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Film Investor and Distributor CGV ARTHOUSE Ceases Operations

Nov 08, 2019
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Company Folds in Wake of Poor Returns

CGV ARTHOUSE, the subsidiary of CJ ENM Corp. which has been focusing on financing and distributing lower-budget indie and commercial works, has decided to cease its operations.

While the outfit has been responsible for introducing several major artistic works to audiences both in Korea and overseas, the disappointing performances of some of its pricier recent projects forced it to reconsider its business. In particular, the company suffered from the poor box office performances of LEE Chang-dong’s BURNING (2018) and LEE Su-jin’s Idol, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in competition and in the Forum section of the Berlin International Film Festival, respectively.

Though active for a long time as a distributor, notably as the exclusive purveyor of Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) features for several years, CGV ARTHOUSE turned to film financing, starting with 2014 releases such as the smash hit documentary My Love, Don’t Cross That River. Over the years they have been responsible for several Cannes contenders, such as July Jung’s A Girl at My Door (2014 - Un Certain Regard), OH Seung-uk’s The Shameless (2015 - Un Certain Regard) and HAN Jun-hui’s Coin Locker Girl (2015 - Critics’ Week).

Some of the company’s other recent titles include the trial comedy-drama Juror 8 and JUNG Ji-woo’s romantic drama Tune in for Love. The company will continue to distribute the remaining films in its lineup, until it winds down operations completely following the release of the family drama Oh! My Gran, featuring Miss Granny (2014) and I Can Speak (2017) star NA Moon-hee, which is scheduled to open in theaters next February.

While the closure of CGV ARTHOUSE will no doubt represent a blow to the independent film sector in Korea, sister company CJ CGV Cinemas is placing more emphasis on indie fare, notably by converting several auditoriums at its CJ CGV Myeongdong and CJ CGV Cheonan locations into exclusive arthouse screens. This will bring the total number of dedicated arthouse screens in Korea from 22 to 26.
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