Is Nudity Still a Box-Office Draw?

      November 09, 2012 13:45

      Testing the legal limits of screen nudity can often be an effective way to publicize a new film, and getting a star to show as much skin as possible is a shortcut to wide media coverage. But increasingly there are signs that such marketing strategies no longer guarantee success.

      Evidence to the contrary might be provided by a look at the box office performance of movies released this year that drew a lot of attention for nudity. "A Muse," which drew attention for nude scenes by rookie Kim Go-eun, managed to pull 1.35 million moviegoers. "The Scent," starring Park Si-yeon, drew 1.25 million viewers, while "The Concubine" starring Jo Yeo-jeong attracted 2.64 million.

      "The Taste of Money," which was invited to this year's Cannes Film Festival, drew 1.17 million viewers, and "House with a Good View," the debut film of comedienne Kwak Hyun-hwa, drew just 1,500.

      With the exception of "A House with a Good View," all of the racy films attracted more than a million viewers, and "The Concubine" more than 2.5 million. They were not box-office sensations but fared pretty well. But film critics say it was not nudity that made them successful.

      In "The Concubine," Jo took another shot at a racy role following her 2010 movie "The Servant," which drew 3 million viewers. But the film garnered rave reviews not for nudity but for its depiction of human greed and ambition with a well-knit storyline.

      "Marketing a movie by getting actresses to bare more skin can create some hype, but that alone doesn't guarantee a film's success," said one movie industry insider. "Ultimately, the key factors are whether a movie is interesting and how well it is made."

      Although nudity may play some role in a movie's box office success, that does not always mean viewers will choose to watch it, he added.

      This year's popular films by and large drew moviegoers based on their plots rather than nudity as in films like "Architecture 101" released in March, "The Thieves" in July, "The Grand Heist" in August and "Masquerade" in September.

      "A growing number of moviegoers are bored with nudity as a gimmick to market films," said another industry insider. "They've started to feel put off by such tactics. Fundamentally, a movie must be well crafted. Filmmakers can't afford to overlook the truly important elements of a film in order to draw the attention of viewers."

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