The Korea Herald


From horror to romance, November is new battlefield for local films

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Nov. 6, 2023 - 15:33

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From left: “The Boys,” “New Normal,” “Single in Seoul” and “12.12: The Day” (CJENM, BY4M, Lotte Entertainment, Plus M Entertainment) From left: “The Boys,” “New Normal,” “Single in Seoul” and “12.12: The Day” (CJENM, BY4M, Lotte Entertainment, Plus M Entertainment)

With various genres of Korean films slated to hit theaters this month, November has become a new battlefield, a season that had been regarded as relatively less competitive compared to summer and winter holiday seasons.

Last November, rookie director Ahn Tae-jin’s 9 billion-won budget “Night Owl” attracted 2.5 million moviegoers, becoming a box office hit. The film grabbed attention for combining thriller elements in a period setting. Actor Ryu Jun-yeol starred as a blind acupuncturist who “witnessed” the death of the crown prince.

Kicking off the month of November this year was “The Boys” directed by Chung Ji-young, which opened in theaters Nov. 1.

Based on a real-life high-profile case, the film revolves around three young men aged 19 to 20 who were falsely convicted for involvement in a murder in a small rural town in 1999. Veteran detective Joon-cheol (Sol Kyung-gu) receives information on the real culprit and throws himself into reinvestigate the case. But his efforts are soon interrupted by detective Woo-sung (Yoo Jun-sang), who originally handled the case. After 16 years, witnesses and the accused visit Joon-cheol.

As of Monday, the film ranked second in the local box office, attracting around 185,000 moviegoers in the first week.

Director Jung Bum-shik’s new horror film, “New Normal,” is opening on Thursday.

Jung, known for his particular colors in directing horror flicks as seen in his previous works, “Epitaph” and “Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum,” is returning with a creative omnibus-style horror movie. Actors Choi Ji-woo, Lee Yoo-mi, Ha Da-in and singer-actor Choi Min-ho of Shinee, Pyo Ji-hoon of Block B and trot singer Jung Dong-won star as everyday people such as an office worker, a part-time employee at a convenience store, an unemployed person, a middle school student and more.

Director Kim Sung-su’s “12.12: The Day,” based on the 1979 coup in South Korea, is opening on Nov. 22.

The historical drama film covers nine hours on Dec. 12, 1979, during the attempted coup led by the secret Hanahoe group in Seoul. Although the film is based on real events, the names of the characters have been altered to allow for a fictionalized plot line. Director Kim has helmed various hit action noir films, including “Beat” (1997), “City of the Rising Sun” (1999) and “Asura: The City of Madness” (2016).

Prolific actor Hwang Jung-min stars as Chun Doo-gwang, a core member of the military who instigates the coup attempt. Jung Woo-sung plays Lee Tae-shin, a commander who tries to stop Chun’s secret plan. Lee Seong-min and Park Hae-joon also appear as other officers.

Among the four films opening in November, “12.12: The Day” has the highest budget at around 23 billion won, and must attract 4.5 million moviegoers in order to break even.

In the last week of November, actors Lee Dong-wook and Im Soo-jung’s romantic comedy, “Single in Seoul,” will hit local theaters on Nov. 29.

The film follows Yeong-ho (Lee), a social media influencer who likes to be by himself, and Hyeon-jin (Im), an outgoing publisher who doesn't want to do a single thing alone, as they get closer while preparing to write an essay about single life together.