0th Century Fox Korea on Friday announced that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will open in South Korean theaters on July 10 instead of on July 16, igniting vehement protest among local cineastes. The last-minute change will most likely affect the number of screens that would have been allotted to smaller movies released that week, filmmakers say.
Shortly after the announcement, local distributors and filmmakers immediately voiced concern, and the Korea Film Producers Association filed an official complaint regarding the matter.
“This abrupt change in the release date for such a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster goes against film business ethics. This gives way to not only chaos in the basic order of the film market but also great damage for others,” the association said in a statement. “We urge that the film’s distributor 20th Century Fox Korea immediately cancels this unconventional release and help lead the way for a healthy film distribution market,” the statement added. The film’s early release is expected to affect the box office scores for a number of films including that of local actioner The Divine Move¸ which had strategically hit cinemas two weeks ahead of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and a week after Transformers: Age of Extinction — and is currently topping the latter to take No. 1 spot for the third consecutive day.
“I was shocked to hear of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ early release date, and I and many colleagues are extremely upset. This will affect the distribution channel for a number of films and will also deprive moviegoers of the opportunity to choose from a variety of titles,” Edward Chang-eon Lee, head of Main Title Pictures, told Yonhap News. Lee is currently promoting the release of Sabotage slated for July 10, the same day as Dawn of Planet of the Apes. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox Korea said it decided to pull up the debut date as it was approved by the Korea Media Rating Board earlier than expected. In 2011, the first film in the franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was Korea’s 15th-highest-grossing title of the year, grossing $20.46 million or 2.773 million admissions. –