hitmaker Ryoo Seung-wan, "Mogadishu," an action film based on the true story of diplomats in South and North Korean missions in Somalia during the 1990 civil war, is also seeking the best timing for a theatrical run this spring.

The South Korean film industry, which experienced a 70 percent on-year drop in the number of filmgoers last year, has been struggling with lukewarm box office results in 2021 due to a drought of new bigname releases.

The number of film attendees fell 90 percent on-year to 1.8 million in January and 60 percent to 3.1 million in February.

This photo provided by Lotte Cultureworks shows a scene from "Mogadishu." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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