Korean movie, ‘The Flu’ has now become the first Korean film to be directly distributed in the UK. The movie, which was released on November 22nd is the largest Korean movie release since 2009 with ‘Thirst’.
‘The Flu’ was released in 10 cinemas – nine in England and one in Ireland – through a deal between CJ E&M and Cineworld. It looks like CJ E&M have bigger plans, as their marketing team have revealed that the release of ‘The Flu’ in the UK, is only the beginning. They plan to further raise awareness of Korean films in the UK and Ireland, hopefully leading to more films to be distributed here. Although ‘The Flu’ was a box office hit back in Korea, the movie didn’t quite impress UK media. However, movies such as Old Boy and The Tale of Two Sisters are well loved, with many media outlets stating the new Old Boy doesn’t compare to the original.
CJ E&M have been distributing Korean movies outside of Korea since 2005, starting with China, and further moving into the US and Japanese markets from 2010. Now they can finally add the UK to that list as of this year.
With the continued success of the London Korean Film Festival, this can only mean good things for Korean cinema in the UK. This year the festival brought in over 5,000 Korean film fanatics all eager to watch one of the 42 films shown. With sold out screenings and around 80% of attendees coming from London itself, the festival speaks volumes about the potential for Korean movies here in the UK.
Oh Dong-Jin, Film critic and former Director of the Jecheon International Music & Film Festival, recently wrote a report on the LKFF. Noting its successes, and dubbing London the ‘base camp for Korean films in the European market’. You can check out his full report here.
With the upcoming launch of East Asia TV too, it looks like Korean media is on the rise in the British Isles.
Do you think that Korean movies could become successful in the British market? If so, which movies would you love to see distributed here?