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Film Council Names Most Popular Movies of 2009

Posted December. 08, 2009 09:01,   


Korea’s most popular film of 2009 is the disaster blockbuster “Haeundae,” the Korean Film Council said yesterday.

Released July 22, the film opened at 753 screens nationwide and drew 11.3 million spectators. Many more, however, are expected to watch the movie via online video download or DVD or videotape rental.

The DVD of the movie will see a February release.

According to a council report on the film industry’s performance in the first 11 months of the year, the popularity of a movie differs by distribution channel. That means each movie has different numbers of spectators at the theater, online video download, and DVD and videotape rental.

The popularity of movies between July and November through three distribution channels is follows:

○ Most popular movies online: “A Frozen Flower” and “Miindo”

GOM TV, the largest video clip portal service in Korea, said “A Frozen Flower” was first in the number of paid downloads, followed by “Take Off (complete version)”; “Eros”; “Lifting King Kong”; “Secret Couple”; “Chaw”; “Insadong Scandal”; “Chaw (HD version)”; and “Take Off (director’s cut).”

The rankings are based on the number of legal downloads on GOM TV priced at 3,500 won (3.03 U.S. dollars) each.

Interestingly, “A Frozen Flower,” which was released Dec. 30 last year, was the runaway winner in the category with 3.2 million spectators. GOM TV said the number of online downloads of the film far exceeded the combined figure for the two versions of “Take Off.”

“A Frozen Flower” has homoerotic scenes between a Goryeo Dynasty king and his security guard, and the nude scenes of actor Jo In-sung made it popular. Movies with controversial themes such as this can do better on the home video market because of privacy.

GOM TV team manager Kim Jeong-jin said, “The number of online downloads is usually relative to that of spectators at theaters. But sometimes, certain movies intended for adults only, including ‘A Frozen Flower’ and ‘Eros,’ prove unexpectedly popular online.”

The online movie service provider cine21i chose “Miindo,” “A Frozen Flower” and “The Chaser” as most popular movies of the year.

○ Tops in DVD rentals: “Speedy Scandal”

“Speedy Scandal” is the top Korean DVD movie of the year. According to Euddeum and Beogeum, a gathering of owners of 150 DVD and video rental shops, the film topped the DVD rental chart from July to November, followed by “Secret Couple,” “Knowing,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Scam,” “Private Eye,” “Running Turtle,” “Valkyrie” and “Insadong Scandal.”

“Speedy Scandal” is about a radio DJ and entertainer in his 30s who suddenly finds out that he might be a grandfather.

“Speedy Scandal” and “Secret Couple” were also the most frequently rented movies on videotape. They were followed by “The Scam,” “Red Cliff 2,” “Chaw,” “Running Turtle,” “Public Enemy,” “Red Cliff 1,” “Yip Man” and “Knowing.”

Along with comedies suitable for children, action, disaster and history movies were the most popular this year.

Films that bombed at the box office also had a strong showing on the videotape rental market. Prime examples are Michael Mann’s gangster movie “Public Enemies” and “Yip Man,’ about the life of Bruce Lee’s wing chun instructor.

Euddeum and Beogeum Chairman Mun Ju-il said, “Among less promoted films, high quality foreign and action films that can be watched more comfortably at home have been recently preferred.”