“The Host,” “King and the Clown” to Compete Overseas

Sept 4, 2006

"The Host" and "King and the Clown" — the two most popular movies in Korea this year — have emerged as rivals in Korean, Japanese and American box-offices.

Last weekend, "The Host" broke the box-office record of "King and the Clown," and now the two movies are poised to compete at the Academy Awards slated for February next year in the United States in the category of foreign-language films.

The production companies of the two films have already decided to apply for the nomination. The CEO of the production firm of "The Host" says he believes that the jury will take into account the film’s popularity abroad.

The Korean Film Council will receive applications until September 7 and then set up a jury comprising foreign members to choose domestic films for the next Academy Awards by the middle of this month. The final list of candidates will be sent to the awards organizers by October 1.

Attention is already being focused on which of the two movies, both which have created sensations this year, will represent Korea at the next Academy Awards. Both "The Host" and "King and the Clown" have received high praise from Japanese viewers after opening in Japan. "The Host," which opened in Japan September 2, topped the ticket-booking charts of Japanese theaters. "King and the Clown," which is due to open in Japan in November, is now being promoted by one of its lead actors, Lee Jun-ki, who gained popularity in Japan for his role in the movie "Hotel Venus."

But while Japanese viewers are accustomed to monster movies, they typically have less understanding about Korean epic films. Nonetheless, both films have proven effective in universally appealing to people’s emotions.

"The Host" and "King and the Clown" will open in the United States early next year if North American audiences show interest in the two Korean blockbusters after their participation in the Toronto Film Festival, to which they have both been invited.

A person from CJ Entertainment, the distributor of "King and the Clown," said the film was originally slated to open in North America this year but that plan was postponed to early next year.

"The Host" will open in the North American market in February.

The two films’ debut in the United States next year will likely pave the way for their advancement to the main competition of the Academy Awards in the foreign-language film category. So far, no Korea film has been nominated for the category.

Source: KBS Global