[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s top three multiplex theater chains -- CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox -- have refused to screen Bong Joon-ho’s Netflix-backed fantasy flick “Okja” due to a disagreement on release dates, according to industry sources on June 7.
The three chains, which take up a combined 93 percent of the nation’s movie theaters, have refused to screen the film unless Netflix postpones its planned online streaming of the movie. Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, announced on May 15 that the film will have simultaneous streaming and theatrical release on June 29 in Korea.
“The simultaneous online and theater release goes against the global film industry’s distribution structure. It not only destroys the ecosystem of the industry, but is also unfair to other film businesses and could cause severe confusion,” a CGV spokesperson said. CGV, the No. 1 movie theater chain, operates some 130 theaters across the nation.
Some critics say Netflix is seeking to boost subscribers here by casting a famous local director and indulge in noise marketing.
“Okja”, with a budget of US$50 million, was first unveiled at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May and was sparked controversy, forcing the festival to change the rules for next year by making a local theatrical release a requirement.
Next Entertainment World, the film’s domestic distributor, is also in the process of revising the marketing and screening schedule for the film due to the boycott by Korean theater chains.
The distributor plans to hold the preview event on June 12 in Seoul.
By Alex Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)