South Korea welcomed into Chinese cinema

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Park Chan-wook's 2003 "Old Boy" was a resounding international success, inspiring a 2013 Hollywood remake.
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Park Chan-wook's 2003 "Old Boy" was a resounding international success, inspiring a 2013 …

China and South Korea have signed a deal that means films co-produced by the two countries can be shown in Chinese cinemas without adding to a 34-film import quota -- a big move for moviegoers in China and filmmakers in South Korea.

South Korea's film industry has proven itself more than capable of generating worldwide critical acclaim: Park Chan-wook's "Joint Security Area" and Vengeance Trilogy put the country on the map as far as fans of arthouse and action cinema were concerned, while Bong Joon-ho's "The Host" and "Snowpiercer" have both been warmly received on an international basis.

The Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves romantic drama "The Lake House" came about because of South Korean original "Il Mare"; likewise, romcom "My Sassy Girl" was an enormous success throughout Asia, with Elisha Cuthbert starring in the Hollywood remake.

"Effective immediately, co-productions made between China and South Korea will be treated as local films in China, no longer subject to import restrictions," announced the Korean Film Council in a post made to its Chinese social networking account on Weibo on July 4.

The agreement means that films like comedy "Once Again, 20's" (based on existing South Korean film "Miss Granny") and thriller "The Peaceful Island," both ongoing CHN/SKR co-productions, will gain smooth access to China's huge domestic market, notes Film Business Asia.

And the importance of winning over Chinese filmgoers has not been lost on American filmmakers either -- extensive local partnerships helped Hollywood blockbuster "Transformers: Age of Extinction" not only film on location in Chinese territory, but also go on to outstrip the US's own domestic box office take on its opening weekend.

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