Director Choi Dong-hun (ANN/The Korea Herald/Park Hae-mook)
Director Choi Dong-hun’s star-studded film “The Thieves” has been a sensation since its opening in local theaters last month. Now, Choi’s biggest commercial hit ― the sixth domestic film to top 10 million viewers in Korean movie history at 10,095,387 viewers in 22 days ― is going overseas, slated to open in theaters in Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia next month. It will also be released in Singapore and Malaysia later this year.
The film, featuring top stars including Kim Hye-soo, Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun and Hong Kong-based actor Simon Yam, topped the local box office chart on its opening day, beating Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“The Thieves” is Choi’s fourth feature-length film, and features a group of 10 professional thieves who get together to steal a diamond worth $20 million in Macau. The film has been recognized for its character development and engaging plot, as well as stunts and wire action.
All three of Choi’s previous works ― “The Big Swindle” (2004) “Tazza: The High Rollers” (2006) “Jeon Woo Chi” (2009) ― also did well in the box office, giving him the reputation of one of the most commercially successful writer-directors today. The Korean Academy of Film Arts graduate and former assistant director to “The Taste of Money” and “The Housemaid” auteur Im Sang-soo has been crafting his own brand of crime and heist thrillers over the years.
Actress Kim Hye-soo, who starred in “The Thieves” as well as Choi’s 2006 flick “Tazza: The High Rollers,” described him as “a genius who also works extremely hard.”
“When I first read the script of the movie, I was just in awe,” she told The Korea Herald last month. “It was a product of great effort, genius ideas and a detail-oriented, calculative mind. I think he knows who he is, the exact kind of films that he wants to make, and how to make them. ‘The Thieves’ proves it.”
“The Thieves” has also been invited to the 37th Toronto International Festival’s “Contemporary World Cinema.” The non-competitive film festival kicks off on Sept. 6 in Toronto, Canada.