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Will “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” Live Up to Expectations?

Will “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” Live Up to Expectations?

Posted August. 02, 2007 03:05,   


Will “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” a sequel to “Fantastic 4” released in 2005, be a hit in Korea? The movies originate from the eponymous comic book created by Marvel, an American comic book publisher, in 1961 to steal the spotlight from “Justice League” by its competitor. Although both “Fantastic 4” and its sequel, starring four amiable heroes, made more than 100 million dollars respectively, the record for the first movie was lackluster in Korea, only attracting 750,000 viewers nationwide.

In the sequel to be released next Monday, the evil enemy, Silver Surfer, reveals himself at the wedding of Mr. Fantastic (played by Ioan Gruffudd) and Invisible Woman (played by Jessica Alba). The four main members get ready to fight him whose lean and muscular body can float in the air and glide across the River Thames. The movie offers more than just spectacular scenes. Viewers can also indulge in sweet moments such as what kind of tableware the couple chose for the wedding. Furthermore, they can sympathize with the heroes who are sometimes baffled or flattered by their celebrity-status. There is no profound message here, but a simple plot that only consumes 93 minutes with a somewhat wild ending.

Regarding the sluggish performance of the first movie, president Shim Jae-man of Twentieth Century-Fox Korea said, “The first movie was perhaps a bit childish, only focusing on introducing the characters. That not many Koreans knew about “Fantastic 4,” widely popular in the U.S., added to the problem. The sequel may win more Korean hearts because the plot is stronger and more appealing.” The number of screens to show the sequel is projected to be around 300 or 400, falling short of those of other blockbusters.

Many are also making their bets on “The Simpsons Movie,” an animated comedy film based on the animated television series “The Simpsons” scheduled to hit the screens on August 23 in Korea. The animation claimed the number one spot in the box office charts after it was released last week in the U.S. and has become a massive hit in 71 countries. Although the television series is immensely popular in its home country with more than 400 episodes, all 18 seasons combined since 1989, Korean viewers were less keen when it was aired in 1995.

A popular culture critic Kim Ki-hong said, “The Simpsons strike the right chord among the Americans with its shrewd view on the society and familiar stories that can happen to anyone. Although the series is assorted with parodies of soap operas and movies and interesting voice acting of well-known stars, it won’t be so funny if Korean viewers can’t understand these interesting touches.” The Los Angeles Times also quoted the words of Twentieth Century-Fox official who said, “The Simpsons is not popular in Japan,” with the same reason found in Korea.

“Ratatouille,” an animation film produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures hit box office number one on the week it was released putting “Die Hard 4.0” behind in the U.S. Although the animation pulled in more than 160 million dollars in America, it only attracted 300,000 viewers until last weekend in Korea after it was released on Jul. 25. Seok Song-ja of the movie’s distributor Sony Pictures Releasing Buena Vista Korea said, “We secured too little number of screens (280) and there were too many blockbusters competing against us in the market.”

Despite the distributor’s concern that the idea of a mouse cooking may not be welcoming in Korea, the movie was received with much fanfare earning high scores among critics and viewers. Many in the industry comment that animations simply do not work in Korea regardless of their plots. Only three animation films attracted more than two million viewers in Korea in the last five years; “Shrek 2,” “Shrek 3,” and Japanese film, “Howl’s Moving Castle.”

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