November 12, 2015 13:06
U.S. video-streaming provider Netflix will invest US$50 million in director Bong Joon-ho's next film, to be called "Okja." Production company Okja SPC said Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment is co-producing the movie.
Netflix, which will become available in Korea next year, has 69 million subscribers around the world and offers movies on a monthly fee basis.
The company also put money into the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel, "War Machine," and "Beasts of No Nation," and is increasingly producing its own content, like the hit series "House of Cards."
Some industry insiders have welcomed the news. "The monopoly of a handful of theater operators is getting worse, as the success of films is often decided by theaters which select certain films for release," said Shim Jae-myung of Myung Films.
"Netflix's investment and foray into Korea could trigger changes and offer more opportunities," giving moviegoers a wider choice. An executive at a big film distributor expressed alarm. "The movie industry will be hit hard if movies are offered in streaming format at the same time as opening in the cinemas." But the producers of the film say Netflix has no such plan and the movie will be released in theaters first.
"Okja" will be a fantasy targeting the young adult market and have an even bigger budget than Bong's previous hit "Snowpiercer," which brought together an impressive cast and spectacular special effects.
Tilda Swinton is on board again after her "Snowpiercer" role and will be joined by Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Kelly MacDonald and Bill Nighy. Auditions are under way for the starring part.
Filming will begin next year.
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