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On 6/14/2021 at 8:01 PM, Helena said:

Distributor: Next Entertainment World

Film: ‘Hostage: Missing Celebrity | 인질’
Director: Pil Gam-sung
Cast: Hwang Jung-min




1st trailer



Release Date: August 18

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  • 2 weeks later...

A thriller coming to theaters


BY SHIN MIN-HEE [shin.minhee@joongang.co.kr] / July 15, 2021



Director Pil Gam-sung, left, and actor Hwang Jung-min pose for the cameras during the online press conference for the upcoming thriller film “Hostage: Missing Celebrity.” The movie, a remake of the 2015 Chinese hit “Saving Mr. Wu,” follows a top movie star being kidnapped by strangers. It is scheduled for theatrical release on August 18. [ILGAN SPORTS]



▲ ‘Hostage’ Director Pil Gam-sung, Hwang Jung-min <PhotoSource=NEW>  ©BreakNews











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Seasoned actor Hwang Jung-min set to return to silver screen with 'Hostage'

By Kim Boram | July 15, 2021

SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) -- Top silver screen star Hwang Jung-min portrays himself as a top movie star in South Korea in the forthcoming crime thriller "Hostage: Missing Celebrity."

The actor is kidnapped on his way back home after a press event by an unidentified squad with no witnesses and no evidence, and desperately tries to escape from them.

"The setting that Hwang Jung-min in real life is kidnapped was interesting," the actor said in a press conference streamed online. "I thought it could confuse audience members about whether it is a fiction or a documentary."


This image provided by NEW shows a scene from "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

But as an actor, it was not easy to play a character representing himself in a film and strike a balance between himself and the cinematic character during the project.

"Although the film tells a story of actor Hwang Jung-min, it has a fictional storyline, and I have to live up to it," he said. "So I needed fresh energy for this character, different from myself. It was hard to draw the line."

He said the viewers will be interested in the co-existence of actor Hwang and the fictional character of Hwang in the film.

The 50-year-old has starred in a number of hit movies like the crime drama "New World" (2013), the action comedy "Veteran" (2015), the horror thriller "The Wailing" (2016) and the crime actioner "Deliver Us from Evil" (2020).

In those movies, Hwang has almost taken hard-boiled roles like a gangster boss, detective and hitman that show no mercy in killing traitors and chasing criminals.

This time, on the other hand, he is held hostage and mostly confined in a room with his hands tied behind him or is running from kidnappers.

"I've played strong characters who beat or catch others," he said. "In this movie, I wanted to show the viewers how actor Hwang Jung-min deals with emotional fluctuations in a pressing situation."

This photo provided by NEW shows actor Hwang Jung-min (R) and director Pil Kam-sung posing during a press conference streamed online on July 15, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Hostage" will be the feature directorial debut for Pil Kam-sung.

The director-writer said he had Hwang in mind for the lead role when he wrote the screenplay.

"Facing this extreme situation of a kidnapping, people may experience a wide range of emotions from horror, aggrievement, anxiety and servility," he said. "I thought Hwang is the only actor who can express this spectrum of feelings in a limited time and space."

"Hostage" will hit local screens Aug. 18.

This image provided by NEW shows a poster of "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



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Hwang Jung-min returns to big screen as himself in ‘Hostage: Missing Celebrity’

By Song Seung-hyun | Jul 17, 2021

Actor Hwang Jung-min (right) and director Pil Gam-seong pose after an online press conference of upcoming movie “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” held on Thursday. (New)

Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min returned to the big screen playing himself in the upcoming movie “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” directed by Pil Gam-seong.

Hwang said he did not feel pressured playing the character based off his own life.

“I actually enjoyed it. I thought that the audiences would take the situation in the film as being more real,” Hwang said during an online press conference held on Thursday.

The actor added that it was interesting to read about his own kidnapping in the script.

“I thought that audiences would be confused, wondering to what extent the film is a documentary or a fictional story. This made me become curious and want to do the film,” Hwang said.

In “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” famous actor Hwang Jung-min (played by Hwang) is kidnapped in Seoul without any witnesses or evidence left behind. At first, the actor Hwang thinks it is a prank but soon realizes its seriousness. He tries to escape from the kidnappers who demand a huge ransom within 24 hours. 

“It was difficult to play the Hwang Jung-min character that somewhat reflects the real me,” Hwang said. “I was not sure how much of myself I should put into the character. I had lots of discussions with the director.”

Another difficulty Hwang faced was not being able to move freely.

“I was tied up after being kidnapped in the movie, so there was not much movement that I could make. Still, I had to deliver detailed emotions,” Hwang said. “Also to monitor my performance, the staff had to untie me and then tie me back again. We also considered tying me loosely because of this, but I thought that it would show on the screen. Also, I could not concentrate that way, so I asked them to tie me up tightly.”

During the conference, the director listed two reasons why he selected Hwang as the main character.

“Hwang in the film is in an extreme situation. He is kidnapped and goes through diverse emotions such as fear, anxiety and feels that the situation is unfair. I thought that Hwang Jung-min is the one that can pull this off in limited space and time,” Pil said. 

The other reason was because of Hwang’s widely known lines from his previous movies, which are also referenced in the upcoming film.

“He performed lines that moviegoers are familiar with. I thought that this can make audiences feel that the situation in the movie is real,” the director said. 

The selection of the remaining cast was also a conscientious effort to make the film more realistic, Pil said.

“Since Hwang Jung-min appears in the film with his own name, I tried to make it as realistic as possible. So besides Hwang Jung-min all the other actors in the film are not widely known to the public,” Pil said. “We held an audition for over three months and meet 1,000 actors.”

“Hostage: Missing Celebrity” will hit local theaters on Aug. 18.



By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)

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[PICK] Korean Movie with Iconic Action Scenes

by Eunkyung Cho | Edited by Hong Hyun Jung | Translated Cho EK



Credit: CJ Entertainment, Next Entertainment World

Action is one of the highlights that add to the fun of a movie. For instance, fight scenes, dynamic gun-shootings, thrilling car chasings, and combats at an overwhelming scale please the audience’s eyes. Even though action sequences in Korean movies can’t be compared to those of Hollywood, they create impressive stunts with various attempts and unique charms of characters. Old Boy, The City of Violence, and The Man from Nowhere are considered the top works of all time with their impressive action sequences. Now, what other films will follow suit? I’ve looked into some of the latest movies that came out in earnest.



Deliver Us from Evil (2020)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

New World‘s Hwang Jung Min and Lee Jung Jae reunited. This time, they play a desperate assassin who has lost his enthusiasm for life and a ruthless pursuer obsessed with revenge. But Deliver Us from Evil captures the pursuit of two men in a stylish action with quick blows. In particular, it utilizes a stop-motion technique to vividly embody the bloody confrontation between the two characters, maximizing the pleasure of the genre. Among many sequences, the first encounter between In Nam and Ray, which finally happens in the midway of the film, is intense. The sequence of two men clashing from a narrow hallway to a room and over an iron bar is full of excitement that makes the whole body shake. The scene is also full of tension as if they are two beasts confronting each other head-on.


Asura: The City of Madness (2016)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

This film relentlessly depicts the spheres of Hell reeking with blood. There is no confrontation between good and evil, but there are the lesser evil and the worst. Asura follows a detective who becomes a servant of an evil figure to survive. It depicts a bloody war among humans aiming for greater power and greed. The sequence that unfolds in a heartless world where the wicked are entangled by their own scheming is full of suffocating pain rather than satisfying catharsis. The movie’s highlight is the bloody battle at the funeral. Plus, Asura‘s excessive violence is uniquely displayed in the car chasing scene. Han Do Kyung’s wild run in the heavy rain efficiently shows his accumulated emotions turning into madness.



The Villainess (2017)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

The Villainess captivates the audience with its wild and dynamic action stunts. The film depicts the story of an elite killer, Sook Hee. After getting a chance to live her new life, she faces a secret behind her identity and starts to confront her fate. Action Boys and Confession of Murder director Jeong Byung Gil was on board for the film and overwhelmed the audience with its breathtaking intensity. He created a bloody action sequence of a gang rushing with weapons in cramped hallways and stairs shot from the first-person point of view. The scene itself was like a declaration of the director stating that he has put his heart and soul into the sequence. 

The Villainess is one of the rare movies with a single female lead and provides a novel experience with various eye-opening action stunts. Notably, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum made their motorcycle chase scene with the Japanese Yakuza as a homage to The Villainess. Featuring Jeong Byung Gil as a pilot episode director and executive producer, the movie will have an Amazon Prime makeover.

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.

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Hwang Jung Min’s Crime Thriller ‘Hostage: Missing Celebrity’ Drops Its First Main Trailer

by Eungee Joh

Credit: Next Entertainment World

The crime movie Hostage: Missing Celebrity dropped its first thrilling main trailer.

The main trailer begins when the well-known movie star gets abducted by strangers on his way back home at a spot with no CCTV camera or witness. At the beginning of the trailer, Hwang bravely confronts the unidentified hostage-takers who ruthlessly kidnapped him. However, he eventually gives in after facing death threats and begs them to spare his life in tears.



It raises questions about how Hwang Jung Min will survive against the unidentified abductors. Moviegoers are expecting a thrill ride when Hostage: Missing Celebrity comes to a theatre in August.


Source: Next Entertainment World

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Local Summer Blockbusters Line Up after Quiet Start to the Year

by Pierce Conran | Aug 03, 2021

Action, Disaster and Horror to Crowd Theaters


Though the pandemic is already well into its second year, the local film industry was hit particularly hard in 2021, as successive waves of COVID infections soared higher and dragged on longer than last year. The result has been that though local cinemas remained open, the main titles to hit screens have by and large been foreign films, as many international territories have moved to open up their markets.

However, despite Korea enacting the toughened Level 4 social distancing restrictions earlier this summer, local distributors have finally resumed releasing their titles as viewers thirst for local content. The first of them was Showbox, which launched the Thai-Korean co-produced horror film The Medium, produced by Na Hongjin and based on his idea, which managed to briefly unseat Black Widow from the top of the charts and has so far welcomed 800,000 viewers.

Now that we’ve reached the high point of summer, when extreme heat and humidity, not to mention school holidays, drive viewers into multiplexes, the rest of the industry is following suit as studios have scheduled some of the biggest tentpoles to be seen in Korean cinemas since summer last year, when Peninsula and DELIVER US FROM EVIL went on release. 



Escape from Mogadishu
Release Date : July 28
Cast : Kim Yunseok, Zo Insung, Huh Joonho, Koo Kyohwan
Sales Contact : Lotte Cultureworks
Tel : +82 2 3470 3400 
Fax : +82 2 3470 3549 
Email : international@lotte.net

Four years after his previous blockbuster The Battleship Island (2017), director Ryoo Seungwan returns with another ambitious film, this one shot on location in Morocco. Partially based on real events, Escape from Mogadishu follows South Korean diplomats stationed in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, who try to help the Korean president score an invitation for Korea to enter the United Nations. Among the things blocking their path are officials at the North Korean embassy.

However, these political tensions have to go on the back burner when Mogadishu erupts into conflict as rebels look to take over. With diplomats all over the city in peril, the rival Korean embassy workers must become unlikely temporary allies. 

Known for his kinetic hits The Unjust (2011) and Veteran (2015), Ryoo teams for the first time with Kim Yunseok (The Priests, 2015), who plays the South Korean ambassador, and Zo Insung (The King, 2017), who appears as a counselor for the embassy. Meanwhile, the North Korean ambassador is played by Huh Joonho (Default, 2018), while Koo Kyohwan (Peninsula, 2020) plays a lawyer for the North Koreans.

The film was a joint production between Ryoo’s own company Filmmaker R & K, which recently made EXIT (2019), and Dexter Studios, the company behind ASHFALL (2019). Escape from Mogadishu will have its international premiere as the opening film of this year’s New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) on August 6.

The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey
Release Date : July 28
Cast : Uhm Jiwon, Jung Jiso
Sales Contact : CJ Entertainment
Tel : +82-2-371-5500 
Fax : +82-2-371-6340 
Email : filmsales@cj.net

After storming theaters with Peninsula last summer, director Yeon Sangho is back in cinemas with a new project he wrote. The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey, a feature film follow-up to the occult-themed tvN drama series The Cursed, which aired on small screens last year, is directed by Kim Yongwan, who previously made the sports comedy-drama Champion with Don Lee (aka Ma Dongseok) in 2018. Kim returns after having helmed the original series, which was also written by Yeon.

Uhm Jiwon returns as Im Jinhee, a gritty reporter investigating a case involving Forest, a shady corporation with occult ties, with the help of the young girl Sojin (Jung Jiso), who possesses a supernatural ability. In the series, the pair went up against Forest. However, viewers unfamiliar with the series need not fear as this feature-film continuation explores a new story involving a case of serial murders committed by corpses that have been raised from the dead by some unknown foe. Uhm was recently seen in The Silenced (2015) and The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (2019), while Jung is known for her role as the rich family’s daughter in Parasite (2019).

Release Date : August 11
Cast : Kim Sungkyun, Cha Seungwon, Lee Kwangsoo
Sales Contact : Showbox
Tel : +82 2 3218 5500 
Fax : +82 2 3444 6688 
Email : sales@showbox.co.kr

The popular disaster genre gets a new entry in August with the release of Sinkhole, the latest film from studio Showbox. From director Kim Jihoon, the disaster film specialist known for the Gwangju Uprising saga May 18 (2007), the creature feature Sector 7 (2011) and inferno drama The Tower (2012), Sinkhole will have its international premiere at a special outdoor gala screening at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival.

Kim Sungkyun leads the film as Dongwon, a hard-working family man who, after slaving away for 11 years, finally succeeds in buying a home for his family. Overjoyed at achieving his dream, Dongwon invites his work colleagues over for a housewarming, but during the party, disaster strikes. Torrential rain weakens the ground beneath their feet, and a gigantic sinkhole appears, swallowing the building whole. Hundreds of meters below ground level, Dongwon, his neighbor Mansu (Cha Seungwon), and the other unfortunate survivors attempt to find their way out. But as rain begins to fill up the sinkhole, they are quickly running out of time.

Hostage: Missing Celebrity
Release Date : August 18
Cast : Hwang Jungmin
Sales Contact : Contents Panda
Tel : +82 2 3490 9300 
Fax : +82 2 6902 0286 
Email : webmaster@its-new.co.kr

Box office magnet Hwang Jungmin, who led DELIVER US FROM EVIL last year and is known for major hits such as Ode to My Father (2014), Veteran (2015), A Violent Prosecutor (2016), and The Battleship Island (2017), lends his star persona to the kidnap thriller Hostage: Missing Celebrity, in which he plays himself. In the film, top star Hwang is kidnapped after a film premiere in Seoul. Initially, the star believes it’s a stunt, but when his captors show how serious they are, he begins to realize just how serious a situation he finds himself in. While the kidnappers demand a massive ransom to be paid out within 24 hours, the star attempts to find a way out of his predicament. As he makes his daring escape, he discovers that real action isn’t like it is in the movies.

Hostage: Missing Celebrity is the debut of director Pil Gamsung and is one of two titles this summer from Filmmaker R & K, the production company run by partners Ryoo Seungwan and Kang Hyejung, following Ryoo’s Escape from Mogadishu.



GUIMOON: The Lightless Door
Cast : Kim Kangwoo, Kim Sohye
Release Date : August 18
Sales Contact : Finecut
Tel : +82 2 569 8777 
Fax : +82 2 569 6662 
Email : cineinfo@finecut.co.kr

A janitor goes on a murderous rampage in a training center in the town of Guisari in 1990, and since then, on each anniversary of the brutal event, death or suicide occurs on the grounds, leading the complex to be shuttered for good. Rumors abound of a ‘guimoon’, a door for ghosts, in the building that should anyone enter through, they will never be able to leave the building. In the present, Dojin (Kim Kangwoo), the director of a psychic research institute and the son of a shaman who died during an exorcism ritual at the center, travels to Guisari for answers, as do a trio of students look to film a video about the haunted building.  

GUIMOON: The Lightless Door is the feature-length debut of director Shim Deokgeun, and the project has the distinction of being the first-ever film to be developed simultaneously for 4DX and Screen X, as well as traditional 2D venues. Kim Kangwoo, known for The Taste of Money (2012), leads the cast while Moonlit Winter (2018) actress Kim Sohye appears as one of the students.


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Who's the next hit, following 'Mogadishu'... from DC villains to veteran actor Hwang Jung-min

연합뉴스 / 2021-08-07 17:06:11


▲ This photo, provided by its distribution company Lotte Entertainment, shows a scene from "Escape from Mogadishu." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- While “Escape from Mogadishu,” directed by Ryu Seung-wan, is on top ranks for 2 consecutive weeks, the news of upcoming films’ releases is lightening up the movie theaters.

Foreign movies led by Hollywood stars such as Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are making their way to Korea’s box office and Korean films starring Cha Seoung-won and Hwang Jung-min will greet the audiences. 

Following “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do it,” horror movies such as “Guimoon: The Lightless Door” and “Malignant” will set out to blow the summer heat away.



◇ Cruel but lovely, action film “The Suicide Squad”… “Free Guy”·”Reminiscence”


▲ This photo, provided by its distribution company, Warner Bros Korea, shows a scene for "The Suicide Squad." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Released on Aug. 4, DC’s new series “The Suicide Squad” is chasing closely behind “Mogadishu” and is attracting its fans’ anticipation.  With the psychotic clown Harley Quinn (Robbie) who was widely loved from the previous series “Suicide Squad” (2016), as the lead character, DC comics' supervillains such as Bloodsport, Peacemaker and King Shark are depicting cruel but lovely actions.  Director James Gunn, who transferred to DC comics from its rival company, Marvel where he had produced the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, has taken the megaphone for the new suicide squad episode adding his unique sense of humor. 

▲ These images, provided by each film's distribution companies, Walt Disney and Warner Bros, show (from the left) "Free Guy" and "Reminiscence." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

“Free Guy,” starring Ryan Reynolds will release on the 11th of August. Based on a fantasy story-line about a sub-character in a game moving on his own accord like a human, watchers will be able to enjoy its entertaining aspects.  Reynolds who took the role of Guy, a banker wearing beige-colored trousers and a blue shirt, will make the watchers laugh with his sense of humor that he showed in “Dead Pool,” and “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” series, in a rather mild way.  The ordinary banker realizes that he is a background character in a game and when notices that the world is in the verge of destruction, he turns into a hero. 

Following two casual action films mentioned above, a serious mystery thriller “Reminiscence” starring Hugh Jackman will be released on the 25th.  The background of the film is a future world where half of a city gets drowned due to the rise of the sea levels. It features a story of a man facing the truth hidden in his past memories while in search of his loved one.  “Inception”and “Mememto” are well-known films based on stories about memories and what made “Reminiscence” more intriguing is that its director is Jonathon Nolan, younger brother of director Christopher Nolan. The mysterious atmosphere and Jackman’s serious expressions seen in the film’s trailer has raised more interest. 

◇ Disaster comedy “SINKHOLE” … Action thriller “Hostage: Missing Celebrity”

Decent Korean films, although not as magnificent as “Mogadishu,” are set to attract audiences. 

▲ These images, provided by each film's distribution company, ShowBox and New, show (from the left) "SINKHOLE" and "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

“SINKHOLE,” aiming to be a hit disaster comedy like “Exit” (2019), will be released on the 11th of August. The film is about a survival after having one’s hard-earned house plunged into a 500-meter-deep sinkhole. The lead actors, Cha Seoung-won, Kim Sung-kyun and Lee Kwang-soo, will entertain the watchers with their comedic gestures and senses of humor while struggling underground.   Sinkhole is a disaster frequently reported on news but is uncommon in films, adding freshness to the movie. The large scale of the hole that sucks a whole villa provides visual satisfaction. The actors’ passionate actions, while covered in dirt and writhing in the hole filled with heavy rains, is another spectacle for the watchers.

“Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” starring Hwang Jung-min as a kidnapped celebrity will meet the audiences on the 18th. The reality-action thriller features Hwang, attempting escape for his life with his hands and feet tightly bound. For the kidnappers, the film cast skillful rookie actors.  The star actor who used to take roles of a pursuer such as a detective in “Veteran,” a spy for “The Spy Gone North,” and a killer for “Deliver Us From Evil,” will lead the tension of the plot with his realistic acting of helplessly getting dragged away by the abductors.



◇ Continuous releases of horror movies… return of director James Wan


▲ These images, provided by each film's distribution company, CJ CGV and Warner Bros, show "Guimoon: The Lightless Door" and "Malignant." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Horror films are produced regardless of seasons, but a new attempt was made for this summer season and people are looking forward to the return of director James Wan, dubbed the ‘king of horror.’ 

“Guimoon: The Lightless Door” is the first film in Korea to have attempted planning for Screen X and 4DX running as well as the ordinary 2D version. Screen X, in which the screen expands to the side walls and 4DX ,which adds various effects such as wind, smell, movement to its larger screen, will intensify the film’s scary atmosphere.  In the film, watchers can follow the traces of a psychic Do-jin (Kim Kang-woo) who opens the door of ghosts, named guimoon, to discover the truth of a closed training center where a mass murder had taken place and 3 college students who visits the haunted center for their horror video contest. Although being chased by ghosts in a closed place is rather classic, the startling moments in the film can be frightful. 

On September, Wan, director of the “Conjuring” universe and “Saw,” will unveil his new production, “Malignant”.  It is completely different from the works until now,” said the director who always has given fresh sense of fear to his watchers with new approaches.


(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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Hwang Jung-min returns as abductee in ‘Hostage: Missing Celebrity’

By Lee Si-jin | Aug 8, 2021

Actor Hwang Jung-min (left) and director Pil Gam-seong pose for photos after a press preview of “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” held on Thursday. (New)

For veteran actor Hwang Jung-min, playing a character who shares his name in the upcoming movie “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” was huge challenge.

“When I was asked to play Hwang Jung-min, I was concerned with how I should act in the movie, because I had never experienced being kidnapped before and was not able to imagine how I would behave if I was really abducted,” Hwang said during an online interview after the press preview on Thursday.

Director Pil Gam-seong’s first major picture, “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” revolves around the actor Hwang Jung-min (played by Hwang) and kidnappers who demand a huge ransom.

With the famous actor’s name being used for the protagonist, the actors and film crew members focused on making the film as realistic as possible.

“Instead of a movie, I wanted the audience to feel they were watching some sort of a documentary program, like ‘Men in Black Box,’ the broadcaster SBS’ program analyzing the black box footages of cars. The energetic scenes were created by referring to William Friedkin’s ‘The French Connection,’” said Pil.

Thorough preparation was necessary to achieve the goal of making the film realistic, Pil and Hwang said.

Hwang Jung-min is being kidnapped in “Hostage: Missing Celebrity.” (New)

Unlike movies where a kidnapped character is taken to a deserted factory or empty building, the film takes place in a house. The actors spent a lot of time studying how the sets were made, rehearsing how they would act and analyzing the different emotions in their situations.

The selection of the remaining cast was another way to make the film more realistic, Pil added.

According to the director, the audience would be more drawn into the story if the other actors were relatively unknown, making the viewers focus on Hwang’s situation.

However, this does not mean the actors are untalented. The cast members were picked after three months of auditioning involving more than 1,000 actors.

“I have not been able to talk much about the actors who play the kidnappers, but they really are talented individuals. I am certain that the public will recognize their unlimited possibilities after watching the movie,” the veteran actor said, praising the actors who were absent at the online press conference.

The director was glad about the cinematic release of his features directorial debut. He previous works include the 2011 short film “You Promised Me.“

“The character had to be tied up for a long time, restricting his movement. But I was amazed at how Hwang delivered the minute emotions mainly with his upper body and face. The kidnappers created a great chemistry with the veteran,” Pil said.

“Hostage: Missing Celebrity” will arrive in local theaters on Aug. 18.


By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)

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(Movie Review) Actor Hwang Jung-min blurs boundaries of reality, fiction in 'Hostage'

By Kim Boram | August 09, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- What if an A-list celebrity is seized in the middle of the capital city of Seoul and nobody knows his whereabouts or who kidnapped him?

The movie "Hostage: Missing Celebrity" starts with this preposterous premise. First-time director and writer Pil Kam-sung adds a fresh tweak: veteran actor Hwang Jung-min plays himself, the abducted celebrity, in the film.

This image provided by Next Entertainment World shows a scene from "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Hwang opens the movie as a big-name movie star who participates in a promotional event for his new big-screen project. After dinner, he goes home alone as his manager leaves for after-dinner drinks.

After buying anti-hangover pills at a neighborhood convenience store, he gets into an altercation with some young street hoods.

But in one moment, he is seized by unidentified men and taken to an abandoned place in a remote mountain. The actor thinks quickly to assess characters of each captor and anticipates their next threats or requests of ransom as if he is reading the screenplay of an escape movie.

To deceive the kidnappers, he even brags about his acting skills, being able to go into a coma, or plays pranks on one of them with his iconic movie quotes.

This image provided by Next Entertainment World shows a scene from "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The film's absurd premise and the opening sequences represent the paradox of carrying out the near-impossible task of abducting a movie star in crowded Gangnam district, where surveillance cameras monitor every nook and cranny of public space.

But at the same time, it creates enough thrills and plausibility to make viewers recall the common street scenes in Seoul around midnight with many revelers enjoying nightlife alongside quarrelling drunkards.

As the movie goes on, the integrity of the plot hinges largely on Hwang's vivid character and outstanding acting, letting viewers forget the line that distinguishes the real actor and the fictional character of Hwang in the film.
Hwang acts as if he is not a movie character, but a real person who has been kidnapped and confined in an unknown building with his hands tied.

His life-and-death struggle to survive and escape stirs up pity for the actor who has played hard-boiled roles like a gangster boss, detective and hitman that show no mercy in killing traitors and chasing criminals in the crime dramas "New World" (2013), "Veteran" (2015), and "Deliver Us from Evil" (2020).

This image provided by Next Entertainment World shows a scene from "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

But his performance brings a subtle balance to the reckless, psychopathic kidnappers that overwhelm the storyline in the latter part of the 94-minute feature.

The abrupt breakup of the perpetrators and the belated police intervention undermine the suspense and excitement, leading to the climax that is cliched and predictable.

"Hostage: Missing Celebrity" will hit South Korean theaters on Aug. 18.




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Hwang Jungmin, the Eternal Elastic Everyman

by Pierce Conran | Aug 17, 2021

A Look Back at One of the Most Colourful and Successful Careers in Korean Film




In the summer of 2017, following one of the most impressive runs of all time at the Korean box office, the 100 million viewer club welcomed its third member, who followed in the footsteps of character actor Oh Dalsu and beloved star Song Kangho. Though less well known overseas compared to many Korean stars, that local box office titan was the genial everyman Hwang Jungmin, who has continued to deliver hits since making the list and will be back in theaters this month in a new action-thriller in which he plays himself, showing just how meaningful and bankable his screen persona has become to the Korean public.

Hwang belongs to a group of relatable middle-aged male stars that viewers flock to see in theaters, but his climb to the top was a long journey compared to many of his peers, and the tenacity, versatility, and unflappability that took to get him there is part of what makes him such as a big draw today.

Born on September 1, 1970, in Masan in South Gyeongsang Province, Hwang studied at the Kaywon High School of Arts before enrolling at the Seoul Institute of Arts. It was while in college that he got his first-ever role, playing a waiter in Im Kwontaek’s period gangster epic The General’s Son (1990). Though it was a small part, Hwang’s physicality and presence, and his ease in front of the camera, clearly shine through and call forward to a screen career that wouldn’t start in earnest for another decade.

After graduating from the Seoul Institute of Arts, Hwang kicked off his professional career on the stage, first appearing in the musical Line 1 in the mid-1990s and then featuring in plays and musicals in Daehak-ro, Seoul’s theater district, throughout the rest of the decade. It was during this time that he also joined the Hakchon theater troupe, alongside future names Sul Kyunggu, Kim Yunseok, Jang Hyunsung, and Cho Seungwoo.


Waikiki Brothers (2001)

He returned to the film industry in 1999, when he played a minor role as an interrogator in Kang Jegyu’s Swiri, the film that ushered the Korean industry into the modern age. Hwang’s big break came in 2001 when he was cast in Yim Soonrye’s drama Waikiki Brothers as a drummer in a struggling nightclub band. In this quintessential character portrait, he was able to show off his rustic and expressive charm, and as his character succumbs to his vices, he could also demonstrate his dramatic flair.

Work started to pour in, and among his next few roles, his part as the lawyer in Im Sangsoo’s A Good Lawyer’s Wife (2003) stands out. Unafraid to take on the daring role, Hwang shows a darker, not to mention more erotic side to his persona in the modern classic. Though Hwang was a bold performer, taking on any challenge required by his characters, when he later got married and became a family man, he decided to quit sex scenes.




A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Other big parts at this point of his career included a romantic turn in Lee Yoonki’s indie melodrama This Charming Girl (2004) and his unhinged performance as a gangster in Kim Jeewoon’s seminal noir A Bittersweet Life (2005). 2005 was a particularly big year for him, as he also appeared in the period action-comedy Heaven’s Soldiers, the omnibus drama All for Love and You Are My Sunshine, his first outright leading role.

In Park Jinpyo’s romantic drama, Hwang plays a kind-hearted and lovestruck farmer opposite Jeon Doyeon. The role earned him his first big prize, the Best Actor Award at the Blue Dragon Awards, and propelled him to the A-list. As a nascent leading man, Hwang lent his particular skills to a wide range of projects, oscillating between romantic fare and more hard-boiled thrillers, but also finding time for quirkier projects to which he was uniquely suited.




The Unjust (2010)

On the thriller side, there was the crime story Bloody Tie (2006), the horror Black House (2007), Ryoo Seungwan’s hit action-thriller The Unjust (2010), and the conspiracy thriller Moby D (2011), while on the romantic side, he appeared in Hur Jinho’s Happiness (2007) and Lee Seokhoon’s romcom smash Dancing Queen (2012).

Hwang’s fortunes at the box office were mixed in this period, and some of the films that struggled the most were the ones that showcased his unique skills the best, including his turn as a delusional but endearing protagonist in Chung Yoonchul’s A Man Who Was Superman (2008) and his role as a bling swordsman in Lee Joonik’s Blades of Blood (2010). The most notable project from this time was probably The Unjust, a film that combined his hard-boiled thriller characters, his uniquely elastic brand of action, and his comic timing, and also kicked off his collaborations with Ryoo Seungwan.




Ode to My Father (2013)

In 2013, Hwang stole the show from his co-stars Choi Minshik and Lee Jungjae in Park Hoonjung’s gangster saga New World as a charismatic and unpredictable gangs boss, and after a handful of box office misses, he roared back to screens at the end of 2014 and captured the hearts of a nation in JK Youn’s gigantic success Ode to My Father, a blockbuster-sized melodrama that scored over 14 million sales as it reached the second spot on the all-time chart. Playing a man who travels to the world to earn money for his family and keeps a smile on his face despite the many tribulations he faces, the role concretized Hwang’s public persona, and he hasn’t looked back since.




Veteran (2015)

Ode to My Father kicked off the most impressive box office run for any actor in Korean film history. In 2015 he teamed up with Ryoo Seungwan again in the 13 million admissions smash Veteran, a no-holds-barred action-thriller with plenty of humor, in which he played a tough cop looking to take down a corrupt corporate heir. Later that year, he tugged on the nation’s heartstring once more in the expedition drama The Himalayas, produced by JK Youn and directed by Lee Seokhoon, which welcomed close to eight million viewers.

Hwang kicked off 2016 by conquering the Lunar New Year holiday in the prison revenge drama A Violent Prosecutor, which came within a hair’s breadth of entering the ten million viewer club. In spring, he went to the Cannes Film Festival for Na Hongjin’s horror The Wailing, in which he played a memorable shaman. The film was an unexpected hit with just under seven million admissions.



Asura: City of Darkness (2016)

Things settled somewhat after this, as despite his magnetic turn as a corrupt politician, Kim Sunggu’s ensemble thriller Asura: City of Darkness (2016) failed to meet expectations, and in 2017, Hwang’s third collaborations with Ryoo Seungwan, on the big-budget World War II prison escape action-drama The Battleship Island, also fell short of expectations amid several controversies, yet nevertheless reached almost seven million viewers.

The prolific actor has slowed down in recent years, but everything he appears in continues to draw major crowds. He got some of the best notices in his career for Yoon Jongbin’s acclaimed espionage drama The Spy Gone North (2018), which reached five million spectators after screening at Cannes, and then in Hong Wonchan’s action noir DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2020), which, with over four million admissions, is far and away the most successful film to have been released during the pandemic.




Hostage: Missing Celebrity (2021)

In this summer’s Hostage: Missing Celebrity, produce by Ryoo Seungwan’s production company, Hwang plays himself, an actor kidnapped after attending a movie premiere. He eventually succeeds in evading his captors, but as he endures a dangerous escape, he learns that starring in action films has ill-prepared him for the real thing.

Looking forward, Hwang has partnered with Yim Soonrye again on the Afghanistan-set hostage drama The Point Men with Hyun Bin, and he will next shoot Yoon Jongbin’s Netflix crime drama Suriname.

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Actress Kim Hye-soo cheering for actor Hwang Jung-min’s new movie ‘Hostage’ on her Instagram account hs_kim_95





#HwangJungmin #Hostage #August18Release #방역지침준수


She also thanked him for sending her a coffee truck (to the filming site of movie Smuggling).





#ActorHwangJungmin #ThankYou #Hostage_Fighting



Actor Lee Jung-jae cheers for actor Hwang Jung-min’s new movie Hostage.


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by Pierce Conran | Aug 17, 2021



2021|93 MIN | Action, Thriller
DIRECTOR Pil Gamseong
CAST Hwang Jungmin, Kim Jaebum, Lee Yumi, Ryu Gyeongsu 
RELEASE DATE August 18, 2021
CONTACT Contents Panda
Tel : +82 2 3490 9300 
Fax : +82 2 6902 0286 
Email : webmaster@its-new.co.kr

Box office titan Hwang Jungmin, whose intimidating run of hits includes Ode to My Father (2014), Veteran (2015), The Himalayas (2015), The Wailing (2016), The Spy Gone North (2018), and DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2020), is back in theaters this summer with a new film that plays on his celebrity status as he appears as himself. The film reunites him with Filmmakers R & K, the company run by director Ryoo Seungwan and producer Kang Hyejung, after The Unjust (2010), Veteran and The Battleship Island (2017). In the director’s chair is debut filmmaker Pil Gamseong. Hostage: Missing Celebrity is the second work from Filmmakers R & K this summer, following Director Ryoo’s Escape from Mogadishu.

Top Korean movie star Hwang Jungmin attends the VIP premiere of his latest film, but as he leaves the event, he is kidnapped by an unknown group of people. At first, Jungmin believes he is being subjected to a practical joke, but before long, the violence demonstrated by his captors convinces him that this is no joke. Jungmin attempts to find a way out of his predicament while the kidnappers demand a large ransom, which must be paid out within 24 hours. Despite his ample on-screen experience as an action and thriller star, Jungmin discovers that violence in real life is very different from the way it is in the movies.




Hwang Jung-min lowers the cost of movie 'Hostage' by hundreds-of-million won


Actor Hwang Jung-min lowered his fee to pave the way for talented rookies.  Hwang Jung-min took a bold step in adjusting his guarantee in the form of investment in the production stake for movie 'Hostage' and participated as a co-producer.


According to TenAsia’s report on the 18th, Hwang Jung-min lowered his fee in the process of making the movie Hostage.  A film official said, "Hwang Jung-min said that he wanted this work to be a touchstone for discovering newcomers. It is natural that good and talented actors are drawn to good directors, but as this is repeated, a competent rookie director will work with actors with box office power. Opportunities are running out. So, after being cast as the main character, Hwang Jung-min suggested that we use this movie project as an opportunity to select unknown actors."


Guarantees received by top actors in the film industry are hundreds-of-million won.  It is presumed that Hwang Jung-min made the decision to give up his hundreds-of million won guarantee.  From the production company's point of view, it is said that Hwang Jung-min's decision made it possible to invest in other areas (such as directing, editing, and casting) to create a higher-quality work.



Actors who appeared in the movie 'Hostage'.  / Photo = Ryu Kyung-soo's Instagram capture


 Hwang Jung-min also took on the role of casting director for the success of this film.  Hwang Jung-min has a strong background/experience in the stage world, he recommended actors he had been paying attention to when casting for 'Hostage'; on days when there was no schedule, he went to see the actors himself.


 "Hwang Jung-min participated in almost all the audition processes. In the final audition where one or two candidates remained, he personally played the opposite role with each of them. It is unheard of for a TOP actor like him to care about the audition of each candidate” said a film official.

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Daily Box Office - 2021-08-18 (Wed)
Rank | Title | Release Date | Admissions (Total) | Number of Screens | Revenue Share

1. Hostage: Missing Celebrity | 2021-08-18 | 97,226 (104,239) | 1,112 | 42.3%
2. SINKHOLE | 2021-08-11 | 59,334 (1,280,653) | 1,206 | 25.9%
3. Escape from Mogadishu | 2021-07-28 | 35,897 (2,524,355) | 916 | 15.0%
4. OLD | 2021-08-18 | 20,879 (21,104) | 551 | 9.1%
5. Free Guy | 2021-08-11 | 5,968 (209,981) | 385 | 2.6%
6. PAW Patrol: The Movie | 2021-08-18 | 3,072 (3,274) | 274 | 1.2%
7. The Suicide Squad | 2021-08-04 | 1,962 (401,363) | 128 | 0.9%
8. Blue Gate Crossing | 2021-08-18 | 1,494 (1,742) | 79 | 0.6%
9. Boss Baby: Family Business | 2021-07-21 | 958 (912,540) | 91 | 0.4%
10. The Courier | 2021-04-28 | 710 (309,255) | 1 | 0.2%


Hostage - Daily Box Office
Date | # of Screens (Screenings) | Admissions (Total) | Rank
Before opening:  16 (51) | 7,013 (7,013) | N/A

Opening Day 1 (08/18): 1,112 (4,985) | 97,226 (104,239) | 1


'Mogadishu' Kim Yun-seok, 'Sinkhole' Cha Seung-won, ‘Hostage' Hwang Jung-min / PhotoSource=Still cuts from each movie © news1




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Actor Ryoo Seung-bum cheers for movie Hostage.



Hwang Jung-min as Hwang Jung-min in new action-packed film

August 19, 2021



Actor Hwang Jung-min portrays himself as a movie star abducted in the streets of Seoul in "Hostage: Missing Celebrity." [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]


A famous movie star is abducted on the streets of Seoul in the middle of the night.


To residents of Seoul or anyone who has lived in Korea, the premise sounds preposterous, but in director Pil Gam-sung’s debut feature film “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” released in local theaters on Wednesday, he compactly crams how this star is kidnapped, and escapes the wrath of the five assailants using his wit, acting skills and the fighting techniques he picked up from action schools through the course of 92 minutes.   

The film is a remake of a Chinese crime thriller “Saving Mr. Wu” (2015), which was based on a true story of which cast member Wu Ruofu was the victim. In the film, Ruofu portrays the police captain in charge of the abduction case.   

In “Hostage,” Pil decides to ride the precariously thin line between reality and fiction by having actor Hwang Jung-min portray himself in the story.



DIrector Pil Gam-sung wanted the kidnappers to be motivated solely by money. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]

“It was extremely difficult to portray myself as a victim of abduction because I’ve never been kidnapped before,” Hwang said after the press screening earlier this month. “I was totally oblivious about how I would have actually felt if I were to have actually been taken, so to act as myself in such situation was tricky. If it was a fictitious character, I could reshape him to feel whatever emotions he would feel, but since it’s me I’m portraying, it was very difficult figuring out whether my feelings were real or not.” 

The director initially came across the story after watching a documentary about the actual abduction case which led him to see the film as well. 

“I first saw the documentary about an actual event that took place in China. It was about an actor who was kidnapped but he managed to be rescued within a day,” Pil said in an online interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on Thursday. “That tapped into my imagination and provoked my curiosity about what happened on that day, and how would an actor respond to this particular situation. Of course, there is only so much an actor could do if he was a victim, and he probably can’t cause a scene or say words that would provoke the kidnappers. But I think an actor still could use his acting to fool the kidnappers and escape.

“As I began to search for ideas to expand my story, I found out that it was already made into a film,” he continued. “But the focus of this Chinese film was different than what I wanted to do with my film. As the film title suggests, it was more about how the police save Mr. Wu, whereas I wanted to focus on the actor’s escape.” 

Pil decides to cast an actor that played themselves to make a distinction from previous crime thrillers with similar plots. The film begins with prior interview clips that Hwang actually gave through media and award ceremonies, signaling to audiences that Hwang is actually playing himself. Throughout the film, numerous iconic lines said by Hwang which are still popular through memes and short video clips frequently pop-up, such as those from films “Veteran” (2015) and “New World” (2013).




A scene from the film as Hwang attempts to escape from the kidnappers. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]

With the exception of Hwang, however, the rest of the actors who portray the police detectives, the kidnappers and all of the extras, were carefully handpicked. Casting directors made sure to choose either rookie actors or those unfamiliar to the masses to create a realistic element to the film.

“Having Hwang appear as himself was the catalyst for the decision to not cast any other well-known actors,” Pil said. “The audience might wonder, ‘hey, why is Hwang playing himself in the story but Cho Jin-woong isn’t?’ So one of our goals from the pre-production process was to find new faces — talented, but fresh.”

The five kidnappers are portrayed by actors Kim Jae-bum, Ryu Kyung-soo, Jung Jae-won, Lee Kyu-won and Lee Ho-jeong.

The leader of the crime ring Choi Ki-wan is portrayed by Kim. Although he may be unfamiliar to audiences on the silver screen, he’s a veteran stage actor who’s been active in numerous theaters and musicals since 2004. “Hostage” marks Kim's film debut and he beat out 1,000 other hopefuls to land the role.

“I was brimming with passion when I first heard that I had been cast,” Kim said during an online interview on Tuesday. “I was willing to show all I’ve got, but as I had more in-depth discussions with the director, I realized all the characters had a very distinctive role that they had to play, and what I needed to do was to strengthen my individuality as a character for all of us to stand out. I especially sought to differentiate myself from second-in-command, Yeom Dong-hoon. We were at the opposite ends of the spectrum on almost everything. If he’s like fire, I was ice. If he’s energetic, I was chillingly composed.”




Hwang wanted his action scenes to portray a man desperate to survive. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]

In the film, the kidnappers’ only motivation to kidnap the actor is money. The plan is spontaneous, and the audience gets the feeling that they are making up what they're doing as they haphazardly attempt to get money from Hwang’s bank account.

“I wanted this group to be undefinable,” Pil said. “I didn’t want them to come off as merely thugs or criminals — they simply don’t fit together. Their combination was kind of like finding harmony within disharmony.

“And I didn’t give that much narrative behind the characters,” Pil added. “I thought that would only loosen the story’s pace. They just do it, without reason. I mean, there’s the basic motive of doing it for money, but from the perspective of a third person, it’s not that convincing. But I’ve done a lot of research — reading about victims’ interviews and asking questions to police who've dealt with abduction cases. There are actually a lot of scary events that take place without specific motivation. It’s totally random, which is what throws the police off course because they’re always looking for the ‘why.’”




Right, Choi Ki-wan (played by Kim Jae-bum), the leader of the crime ring, and his second-in-command, Yeom Dong-hoon (played by Ryu Kyung-soo) in their safe house. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]

Hwang said that while he'd tried to envision how he would have acted if he was abducted, he thinks the current Hwang would have fought better than the Hwang in the film.

“I think I would have pulled off a better fight,” Hwang said ruefully. “But my priority was — and I talked about this with my martial arts director — that I wanted his actions and movements to come out of his desperation to break free. He’s a terrified victim who wants to live, and I wanted his movements to be uncoordinated.”

“It was all about balancing between my imagination and Hwang in real life,” Pil said. “Although the actor portrays himself, the Hwang in the film is the Hwang that I imagined. Hwang gave his own ideas and assumptions to give voice to the story, saying ‘this is what I would’ve done if I was in this situation.’ His input created synergy to give reality to the drama, but the actor never left the pretext of the story.”




Hwang and director Pil pose for cameras after the press screening of their film earlier this month. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]

Perhaps the most surreal part of the story is the ending.

“I have given countless thoughts whether or not I could be like Hwang in the film,” Hwang said. “Would I be able to do what he did if I got abducted for real? [...] This is the conclusion director Pil and I reached together after thousands of discussions. I can confidently say that that’s what I would’ve done too. I can be as courageous as Hwang in the film.”


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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Daily Box Office - 2021-08-19 (Thu)
Rank | Title | Release Date | Admissions (Total) | Number of Screens | Revenue Share
1. Hostage: Missing Celebrity | 2021-08-18 | 80,147 (184,386) | 1,123 | 41.6%
2. SINKHOLE | 2021-08-11 | 50,808 (1,331,459) | 1,234 | 25.8%
3. Escape from Mogadishu | 2021-07-28 | 34,306 (2,558,656) | 951 | 16.8%


Hostage - Daily Box Office
Date | # of Screens (Screenings) | Admissions (Total) | Rank
Before opening:  16 (51) | 7,013 (7,013) | N/A
Opening Day 1 (08/18): 1,112 (4,985) | 97,226 (104,239) | 1
Opening Day 2 (08/19): 1,123 (4,916) | 80,147 (184,386) | 1

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Daily Box Office - 2021-08-20 (Fri)
Rank | Title | Release Date | Admissions (Total) | Number of Screens | Revenue Share
1. Hostage: Missing Celebrity | 2021-08-18 | 83,894 (268,280) | 1,187 | 40.7%
2. SINKHOLE | 2021-08-11 | 56,420 (1,387,881) | 1,237 | 27.1%
3. Escape from Mogadishu | 2021-07-28 | 40,282 (2,598,938) | 948 | 18.4%



Hostage - Daily Box Office
Date | # of Screens (Screenings) | Admissions (Total) | Rank
Before opening:  16 (51) | 7,013 (7,013) | N/A
Opening Day 1 (08/18): 1,112 (4,985) | 97,226 (104,239) | 1
Opening Day 2 (08/19): 1,123 (4,916) | 80,147 (184,386) | 1
Opening Day 3 (08/20): 1,187 (5,116) | 83,894 (268,280) | 1

Related report: breaknews



Actor Ju Ji-hoon (The Spy Gone North) promoting movie Hostage.


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Daily Box Office - 2021-08-21 (Sat)
Rank | Title | Release Date | Admissions (Total) | Number of Screens | Revenue Share

1. Hostage: Missing Celebrity | 2021-08-18 | 186,167 (454,447) | 1,270 | 39.7%
2. SINKHOLE | 2021-08-11 | 133,686 (1,521,567) | 1,250 | 28.1%
3. Escape from Mogadishu | 2021-07-28 | 93,444 (2,692,380) | 961 | 19.0%




Hostage - Daily Box Office
Date | # of Screens (Screenings) | Admissions (Total) | Rank
Before opening:  16 (51) | 7,013 (7,013) | N/A
Opening Day 1 (08/18): 1,112 (4,985) | 97,226 (104,239) | 1
Opening Day 2 (08/19): 1,123 (4,916) | 80,147 (184,386) | 1
Opening Day 3 (08/20): 1,187 (5,116) | 83,894 (268,280) | 1

Opening Day 4 (08/21): 1,275 (5,748) | 186,167 (454,447) | 1

Related report: breaknews


Ryu Kyung-soo from 'Hostage: Missing Celebrity' hopes to be actor 'worth looking forward to'

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[A Look Back on Korea's 'Cheonman Movie' #4] 'Ode to My Father'

by Ra Hwak Jin / Cha Min Kyung | 2021-08-22

[Episode 4] Ode to My Father (2014 Directed by Yoon Je-kyun)

▲ This photo shows the movie poster for "Ode to My Father." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Ode to My Father," released in December 2014, attracted a total of 14.14 million viewers until the following year, making it the fourth highest-grossing film in South Korean cinema history. Unlike the movie's Korean title, which translates to "International Market," derived from the actual international market in Busan, where the movie is set in, the English title "Ode to My Father" captures the message and theme more accurately. 

The movie is told from an ordinary father named Deoksu (Hwang Jung-min)'s perspective and tells the story of his family as they leave their hometown in Heungnam, Hamgyeong-do due to the Korean War and settle in Busan. 

During the Hungnam Evacuation, where numerous refugees were transported to Busan by U.S. Navy boats, Deoksu loses his younger sister. Deoksu's father, who stays behind to look for her, tells Deoksu to go to his aunt's imported goods shop and take care of his family, before being separated from each other. Since then, Deoksu sacrifices himself to earn a living and goes to Germany to work as a miner as well as serve the Vietnam War. 

In hopes his father will come find him, Deoksu makes sure to protect his aunt's shop "Kkotbunine" within Busan's international market. 

"Kkotbunine," which played a big role in maintaining the family's livelihood by selling U.S. military supplies and other miscellaneous goods during the country's turbulent history, is later just regarded as an old shop in the modern days. Deoksu, who insists to keep the shop despite its old age is also treated as a stubborn grandfather by his siblings and children.

◇"Ode to My Father" labeled as 'patriotic' movie after being viewed by several politicians

"Ode to My Father" conveys big events of modern history through Deoksu's character in an affectionate view rather than a critical view. The film was also praised as a "patriotic" film.


▲ This photo shows actor Jeong Jin-yeong (left) and actress Jang Young-nam (right), who both play Deoksu's parents, in the scene from "Ode to My Father" that portrays the Hungnam Evacuation during the Korean War. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The movie focuses on appealing to the public using the theme of family hardships. The film's theme, flow, humor, and the cast's performance are all portrayed in a way that attracts the audience. In the earlier part of the movie, the scene that depicts 100,00 refugees transporting to South Korea during the Hungnam Evacuation is spectacular. In addition, Deoksu and his friend Dalgu deliver comical aspects while scenes that show young children being taken away from their families makes the movie a tear-jerker. Although "Ode to My Father" runs for more than two hours, audiences are not left to be bored, but rather, holding back tears. 

Since the film's release, many politicians have been scrambling to take advantage of the film's success.

Former President Park Geun-hye made headlines after the media captured Park wiping her tears while watching the movie with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Since then, Park often used "Ode to My Father" as an example of converging traditional markets with Korea's culture. It was later found out during an investigation process that the movie's production company, CJ, was pressured by Park's government to release "patriotic movies." However, President Moon Jae-in, who was the leader of the main opposition party at the time, also publicly watched the movie and stressed, "The value of patriotism transcends both the conservatives and liberals." 

◇ Director Yoon Je-kyun to take on Hollywood after succeeding two 10-million-viewed films

Before filming "Ode to My Father, director Yoon had already produced a smash-hit with blockbuster "Haeundae," becoming the first Korean director to have two films viewed by more than 10 million people.


▲ This photo, taken on Feb. 12, 2017, shows director Yoon Je-kyun.

Yoon is known to be outstanding for utilizing cliché Korean stories or events and succeeding to appeal to the audience. Within director Yoon's films, "Sex Is Zero" conveys comedy while "Haeundae" portrays a disaster situation, and "Ode to My Father" mixes modern history with cliché aspects, which ultimately draws the public's curiosity and enthusiasm.

Director Yoon's latest work is a film version of the musical "Hero," which depicts Korean-independence activist An Jung-geun, who assassinated former Prime Minister of Japan, Ito Hirobumi, during the Japanese colonial era. "Hero" is considered an extremely rare musical film to exist within the Korean film industry, raising great expectations from the public.

Furthermore, CJ ENM recently announced that Hollywood producer Lynda Obst, who directed Hollywood science fiction movie "Interstellar," will join hands with director Yoon to create a K-pop related movie, temporarily titled "K-Pop: Lost in America," drawing attention once again. 

◇ Find the real historic figures in "Ode to My Father" 

In addition to the main character Deoksu, who embodies the entire modern history of Korea, the movie features characters that resemble real notable figures in Korea's history.

The scenes where Deoksu naturally runs into late Hyundai Motor founder Chung Ju-yung, late designer André Kim, and wrestling hero Lee Man-ki, reminds the audience of "Forrest Gump," a movie based on modern American history.

In particular, Nam Jin, a famous Korean singer who actually participated in the Vietnam War at the time, plays a significant part in the scenes related to the Vietnam War. The singer's role is played by K-pop boy group TVXQ's U-Know Yunho, who showcases a sly performance. Earlier this year, U-Know Yunho dropped out as the emcee for Mnet's idol contest program "Kingdom: Legendary War" after he was caught violating social distancing rules at an unauthorized entertainment bar. 

◇ The fun of looking around actual filming sites in Busan

"Kkotbunine," which becomes the main "stage" within the movie, is an actual shop located in Busan's international market. The shop was used as the filming site and the signboard was changed to match the story. Now, the shop operates as a coffee shop with the same name and at the same place.




▲ This photo, taken on Dec. 28, 2014, shows people crowded around the Kkotbunine shop, which is the actual filming site for "Ode to My Father." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The Busan Tourism Organization also developed tourist courses, including major locations appeared in the movie like the international market and Yongdusan Park, making visitors in Busan feel as if they are in a scene from the movie. 

It is also nice to see the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) in Yeouido, Seoul which aired a special live broadcast, "Finding Dispersed Families," aimed to reunite Korean families that had been separated during the Korean War.


While Germany and Vietnam were also major settings of the film, the scenes were actually filmed in the Czech Republic and Thailand. 

◇ Indian remake of "Ode to My Father" also makes a big hit

In 2019, "Ode to My Father" was remade in India under the title "Bharat," which is an alternative name of India. Starring actor Salman Khan, the film earned huge success, making it one of the top five Indian films of the year. "Bharat" succeeded in catching the eye of Indian audiences by using similar historical events with Korea's modern history portrayed in "Ode to My Father." It is hard to ignore that a big factor in the movie's success came from the film's code suiting the patriotism of Narendra Modi's government as well. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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