Battleship Island Under Fire for Production Company CJ Taking 87% of the Movie Showings to Garner Opening Day Numbers

First comes the shiny good news, then the messy stuff underneath that puts it in perspective. K-movie Battleship Island garnered the most opening day viewers in history, the spot hold previously by Train to Busan last year, but now how it got there is all over the news. Battleship distributor chaebol conglomerate CJ Entertainment is being accused of taking over 2,000 showings for the movie, the highest ever and constituting 87% of the available movie showings in the country. This basically gave movie audiences little to no other option than to watch Battleship, though that’s still a choice since SK like many first world countries plugged in provides an array of visual entertainment choices.

I have to lug myself to the theater even when my local megaplex is showing 25 different movies because it’s so much easier to watch something else at home or on my computer. This isn’t the first time CJ has been accused of monopolizing the theaters, last year it did the same with Operation Chromite. Battleship is a very expensive movie and reportedly needs at least 7 million admissions to make its money back, which would put it among the top 35 SK movies of all time in terms of audience. Only time will tell if it can get there even with CJ help.

Battleship continues to get middling reviews from critics and audience feedback alike, unlike PD Ryu’s own hit movie Veteran currently still number 3 on the all time grossing SK movie list, which got insanely good reviews and even repeat watches from the audience. Of all the acting reviews, only child actress Kim Soo Ah is getting positive feedback, the adults are all getting tossed overboard for mediocre output made worse by stock characters that don’t garner connection with the audience, and Song Joong Ki is especially bad because his character is made into nearly invincible especially towards the end when he keeps surviving in the big breakout from the island. This basically confirms that drama audiences don’t mind suspension of disbelief cheese with omnipotent male leads but movie audiences have no patience for that shiz.

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Battleship Island Under Fire for Production Company CJ Taking 87% of the Movie Showings to Garner Opening Day Numbers — 41 Comments

  1. Too bad I was looking forward to watch the movie .. I even wanted to go and watch it at the cinema.. that’s not going to anymore I will just watch it when it’s available online

  2. You are kidding me!! Did someone put a gun in the head of these people and force them to watch a movie? The last time I know watching a movie is a choice. Even if that is the only movie showing, i have a choice whether to pay or not. Are koreans so rich that they will just pork out the money even they don’t really like to watch it? Well, if the movie does well even after the criticism, who should we give the credit to? I hope Koala will write something about that.

    • Yeah but the choice is no longer what movie to watch but should you watch a movie or not. I don’t think is whether they have a choice I think the problem is that it limited greatly people choices. So let’s say you want to watch a movie, you get to the theater you can decide which one but when there is only two or three to choose from you don’t really get to decide much.

    • You don’t get it huh? No one put a gun in their head but they are left with no choice IF all they have is this movie WHEN they are already planning to watch something with their friends/lovers or family this weekend.
      People go out and will watch movies…. And it’s summer- a big movie season. This was the same season Train in Busan last year… So you expect people to go home and not watch anything when they are already in plan with others.
      Summers is a huge movie season everywhere, including Korea. I’m tired of fangirl’s “It’s not oppa’s fault”

      • It is still a choice. Common sense should prevail, when i buy a product or stay in a hotel or buy an airline ticket. I make sure that I read reviews about the product and service before buying because at the end of the day. IT IS MY DECISION and my money so I have to make sure that I am happy. If your willing to pork out the money and waste nearly two hours of your time, it is still your choice. There are a lot of ways to hang around with friends which are more fun that watching a movie you hate. Most people watch movies to be entertained and if they are not, they are free to walk out and buy more popcorn and watch people walking the street. You should try it, it is free and you will be amaze how much you learn by just observing people. It is far better than sitting in a cinema watching an allegedly crap movie. Let us also not forget that South Korea is a country that has a fandom and a lot of them watch because they want to look at their idols (or oppa as you mentioned) and for them that is entertainment. They don’t watch so they can critique a film. To each his own and at the end of the day “It is still a choice”, no matter how you put it. Don’t make excuses that the reason people watch it because they have no other form of entertainment. I have been to South Korea and they have far more entertainment there than anywhere I have been. Like Japanese they love life, they can drink all night and still manage to go to work the next day. To go anywhere is not a problem as they have one of the best public transport in the world. Shops , restaurants, karaokes, bar and night markets open every day. So then give me the excuse of no choice. In a free country, everybody has a choice. Even criminals have a choice that is democracy.

      • @Donagail it’s summer- movie season for god sake. They have a choice of watch or no watch, NOT what to watch…
        If this make you feel better. It doesn’t make the controversy any better in Korea.
        And yes they choose Taxi over this as soon as they have a choice.

    • I agree no option to watch is a lame excuse. Every Friday 1 or 2 movie are released in my country but at the end of the day it’s my choice to watch the movie or not.

      • I suppose its also bcs the movie was hyped pretty positively pre release. The tremendously high viewer number was only on Day 1. So i guess many people were anticipating the movie too. Plus its supposed to be a patriotic, nationalistic themed movie. I heard the movie kinda distorted history, many people on twitter are asking to take it down and they linked clips from infinity challenge during the episode when they went to utoro village to visit korean people who were forced to move to japan and become slaves i think, to prove how wrong the movie is..

  3. unfortunately the movie will only available in my country on august 2017 so i won’t be able to see this movie as soon as possible to see the bad review. at times their review doesn’t always goes along with me. but at least they are reasonable.

  4. Please tell me that Koreans are not just realizing that the movie industry is a business Dog eats Dog world. Of course they are going to use every trick they can to earn back their production cost.
    This is the dumbest controversy/scandal in the entire world. Production companies pay money to reserve their movie showings so it’s not like CJ is getting it for free.
    How about you stay home save your money or watch live theater or musicals, go on a hike, take your family on a day trip.

    Unless someone’s life is in danger there is always going to be a choice.

    • This is a case of #FirstWorldProblem hehe. I have money I want to spend but CJ took away most of my options to spend the money on and since I absolutely need to spend it, I guess I’ll watch the movie that I really don’t want to see.

    • i agree with you. This kind of tri ck is pratically pretty common in my country too especially with big budget production. why it’s a big deal though?

  5. Should be 2000 screens, not showings. One screen shows multiple showings a day, so with 2000+ screens, the number of showings is 10,000+ per day.

    It is fairly affordable to watch movies in Korea, 6000-11000 won (~$5-10 USD)depending on time and seat and the air conditioned theatres are good way to escape the summer heat. Sometimes people will go the theatre with no particular movie in mind and will watch any blockbuster showing. Sometimes they will go with a movie in mind but if there are no showings, will watch the next available movie. Despite all the criticism, BI is still garnering respectable number of viewers.

    • It’s indeed true. Asia is not like in the west. When I’m in Asia, one of the entertainment activity we go with friends or with bf/gf is to go watch movies. But when I’m in Europe, I can count by just 1 hand how many times I went to the cinema within 5 years. So, that’s totally different. To me, arguement about don’t go and watch and just stay in home..is not valid

      • So at the end of the day you mad the choice to spend your money on the movie no one forced you to watch it. You can’t go on a walk or have dinner or go bowling instead?

        It’s not CJ’s fault you ended up watching a movie knowing it had bad reviews.

  6. personally the argument that cj has taken all the screens is a non starter for me.if you dont want to watch BI,simply ignore it.

    i also do not understand the hulabaloo by audience on the fact that the director dare to rewrite history in the finale portion of the film by letting the captured forced workers breaks prison when the director prior to the release of the film has time and again said he took creative license to give a happy ending to the many victims of forced labor when the real victims worked until death.i totally understand and accept the idea of the director.

    i am sad that friday BI admission is more or less like thursday admission when its a must for the film to increase to seven hundred thousand admission to have any chance of hitting ten million final viewers admission,which is now impossible with song kang ho a taxi driver coming to cinemas next week.

    the goal now is for the film to hit 7 million admissions which is feasible for now and i really want the film to survive so that they get their money back to make more films thus giving employment and also to give song joon ki a perfect wedding gift.fingers crossed.

  7. This situation took place in America about 50 years, when the government brought a lawsuit against Paramount and others to break up the monopoly. The monopoly was since broken and it worked to the benefit of the movie industry. The problem was that big conglomerates are both key distributors as well as owners of movie theatres. So they have an unfair advantage/monopoly on promoting their own movies and killing variety and competition. The Korean legislators brought up a similar bill against movie industry monopoly when they were in opposition, so this is partly why public opinion is now heated, to push through the legislation I guess.

  8. I agree monopoly distribution is wrong. Though in my country movie with star studded cast will garner most screen but in south Korea rules are different. It’s unfair to other movie but controversy regarding distorting history is ridiculous for me. Netizen are pissed for distorting history. None of the Movie based on real incident are 100% factual or close to reality. Director did his best with the finale. I read in reality Korean were left to die, but in finale victims escape. Director himself said through his research Koreans escape but not in a large scale shown in the movie. Obviously it’s a movie so everything will be shown in overtop way.

  9. CJ ent monopoly is like a poison and kills all creativity and potential in films. Thank goodness that movie audience has zero patience for shit movies and crappy acting. All this mediaplay won’t work if the product is not good, at least it won’t get critical acclaim.

    • See, you choose to make that statement based on what you hear. It is not your own because it’s very obvious you have not watch the movie. Well, i choose not to believe anyone until I have seen it myself. We all have different taste and life will be so boring if we are all the same. As I always tell my teenage daughter, never let anyone persuade you. Observe, gather the facts, be aware of the consequences then make your own opinion without the influence of others. Anyways, Our whole family will be watching it to see some of its historical content and I am sure as a family we will also have differing opinions as always but those opinions are our own and not others.

      • I didn’t say if BI is bad or good nor did I say anything about SJS or SJK’s acting. I simply stated that conglomerate or government monopolies kill all the diversity and creativity in art. As simple as that.

    • I’m pretty much agree though this kind of trick is really killing the competition of other production. It’s unfair to any creative producer it’s make it hard to make audience watch each of their own movie. That’s the power of their marketing. But this problem is pretty much not only in korea but my country as well. And moreover, I heard a recent news which stated BI only showed around 56 % cinema in korea . Well I don’t know which news is the correct one.

      But Is this movie that bad? I”m still hold my perception it might be the audience expecting something masterpieces, but it turn out dissapoint that it’s not.

  10. Ah, people defending a conglomerate enforcing a commercial monopoly. I think Marx and Engels had a passage about false consciousness somewhere in their oeuvre! 🙂

  11. @chocopie yes the hype for the movie was very strong. I was genuinely shocked to see negative reviews for the movie. But still movie is doing well at the box office. Saturday collection are higher than opening day. Despite the controversy viewers are eager to watch the movie. Movie is critical flop but commercially it is success. It will cross it breaks point soon.

  12. I think somebody said it before, but tbh from what I’ve heard one of the most common thing people in East Asia do when they hang out is to go watch a movie. It’s an easy option because we won’t have to stand around deciding where to go. Monopolising the showings is unfair because having to many timeslots makes it convenient for large groups of moviegoers. Nobody wants to wait so they might just pick BI cos they have the earliest slot, even with dubious review

  13. Arguing about freedom of choice is laughable when you aren’t even given any options to begin with. CJ and Lotte controlling the movie industry has been an issue for so long. I hope the government does something about this (and all the other industries they have a hold over). The criticisms sound valid and have reasoning (it’s not just blind hate of your oppas). Also, CJ is at fault for monopolizing, but Battleship Island is the benefactor and will undoubtedly be under intense scrutiny.

  14. monopoly screen is real because when you are in the theater and your preferred movie no longer has ticket and then you have to wait the next 5 hours since they have limited screen, you just watch whatever available which is the hyped movie.

    Then we have movie like Okja whos is struggling cause there is monopoly when people reallye want to watch it.

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