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Ko - production in Busan
  • Judy AHN, Head of International Business, Showbox / Mediaplex
  • by KIM Su-bin /  Dec 12, 2017
  • “Universal and Unique Content is Important”

    Recently producing A Taxi Driver, the 9th movie surpassing 10 million viewers, Korea’s major distributor and producer Showbox has been expanding to global markets. The company officially announced plans to enter Indonesia, China and Hollywood. In Indonesia, Showbox participated in the co-production of romantic comedy Forever Holiday in Bali with a domestic production company while it plans to co-produce six films with Showbox China and Huayi Brothers in China. Released last June, Beautiful Accident represented the beginning of Showbox’s global expansion. In Hollywood, the company is taking part in the production and investment of mystery thriller The Widow. Academy Award winner Neil Jordan is directing the thriller, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Moretz. Currently, Showbox has been working on the project with Blumhouse, one of the best horror productions in Hollywood. Showbox, whose slogan is ‘Contents Power’, has focused more on co-production with global film companies rather than remakes. We met director Judy AHN in the Foreign Division to talk about Showbox’s overseas expansion, based on the two upcoming foreign films, The Widow and Forever Holiday in Bali

    In September 2015, Showbox set up partnerships with two Hollywood productions, Ivanhoe Pictures and Blumhouse, to co-produce six movies for five years. Did you proceed with co-production and investment in The Widow based on that partnership? I’d like to hear more about it. 

    The partnership agreements with Ivanhoe Pictures and Blumhouse in 2015 were to develop and produce Korean genre movies. The Widow was made by Ivanhoe Pictures and SK Global, with funds arranged by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE) which produced films like The Place Beyond the Pines and Moneyball. Showbox took part in the co-production and investment in this upcoming thriller. It is different from partnership agreements. 

    In 2015, Showbox did well at the domestic box office, producing successful films one after another including Assassination, The Throne and Inside Men. Then, you must be offered a lot from foreign production companies. Why did you make partnerships with Ivanhoe Pictures and Blumhouse among them?

    We have made our efforts to enter international film markets with Korean genre films. Ivanhoe Pictures and Blumhouse have already developed and produced local genre films with mid and low budgets in the new locations such as China and India. So we considered them the most suitable partners and finally made partnerships with them. 

    Which made you decide to take part in The Widow? Was it script, cast, production condition or other?

    First of all, the most attractive element was that the film would be directed by great director Neil Jordan, who received the Best Original Screenplay for The Crying Game at the 65th Academy Awards. The cast of Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Moretz also sounded appealing. In addition, we decided to co-produce and invest in this film because we trusted Ivanhoe Pictures’ production.  

    Can you tell me the current progress of The Widow?

    The shooting has been almost wrapped up and the project is awaiting post-production. Most production crews are from Hollywood and there was no Korean staff. We are considering a domestic release when the film is done.  

    Also, Showbox went into partnership for five years with Blumhouse, which is good at horror and thriller genres like Happy Death Day and Get Out. Do you have anything under discussion?

    We are developing two projects. They are in early stages and have not yet been specifically discussed. 

    Meanwhile, Showbox is pushing into Southeast Asia film markets. What made you enter Southeast Asia? 

    We saw a lot of potential in the Indonesian film market. Indonesia is the world’s fourth-most popular nation, with 250 million people. The country has the highest growth potential in the whole industry because about 60% of the total population is composed of young people in their 30s. Moreover, sustainable development of the film industry is expected. For these reasons, we decided to advance into the Indonesian film market. Forever Holiday in Bali is a romantic comedy, which is co-produced by Showbox and Indonesia’s production company. Romantic comedy is a popular genre for young audiences in the Indonesian film market so we reckoned it would be the best genre and we choose Forever Holiday in Bali for our first movie in Indonesia. 

    In Forever Holiday in Bali, was there any Korean crew to take part? 

    In this case, some Korean crew took part in the overall process of production, from planning to shooting and lighting. This romantic comedy is currently in the post-production for an early 2018 release. This is also being considered to be released in Korea. 

    In the cases of China and Indonesia, Showbox has been working on co-production in the way of developing IPs with foreign production companies. Do you have plans to remake domestic content abroad? 

    There are already some remakes of our films, including Confession of Murder (2012) which was recently remade in Japan. It would depend on the situations whether we will do remakes abroad or not. 

    Can you tell me about overseas investments and productions in 2018? 

    First of all, we plan to focus on the releases of The Widow and Forever Holiday in Bali. At the same time, we will continually review subsequent projects.
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