93% of South Korea’s big screens nix ‘Okja’
Critically acclaimed Netflix vehicle Okja ain’t getting no love from cinemas in director Bong Joon-ho’s native South Korea. The movie is being blocked by the country’s three largest cinema chains, all because Netflix plans to release the movie concurrently on big and small screens.
Variety reported the film won’t be playing on 93% of South Korean cinema screens. Cinema chain CJ CGV says that the simultaneous release would disturb South Korea’s distribution chain, with a “three-week delay” being an important facet of their cinematic ecosystem. Effectively, South Korean audience members will miss out on seeing the Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton-fronted action movie in theaters.
Netflix is no stranger to controversy surrounding its distribution chain, a hot topic at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with major U.S. cinema chains blocking both Beasts of No Nation and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny previously for similar reasons.
Netflix’s critical clout and rising movie ticket prices mean this controversy won’t be settled anytime soon. Perhaps it’s high time for cinema chains to adapt their policies to the 21st century, lest they follow VHS and Blockbuster Video to the silver dustbin of filmic history.