Local Production Drive Sees CJ Entertainment Unveil Dozen International Titles

Patrick Frater

Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ Entertainment has amped up its overseas filmmaking efforts to the point that it is now producing more movies outside Korea than at home.

At FilMart in Hong Kong, CJ unveiled a slate of 13 new titles hailing from the U.S., Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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“Our aim is to find hidden gem-like creators in local industries, and support them … by producing quality local films together,” said Jerry Ko, CJ’s head of international.

“We are not just passive investors. In Thailand and Vietnam we are working with partners but are also fully involved in packaging, casting, distributing and selling,” said Choi Yeonu, chief producer within CJ’s international production team. “And we have strong IP.”

The company’s “Miss Granny” has been remade in seven countries, while its “Sunny” has been made in Korea, Vietnam and Japan. A fourth, in Indonesia, was unveiled earlier this month.

In the U.S., Joel David Moore (“Youth in Oregon”) is directing an American remake of hit thriller “Hide and Seek.” Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jacinda Barrett and Joe Pantoliano star. Drake Doremus (“Like Crazy,” “Equals”) is directing a previously announced, untitled comedy starring Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan from an original script. Both are now in post-production without confirmed release dates.

One of the biggest Korean hits, “The Classic” is currently getting remake treatment in Thailand, where CJ has partnerships with Major Cineplex and with producer and broadcaster Workpoint. “Classic Again” is now in production under the direction of Thatchaphong Suphasri, and set for a third quarter release. Comedy romance “Our Love Forever,” directed by Wirat Hengkongdee, and “That March,” directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul (“13 Beloved”) are respectively set for June and September releases.

In Indonesia, where CJ-CGV is the third-largest cinema chain, CJ has multiple producing pacts with Shanty Harmayn’s Base Films, with Wicky Olindo’s Screenplay Films, and a three-film deal with prolific producer-director Joko Anwar. Action comedy “Hit and Run” stars Joe Taslim, Tatjana Saphira and Yayan Ruhian in a tale of a celebrity cop whose mission to arrest a drug lord goes awry. Goodhouse.id is producing game-to-film adaptation “Dreadout,” while Pichouse Films is producing “Death Whisper,” a remake of classic Korean horror “Whispering Corridors.”

Previously announced titles in other territories include: “Organize Isler Sazan Sarmali” in Turkey, and “The Garden of Evening Mists,” with high-profile multinational cast of Lee Sinje, Hiroshi Abe and Sylvia Chang, in Malaysia.

In February, CJ released two films in Vietnam – romcom “Singles Make Couples” and period comedy “A Story of Quynh,” which was released in time for the Lunar New Year holidays and became the sixth-highest- grossing film of all time in Vietnam.

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