CJ launches direct distribution in Vietnam
By Patrick Frater
Thu, 13 October 2011, 06:36 AM (HKT)
Released last week (7 Oct), motor bike action comedy Quick 퀵 (2011) (pictured) was the first title to be handled under the new arrangement.
It ranked second in the box office behind the re-issued Lion King and ahead of Abduction. Its approximate $40,000 first weekend gross gave Quick a 17% market share. Lion King claimed 22%.
The move follows the acquisition earlier this year of Vietnam's leading cinema chain MegaStar Cineplex in a $74 million deal by CGV, another CJ E&M group company that is Korea's largest theatre chain.
Megastar also distributes selected imported movies and will release Korean titles on behalf of CJ. The two CJ E&M units will sign a master agreement allowing CJ to slot in titles for direct distribution when it suits the company not to license them to third parties.
Rights selling to Vietnam is a thin and uncertain market as the country has very few distributors and audience tastes are concentrated on a limited number of genres compared with more developed markets.
"We had a hard time selling to Vietnam as there are not many buyers. That meant we had to take minimum bids every time we received them," said one CJ source. "Direct distribution therefore offers much more upside."
Romantic comedies and action films seem prime candidates for the new arrangement.
CJ currently handles its own theatrical releases in North America under CJ CGV America Holdings Inc, in Japan through CJ Entertainment Japan ＣＪエンタテインメント・ジャパン (a joint venture with distributor and exhibitor T-Joy Co Ltd ティ・ジョイ) and in China through a venture with business partner Bona Film Group Ltd 博納影業集團有限公司. Its year end blockbuster My Way 마이 웨이 (2011) will be handled by CJ America with Well Go USA Inc then picking up home entertainment and TV rights.
CJ is also the largest distributor in South Korea, where it handles a slate that includes its own titles, plus those of Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Animation and occasional imported acquisition titles, such as the Aung Sang Suu Kyi biopic The Lady (2011) acquired from EuropaCorp.
In the first nine months of this year CJ's 35 releases grossed a combined ￦333 trillion ($284 million) for a 36% share of the Korean distribution market.
Bitty biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi is too much hagiography, too little big-screen drama.
| 마이 웨이
Unengaging, nationalist war epic, devoid of genuine emotion or real characters.
Slickly packaged, motorbike action movie that's fast, furious and (thankfully) funny.
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