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August 14, 2012

'The Thieves' Takes Box Office by Storm with Nearly 10 Million Viewers
ChosunIlbo

Choi Dong-hoon's "The Thieves" is set to become sixth Korean film to attract 10 million spectators. 

"A total of 9.24 million moviegoers have seen the movie as of Sunday," said its distributor Showbox Mediaplex on Monday. The flick was released on July 25. "We expect the figure to surpass 10 million by Thursday."

If so, it will become the first Korean film to achieve the feat in three years after "Haeundae" by Yoon Je-kyoon in 2009. The first domestic film to attract such a large audience was "Silmido" by Kang Woo-suk in 2003.

Choi is credited with the immense success of "The Thieves." His three previous films were all commercial hits -- "The Big Swindle" attracted 2.12 million viewers, "The War of Flower" had 5.68 million, and "Woochi: The Taoist Wizard" sold 6.13 million tickets at the box office. 

The Chosun Ilbo asked Choi on Monday whether he thought "The Thieves" would prove to be this popular. "No film director thinks about how many spectators their film will draw when making a movie," he said. "Because it was a crime film, I thought the reviews would be split, so I can't still believe that the film has been such a huge success. I even doubted if the figures by the Korean Film Council were correct, so I checked them again and again."

With the exception of "Woochi: The Taoist Wizard," all the other films he has directed revolve around criminals. "This is the kind of material I like to see as a cinemagoer. People have a boundless curiosity about crimes, accidents and so forth. Nobody wants such things to happen to them personally, but they still want to see them in a dramatic setting," said Choi.

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Actor Lee Jung-jae (left) hugs a fan at an event to welcome the 10 millionth viewer of the film "The Thieves" at the Time Square plaza in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul on Monday. Also attending the event were director Choi Dong-hoon (second left), and actresses Kim Hye-soo (second right) and Kim Hae-sook.

This is the first film Choi has worked on with his wife and producer Ahn Soo-hyun. "Initially, we didn't like the idea of collaborating because we were worried that it would cause arguments. But there are actually a lot of positives to working together. Whenever I doubted myself as a director, she gave me very valuable advice. We stuck to our principle of respecting each other's work, and she is very good in keeping work and private matters separate. That made everything a lot easier. We are husband and wife, but also friends, so it was fun working together," said Choi. 

Ahn, who joined in the middle of the interview, said, "As we used to work on different films, there were times when we couldn't see each other for three months at a stretch. This time, it was good because we worked in the same place and got to see each other all the time."

When asked about his future plans, Choi was tight-lipped, saying merely that he is "a young director who still has a long way to go."

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August 16, 2012

Korean Movies Find New Recipe for Success
ChosunIlbo

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A series of successful domestic films at the box office hints at the changing face of Korean cinema. "The Thieves," which was released on July 25 amid great expectations with its heist movie plot and star-studded cast, has attracted almost 10 million viewers in only three weeks. "The Grand Heist" also drew one million moviegoers earlier this week despite its lack of rave reviews. 

The trend has been developing since the start of the year. Domestic films drew 44.17 million spectators in the first half of 2012, up 34.6 percent from the same period last year. This even beats the previous record high of 41.48 million viewers in the first half of 2006. 

In total, 18 Korean movies have now drawn more than one million viewers each so far this year, compared to 16 over the same period in 2011 and 13 in 2010. So what is the driving force behind this trend? 

◆ Diversification of Genres 

Local moviegoers used to prefer comedies or action movies, but these days their interest is spread more evenly across the genres. Although romantic comedies and melodramas were in the past regarded as unlikely to score a huge hit at box office here, "All About My Wife" and "Architecture 101" attracted more than four million viewers each this year. Meanwhile, "Unbowed," a courtroom drama based on a true-life incident, proved its commercial success by selling 3.42 million tickets. 

"Ten years ago, moviegoers were divided into two distinct types: people who like Hollywood movies, and those who like Korean movies. But as many people have become familiar with a variety of genres of American movies and dramas, local audiences tend to prefer domestic films that contain elements of Hollywood genres tailored to Korean tastes," said film critic Jeon Chan-il. 

◆ Star-Studded Casts

"The Thieves" has 10 lead actors, while "The Grand Heist" has 11. Even melodramas and romantic comedies, which used to rely on one leading actor and actress, now often have three or four actors in starring roles. At the same time, it is increasingly common to see major stars play supporting roles. 

"In the past, many viewers were attracted to movies based on their plot, but now they like character-oriented movies with a good story. Movies that have many leading characters or supporting characters with distinct personalities are also getting popular," said Kim Ho-sung, CEO of production company REALise. 

◆ Mature Audiences

As producers have raised the target age group from teenagers and people in their 20s to those in their 30s and over, movies are naturally attracting a more diverse audience. 

According to ticket sales data for "The Thieves" compiled by Korea's largest movie site Maxmovie, 26 percent of those who watched the movie were in their 20s, 40 percent were in their 30s and 31 percent in their 40s. In the case of "Architecture 101," 24 percent were in their 20s, 45 percent in their 30s and 28 percent in their 40s. The bulk of viewers who went to see "All About My Wife," or 45 percent, were also in their 30s.

The combined number of spectators in their 30s and 40s now far outstrips those in their 20s, and this demographic can be seen as playing a leading role in Korean movies' raging success at home.

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August 16, 2012

'The Thieves' breaks 10 million audience number
YonhapNews

SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean box-office hit has broken the 10 million mark in total audience, becoming the sixth homegrown film to do so in the local movie history, official statistics showed Thursday.

   "The Thieves," featuring 10 Korean and Chinese thieves teaming up to steal a valuable diamond necklace at a Macao casino, drew 10,095,387 viewers in the first 22 days through Wednesday, data from the Korean Film Council showed.

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The film opened on July 25 and is now being shown on 552 cinema screens across the country.

   Directed by Choe Dong-hoon, who is known for "Tazza: the High Rollers" and "The Big Swindle," it stars top actors and actresses Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Hye-soo, Kim Yun-seok and Lee Jung-jae.

   It became the first Korean film to break the 10 million mark since "Haeundae," a 2009 disaster drama directed by Yoon Jae-gyun.

   The four other films to reach the mark are "Silmido," "Taegukgi," "The King and the Clown" and "The Host."

   "The Host," a 2006 action-packed thriller by director Bong Jun-ho, drew the most viewers at 13 million.

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August 16, 2012

'The Thieves' breaks 10 million mark
By Jennifer Ryu, Intern reporter The Korea Herald

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“The Thieves” became the sixth Korean movie to reach 10 million viewers, achieving the feat in just 22 days. 

According to the Korean Film Council, “The Thieves” brought in 10,095,387 viewers in total as of Wednesday. Released on July 25, the movie is now showing on 552 screens. 

Director Kang woo-suk’s “Silmido” (2003) was the first Korean film to draw 10 million viewers, followed by “TaeGukGi: Brotherhood Of War,” “The King and the Clown,” “The Host,” and “Haeundae.” 

“The Host” (2006), directed by Bong Joon-ho, so far holds the record for most viewers among South Korean films with over 13 million. The film reached the 10 million mark in only 21 days. “The Thieves” is the first movie to break the 10 million barrier since “Haeundae” (2009). 

The star-studded movie “The Thieves” tells the story of a group of 10 professional thieves who travel to Macau to steal a diamond necklace.

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August 17, 2012

THE THIEVES steal 10 million hearts
KOBIZ
  
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The 6th Korean film to surpass the 10 million mark.

The Thieves has surpassed the 10 million mark at the box office. The record has been set in just 22 days since its release. The film drew 338,199 on 15th August, Independence Day Holiday in Korea, becoming the 6th Korean film to bring in more than 10 million in total. The Thieves recorded the best opening score on the day of its release and within the first 4 weeks, it drew 10,096,957. 

This means that the film is the 6th film to go over the 10 million mark following Silmido of 2003 (11,081,000), Taegukgi from 2004 (11,756,735), King and the Clown of 2005 (12,302,831), The Host (13,019,740) and Haeundae from 2009 (11,390,000).
   
The speed of The Thieves reaching the ten million mark is similar to that of The Host which reached the milestone in 21 days. It's 12 days earlier than Haeundae and 17 days faster than Avatar. The film is attracting on average 200 thousand per day, beating out stiff competition from local and Hollywood blockbusters of various genres.
  
Director CHOI Dong-hoon said “the star of the 10 million milestone is the audience. Thank you to all those who came to see the film on behalf of the actors and the production team.” 

KIM Yun-seok said “It’s great to reach this milestone. Thank you. Let’s aim for 20 million with the overseas release.” 

KIM Hye-soo said, “"I didn’t expect this, so I'm very grateful to the director for giving me a wonderful role. Thank you to the team and the other actors for supporting me but most of all my biggest thanks go to all those who came to watch the film.” 

JUN Ji-hyun said “I’m so moved that another Korean film has broken the 10 million mark. I can really feel the power of Korean cinema and how much Korean audiences love Korean films.” 

The Thieves has reaffirmed the quality of Korean cinema with its strong characters and a well-structured storyline, gaining the reputation of being a top-class entertainment film.

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August 21, 2012

[Newsmaker] 
Director Choi Dong-hun steals show with 'The Thieves'

By Claire Lee The Korea Herald

Director Choi Dong-hun’s star-studded film “The Thieves” has been a sensation since its opening in local theaters last month. Now, Choi’s biggest commercial hit ― the sixth domestic film to top 10 million viewers in Korean movie history at 10,095,387 viewers in 22 days ― is going overseas, slated to open in theaters in Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia next month. It will also be released in Singapore and Malaysia later this year.

The film, featuring top stars including Kim Hye-soo, Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun and Hong Kong-based actor Simon Yam, topped the local box office chart on its opening day, beating Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises.”

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Director Choi Dong-hun (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

“The Thieves” is Choi’s fourth feature-length film, and features a group of 10 professional thieves who get together to steal a diamond worth $20 million in Macau. The film has been recognized for its character development and engaging plot, as well as stunts and wire action. 

All three of Choi’s previous works ― “The Big Swindle” (2004) “Tazza: The High Rollers” (2006) “Jeon Woo Chi” (2009) ― also did well in the box office, giving him the reputation of one of the most commercially successful writer-directors today. The Korean Academy of Film Arts graduate and former assistant director to “The Taste of Money” and “The Housemaid” auteur Im Sang-soo has been crafting his own brand of crime and heist thrillers over the years. 

Actress Kim Hye-soo, who starred in “The Thieves” as well as Choi’s 2006 flick “Tazza: The High Rollers,” described him as “a genius who also works extremely hard.” 

“When I first read the script of the movie, I was just in awe,” she told The Korea Herald last month. “It was a product of great effort, genius ideas and a detail-oriented, calculative mind. I think he knows who he is, the exact kind of films that he wants to make, and how to make them. ‘The Thieves’ proves it.”


“The Thieves” has also been invited to the 37th Toronto International Festival’s “Contemporary World Cinema.” The non-competitive film festival kicks off on Sept. 6 in Toronto, Canada.

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August 21, 2012

The Thieves Goes International
KBS Global

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Next target for the seemingly unstoppable movie The Thieves? Asia and Toronto!

After holding down the #1 spot at the domestic box offices for the fifth week and having attracted over 11 million movie-goers in Korea, The Thieves will also be premiering in movie theaters across Asia. 

The date is set for September 6th in Hong Kong and Indonesia, September 13th in Singapore, followed by unconfirmed dates in October and November for Malaysia and Thailand. The news of the premiere dates comes after the movie was agreed to be exported to eight Asian countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Jeon Ji-hyun (or Gianna), who played the role of "Yenny-Call" in the movie, will be making appearances at gala premiere events in Hong Kong and China.

Also was invited to the 37th annual Toronto Film Festival, starting on September 6th, to be included in the "Contemporary World Cinema" category. It will play at the Ryerson University indoor theaters on September 13th.

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August 23, 2012

'The Thieves' outperforms 'Haeundae' to become fourth best-selling movie at home
YonhapNews

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SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- The Korean heist film "The Thieves" became the fourth best-selling Korean film of all time, beating "Haeundae," a disaster drama that opened three years ago, according to the latest official box office tally.

   "The Thieves," featuring 10 Korean and Chinese thieves teaming up to steal a valuable diamond necklace at a Macao casino, had attracted about 11.5 million viewers as of Wednesday, the data from the Korean Film Council showed.

   The movie passed the 11.4 million audience record for "Haeundae," pushing it down to the fifth spot on the list of the top 10 homegrown films that have hit the local box office.

   Industry watchers say, if the current pace of ticket sales continues, "The Thieves" will soon likely overtake the third most-watched Korean film, "Taegukgi" (2003), which attracted more than 11.7 million viewers.

   "The Host," a 2006 action-packed thriller by director Bong Jun-ho, drew the most viewers at 13 million. The No. 2 film is "The King and the Clown" with 12 million.

   Directed by Choe Dong-hoon, who is known for "Tazza: the High Rollers" and "The Big Swindle," and starring top actors and actresses Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Hye-soo, Kim Yun-seok and Lee Jung-jae, "The Thieves" opened on July 25 and is now being shown on 552 cinema screens across the country.

   Meanwhile, the movie will be released throughout Asia in the coming months, according to its distributor.

   The film will be shown in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore next month and open up in theaters in Malaysia, Thailand and other Asian countries in October and November, Mediaplex Co. said on Tuesday.

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August 27, 2012

'The Thieves' Set for New Box Office Record
ChosunIlbo

The crime flick "The Thieves" has leapfrogged "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War" to claim third place in the all-time box office hit parade for Korean films. According to the Korean Film Council on Sunday, it drew 215,072 viewers on Saturday alone, bringing the total to 11.91 million spectators.

"The Thieves" will also likely overtake "The King and the Clown," which lured 12.3 million moviegoers as it remains the top spots at local box office charts one month after its release.

Now attention is being paid to whether it will eclipse "The Host," which has held the box office record for the last six years.

"The Thieves" has drawn attention for its star-studded cast, which includes Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Jeon Ji-hyun, and Kim Soo-hyun, and has invited comparisons with Steven Soderbergh's hit movie "Ocean's Eleven."

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August 27, 2012

Korean movies dominate box office
By Claire Lee The Korea Herald

Market share of homegrown movies rises to nearly 80 percent over the weekend

Korea’s homegrown films are doing better than ever at the box office, with its market share rising to nearly 80 percent in the past weekend.

The top four movies at the box office from Aug. 26 to 27 were local films, according to the Korean Film Council. 

The films are director Kim Hwi’s thriller “Neighbors”; Kim Joo-ho’s period comedy “The Grand Heist”; Choi Dong-Hun’s star-studded blockbuster “The Thieves”; and Kim Dong-won’s action drama “R2B: Return to Base.”

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“Neighbors ” (Lotte Entertainment)

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“The Thieves”(1st Look)

Korean films’ sweeping performance started off with “The Thieves,” which became the third best-selling Korean film of all time, beating 2002 drama “Taegukgi” as of Aug. 15. It drew more than 12,095,094 viewers as of Saturday, according the Korean Film Council data. It ranked third at the box office in the past weekend.

Kim Joo-ho’s period drama “The Grand Heist,” on the other hand, drew 4 million viewers in just 19 days after its release, becoming the seventh homegrown movie to achieve the feat so far this year. 

Kim Hwi’s thriller “Neighbors,” which opened last week, drew 1 million viewers in the first five days after the release, topping the box office chart during the weekend.

The homegrown films’ market share rose to 77.2 percent during the past weekend, from 57.7 percent recorded last month. 

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“The Grand Heist” (1st Look)

The market share of the local films hit 60.4 percent in 2006, with the box-office triumph of Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host.” The film, which drew 13,020,000 viewers, remains the bestselling locally made film of all time in Korea’s film history. 

Local movies’ market share dropped to 42.1 percent in 2008, rose to 48.8 percent in 2009, and but dropped to 46.5 percent again in 2010.

Many small- to mid-scale local films drew a significant number of viewers ― each about 4 million ― in the first half of this year, including “Architecture 101,” “Dancing Queen,” “All About My Wife,” “Unbowed” and “Deranged.” 

These movies, diverse in genre and style, contributed to the increase in the market share of the homegrown movies in the first half of the year, according to the Korean Film Council.

More highly anticipated Korean films are to be released soon. CJ Entertainment, one of the biggest film producers in Korea, is scheduled to release its highly anticipated period drama “Masquerade,” which stars mega hallyu star Lee Byung-hun, next month. Kim Ki-duk’s “Pieta,” competing at the Venice Film Festival, as well as Sin Jeong-won’s drama “Ghost Sweepers” starring Kim Su-ro and Lee Je-hoon, are also to be released next month.

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August 30, 2012

Korean UNICEF chooses Kim Hye-soo
By Carla Sunwoo Korea JoongAng Daily

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Actress Kim Hye-soo has been picked as a goodwill ambassador by the Korean division of Unicef.

The worldwide children’s aid organization yesterday emphasized Kim’s continuous good work and interest in looking out for children living in poverty. She will appear in advertisements and at events.

Kim has taken part in various initiatives and volunteer programs hosted by Unicef Korea and has accompanied the organization abroad. 

Unicef is active in recruiting celebrities from entertainment, sports, fashion and the arts to help promote the organization’s work. The Korean committee has selected actors Ahn Sung-ki, Lee Byung-hun and Won Bin among others as goodwill ambassadors. 

Meanwhile, figure skater Kim Yu-na and conductor Chung Myung-whun are global goodwill ambassadors, representing the organization to the whole world.

Kim’s current movie “The Thieves” continues to break box-office records.

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August 31, 2012

'The Thieves' now 2nd top-selling Korean film
YonhapNews

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- "The Thieves" has outperformed "The King and the Clown" to become the second most popular Korean film ever shown at home, according to an industry tally.

   "The Thieves" has attracted 12.31 million viewers as of 5 p.m. Thursday, breaking a record set by the all-time No. 2 Korean film "The King and the Clown" (12 million) in 2005, Mediaplex Co., the distributor of the latest film said on Friday.

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Directed by Choe Dong-hoon, who is known for "Tazza: the High Rollers" and "The Big Swindle," the new heist film features 10 Korean and Chinese thieves teaming up to steal a valuable diamond necklace at a Macau casino.

   "The Thieves" broke the 10 million mark in audience numbers on its 22nd day since opening on July 25. It also broke audience records of box-office hits "Silmido," (11.08 million) "Haeundae" (11.45 million) and "Taegukgi" (11.74 million) this month.

   The popularity of "The Thieves" has continued in the film's sixth week since opening, drawing more than 50,000 moviegoers a day, Mediaplex said.

   The company expects, if this popularity continues, the new movie may beat the No. 1 Korean film "The Host" (13.01 million) and Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar," which sits on top of local box-office sales with 13.35 million viewers.

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August 31, 2012

Kim Hye-soo Named Promotional Ambassador for UNICEF
ChosunIlbo

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Actress Kim Hye-soo was named a promotional ambassador for UNICEF Korea on Thursday. Kim plans to attend promotional events and campaigns organized by the charity.

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August 31, 2012

The Thieves, #2 Most Successful Movie In Korean Film History
KBS Global

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Many saw it coming, but the movie The Thieves has just broken another record.

According to the movie's distributors, as of 5 PM on August 30th, The Thieves had attracted about 12,310,000 people. This brings its total higher than the 12,302,831 that the movie The King And The Clown brought in several years ago. Now the only movie between it and the #1 spot is The Host, which was the highest grossing Korean film to date, with 13,019,740 viewers.

The Thieves was able to reach the 12.31 million mark in just 37 days after its release, which was a day faster than the movie The Host.

The ultimate #2 highest grossing movie in Korea is about a group of 10 thieves from Korea and China, that are all after a very valuable diamond called "The Tear Of The Sun", held in a casino in Macau. The movie features an A-list cast of Kim Yoon-suk, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Hye-sook, Oh Dal-soo, and Kim Soo-hyun.

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