Ha Jung-woo, Ha Ji-won Voted Most Popular Movie Stars

      May 21, 2012 13:28

      Ha Jung-woo (left) and Ha Ji-won

      Ha Jung-woo and Ha Ji-won have been voted the most popular actor and actress in Korea in an e-mail poll by the Chosun Ilbo and the nation's largest film ticketing site Maxmovie.

      Some 25,784 people voted from April 18 to May 5. The two drew 10.1 and 13.7 percent of the votes respectively. But Song Kang-ho and Jeon Do-yeon were chosen as the best -- as opposed to most popular -- actor and actress, with 18 and 23.3 percent.

      Since the poll targeted online users of Maxmovie who had been to the cinema at least once last year, it probably reflects moviegoers' preferences more accurately than other surveys.

      ◆ Popularity vs. Acting Skills

      Comparison with a similar survey in April last year reveals that people prefer actors with both acting skills and popular appeal. Ha Jung-woo soared from eighth place in the popularity list in 2011 to the top this year after he appeared in a series of recent hit movies including "The Client," "Love Fiction," and "Nameless Gangster."

      New entrants on the list are Park Hae-il (fourth with 8.7 percent), Kim Yoon-seok (sixth with 4 percent), and Choi Min-sik (eighth with 3.6 percent). All the three impressed moviegoers with their acting skills in box office hits such as "Arrow - The Ultimate Weapon," "Punch," or "Nameless Gangster."

      In contrast, Won Bin and Kang Dong-won, who ranked first and third respectively last year, fell to fifth and ninth place since they have not appeared in any films released this year. Jang Dong-gun and Lee Byung-hun did not make the list although they took the No. 6 and 10 spots last year.

      Nine of the 10 most popular actors were also on the list of the most skilled actors, with the exception of Kang Dong-won in the former and Sol Kyung-gu in the latter.

      But among actresses, only six found their names on both of the lists. Moon So-ri (fifth with 6.1 percent), Yoon Yeo-jeong (sixth with 3.8 percent), Kim Hye-ja (ninth with 2.5 percent) and Kim Yun-jin (10th with 2.5 percent) were voted as having good acting skills but not on the popularity list, suggesting that the popularity of actresses has less correlation with their acting skills than their male counterparts.

      Among directors, Bong Joon-ho was picked as the best with 19.8 percent. Im Kwon-taek slipped from the top last year to third place with 9.22 percent. Kang Woo-suk and Kang Je-gyu, star directors in the 1990s and the early 2000s, ranked in the top 10 but were outperformed by Bong and Park Chan-wook (second place with 9.68 percent), who are becoming well known overseas.

      Kang Je-gyu saw his ranking fall from third in 2011 to sixth (3.84 percent) this year after his film "My Way" tanked. Kang Woo-suk managed to hold on to fourth place but he garnered a mere 5.72 percent, down from last year's 14.1 percent.

      This year's top 10 list has the same names on it as last year's, with the exception of Byun Young-joo (eighth with 3.50 percent), but the order changed. "Once established, directors' recognition appears to last longer than actors," Maxmovie analyzed.

      ◆ Theater Attendance

      When asked about their favorite ways of watching films, 82.5 percent said going to movie theaters, up from last year's 66.1 percent. Next came downloading movies on the Internet at 8.1 percent, down from 27.7 percent last year. A glut of 3D movies seems to attract people to cinemas.

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