“Parasite,” the winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, has not only become a source of national pride but also a boon for its investors.
The movie, the seventh from director Bong Joon-ho, is expected to hit screens May 30 and the attention surrounding the award -- a first for any South Korean film -- is already boosting the share prices of its investors, including Barunson Enter & Arts. Shares in the production company, which holds publication rights to the movie, soared 20 percent to close at 3,025 won (US$2.55) on May 28, adding to the previous day’s 29 percent jump.
Barunson is one of the major investors in the movie along with CJ ENM, the Korean entertainment giant responsible for its distribution. The two companies have injected 12.5 billion won ($10 million) into the film, for which production and marketing costs are estimated at 16 billion won.
The poster of Parasite
CJ ENM edged up 0.16 percent to 184,000 won on May 28 after rising 1.4 percent on the previous day.
Several Korean movies -- such as “The Drug King” and “Swing Kids,” which cost about 15 billion won each -- have failed to break even. But industry watchers say “Parasite” will have no trouble passing that threshold because, as CJ ENM’s biggest project this year, it will cash in from its presence in 192 countries and its dominance at the box office.
According to the Korea Box-Office Information System, a database maintained by the state-backed Korean Film Council, some 235,000 seats worth 2 billion won had been reserved as of May 28 at 2:30 p.m., accounting for 50 percent of all movie reservations. To break even, it will need to attract 3.7 million moviegoers at the box office, according to CJ ENM.
In addition to its two biggest investors, several venture capital companies are expected to enjoy handsome returns on their investment in the movie. These include Company K Partners, Solaire Partners, KC Ventures and Central Investment Partners. Company K Partners, which usually invests 600 million in a movie, doubled that amount for “Parasite.” The other companies each invested about 500 million won, according to sources.
Union Investment Partners and Timewise Investment have established an index fund, a portfolio that invests in movies by a particular distributor.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)