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Ko - production in Busan
  • Korean-Japanese Screen Adaptations
  • by HWANG Hee-yun /  Mar 13, 2018
  • Korean Films Based on Japanese Originals

    It began with comic books. Korean filmmakers, always on the hunt for new content, developed an interest in Japanese comics and graphic novels. Among these adaptations, the top-grossing movie is 200 Pounds Beauty (2006), which is based on the Japanese manga ‘Kanna’s Big Success!’ by SUZUKI Yumiko. The Korean version of this romantic comedy about an overweight woman undergoing massive plastic surgery to become beautiful borrowed the basic story from the original manga and created many new elements. Directed by KIM Yong-hwa, the adaptation was a sleeper hit, attracting 6,619,498 moviegoers to domestic theaters. Based on the Japanese manga series of the same name, PARK Chan-wook’s Old Boy (2003) was both a box office and critical success as well. For a while, a lot of filmmakers were anxious to buy the copyrights for Japanese original content. At that time, Japanese mystery novels were popular in Korea, leading to a number of films being released in the genre: White Night (2009), HOWLING (2012), Helpless (2012) and Perfect Number (2012). Among these films, Helpless is the highest grosser. This mystery-thriller lured 2,436,400 moviegoers while showing a different side of actress KIM Min-hee. Novels by OKUDA Hideo and ISAKA Kotaro were also adapted for the big screen. The popularity of the original works by these two authors created high expectations for their respective adaptations, however their box office performances were somewhat disappointing. Lately, several new films based on Japanese comics and graphic novels have been scheduled for release. Made for young wanderers in Korea, YIM Soon-rye’s healing drama Little Forest has already brought in more than 1 million moviegoers while upcoming melodrama Be With You will come as music to the ears of the Korean film industry, which is longing for romantic movies.
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