CJ ENM Launches ‘The Boys’ and ‘Hero’ at Busan Market

CJ ENM, which includes Korea’s largest film producer and distributor, is using the Asian Contents & Film Market this week to launch a handful of new titles while basking in its recent box office and festival successes.

“The Boys” gets its premiere as a special screening withing the Busan International Film Festival’s expanded Korean Cinema Today section. This crime drama delves into the lives of three teenage boys, falsely accused and jailed for a brutal robbery-murder case. Fifteen years later, they seek a retrial in a bid to prove their innocence.

The veteran cast line-up includes Seol Kyung Gu (“Kingmaker”), Yu Jun Sang (“Along With The Gods: Two Worlds”), Jin Kyung (“Beasts Clawing At Straws”), Heo Sung Tae (“Hunt,” “Squid Game”) and Yeom Hye Ran (“Special Delivery”). “The Boys” was directed by Chung Ji Young, whose notable works include “National Security” and “Black Money.” 

History has proven freedom comes at a price. Set in Korea in the early 1900s during the Japanese colonial period, director JK Youn’s “Hero” tells the story of a Korean independence activist in a fight to free his motherland. The film portrays his final days through music and song and stars musical actor Chung Sung Hwa and Kim Go Eun (best known in TV series, “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” and “Yumi’s Cells”). 

Keeping to the historical theme, with the setting in 1933 is action-espionage film, “Phantom.” A secret agent, part of a Japanese colonization resistance movement group known as “Phantoms,” is tasked with assassinating the Governor-General and must outwit a trap set with four other suspects in a secluded mansion. The story is told within a single day. It is directed by Lee Hae-young (“Believer”) and stars Sul Kyung Gu, Lee Hanee, Park So Dam and Park Hae Soo.

The company is also looking to do some final deals on two of nits biggest commercial hits from this year.

The North-South Korean cop buddies reunite for a second time in “Confidential Assignment 2: International.” The North Korean detective (played by Hyun Bin) joins forces with his South Korean counterpart (played by Yoo Hai Jin) and a US FBI agent (played by Daniel Henney) in another confidential mission. The film was released in Korean theaters on Sept. 7, 2022 and has clocked up over 6 million admissions. 

Its “Alienoid” released in July is a sic-fi-historical-fantasy directed Choi Dong-hoon (“Assassination”). The all-star ensemble cast includes Ryu Jun-yeol (“The Battle: Roar to Victory”), Kim Woo-bin (“Master”), Kim Tae-ri (“Space Sweepers”) and So Ji-sub (“Confession”). 

CJ previously announced that it had struck huge numbers of deals on “Broker” and “Decision to Leave,” its two art-house titles that appeared in competition in Cannes in May. “Decision” earned Park Chan-wook the best director award and is now set as Korea’s contender for the Oscars.

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