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Homegrown action film ‘Escape from Mogadishu’ sells more than 3m tickets

Aug. 30, 2021 - 10:17 By Song Seung-hyun
A scene from “Escape from Mogadishu” directed by Ryoo Seung-wan (Lotte Entertainment)
“Escape from Mogadishu” directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, which was released on July 28, has sold more than 3 million tickets, according to film distributor Lotte Entertainment Sunday.

The action film overtook Marvel Studios’ superhero movie “Black Widow,” which sold over 2.95 million tickets, to be the most-watched film of 2021.

The release of “Escape from Mogadishu” was possible with support from the Korean Theater Association, which includes among its members the top three multiplex operators: CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox.

Earlier in June, the association decided to forgo ticket proceeds until sales reached 50 percent of the total production costs of Ryoo’s new movie. Theaters and film distributors usually split ticket sales 50-50. The support was a way to encourage local film distributors to release movies amid COVID-19.

“Escape From Mogadishu” cost around 25 billion won ($21.82 million) to make. The film was estimated break even when it sold more than 3 million tickets.

Ryoo’s movie is based on a true event. Set in Somalia in 1991 -- when both Koreas were vying for membership of the United Nations and each sought to prevent the other’s inclusion -- the movie begins with scenes between South Korean Ambassador to Somalia Han Shin-sung (Kim Yoon-seok) and Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), a spy with the Agency for National Security Planning. The two are discussing how to prevent the North Korean ambassador (Heo Jun-ho) from establishing a stronger relationship with the Somali government. But then civil war breaks out in Somalia and both South and North Korean diplomats are put into a situation where they have to cooperate to escape the country together.
A scene from “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” directed by Pil Gam-seong (New)

Meanwhile, veteran actor Hwang Jung-min’s new thriller “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” which was released on Aug. 18, also sold more than 1 million tickets as of Saturday.

Director Pil Gam-seong’s debut feature “Hostage: Missing Celebrity,” revolves around the actor famous actor Hwang Jung-min (played by Hwang), who is kidnapped in Seoul. At first, Hwang thinks it is a prank but he soon realizes the situation is serious as he encounters the kidnappers, who demand a huge ransom within 24 hours.