Record-breaking box office results for the film “Secretly, Greatly,” which stars Kim Soo Hyun, Park Ki Woong and Lee Hyun Woo, may change the future of filmmaking in Korea.
Given the quickly escalating box office returns, filmmakers are expected to gain new respect for the financial power of young filmgoers.
Within days of its release, the film broke several ticket sales records. It had the highest single day opening for a Korean film then broke the record for sales of a film based on a webtoon. The film became the fastest movie to reach one, two and three million in ticket sales, reaching one million tickets in as little as 36 hours.
Part of the appeal is the comedy’s spy plot line in a time of renewed tension between North and South Korea. The film’s heroes are three North Korean Special Forces spies who live incognito in the south, waiting for orders. They get used to their life in the south until someone in the north decides they must be eliminated.
But the three flower boy stars, known to young audiences from kdrama hits, provide an even stronger draw. Kim Soo Hyun, 25, has achieved idol status because of his roles in series such as “Dream High” and “Moon Embracing the Sun.” He is currently the most popular Hallyu star in Japan.
Park Ki Woong, 28, recently starred in the hit drama “Bridal Mask,” and Lee Hyun Woo, 20, is a fan favorite due to his role in “To The Beautiful You.”
Last but not least is the webtoon appeal. “Secretly, Greatly” is based on the webtoon, “Covertness, which had 40 million hits of its own and a dedicated fan base.
“Because ‘Covertness’ was such a hit, there was immense pressure, and we thought the only way to live up to the expectations was with a great cast,” said Jang Chul Soo, the film’s director.
Most of the film’s tickets were booked before its release, with the audience being largely teenage girls. While teenagers account for only three percent of viewers who traditionally book movie theater seats in advance, said the ticket site, Maxmovie, the teen booking for this movie reached 13 percent.
Almost half of those, 30 and older, who watched the movie, saw it with their kids and 16 percent said they bought tickets for their kids.
The success of the movie may highlight the lack of movies made for this age group and prompt a change in future movie funding. Recently, Korean films have had a difficult time competing with American films but “Secretly, Greatly” soared past the new “Star Trek” movie, as well as American films, “After Earth” and “The Great Gatsby.”
This article was originally published at KDrama Stars: