Choi Ji-woo Remains Huge Box-Office Draw in Japan

Updated Apr.5,2006 19:52 KST

The latest film starring Choi Ji-woo, "Now and Forever", is set to open in Korea on April 13 and in Japan two days later ? essentially a simultaneous release since new films open in Korea on Thursdays and in Japan on Saturdays.

In Japan, where it will be distributed by Toshiba Entertainment, the film opens on 280 screens, while domestic distributor Showbox will show it on 300 Korean screens.

The Japanese publication rights for the screenplay were sold for US$3.5 million before the movie was even completed, and a comic book and novel based on the film have also been generating plenty of advance publicity for the movie there.

As the female lead in the TBS soap opera ‘Rondo’ the actress gained recognition in Japan as well.

The show, whose series came to an end on March 26, saw ratings fall off toward the end, and there were signs of a backlash when a series of articles in the Japanese press painted a less than flattering picture of the actress. Choi was portrayed as a fanatical non-smoker who insisted on declaring the entire set a smoke-free zone, while the star on occasion reportedly kept crew waiting for hours. Choi was also said to be picky about her diet and prone to sulking whenever there was no kimchi around.

TBS felt moved to write to the Sankei Sports newspaper denying the charges. "Since there are many smokers among the crew, a smoking ban was impossible, and there was never a need to wait for Choi Ji-woo because she came to the set completely prepared, even with her makeup done," the broadcaster said. It added Choi never complained about even the most bog-standard food.

When it first aired, "Rondo" got ratings of some 20 percent, but the show’s seriousness put some viewers off, and the decision of rivals to schedule competing programs in the same time slot dragged ratings down to an average of 15.9 percent.

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