While controversy has been brewing in France over the inclusion of Netflix titles Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories on the Cannes Film Festival competition roster, the streaming service and Okja helmer Bong Joon-ho revealed that film’s Korean theatrical release date at an event in Seoul on Monday. The movie has been slated for a June 29 release locally as it hits the streaming service in 190 countries on June 28. It will also have theatrical runs in the U.S. and UK.
According to the Yonhap news agency, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, told reporters the company is “very proud to partner” with distributor Next Entertainment World “to also give Korean viewers an opportunity to see the film in theaters at the same time.”
NEW chief Kim Woo-taek said the movie will have an open run. “We reached this conclusion after many discussions to distribute Okja in Korea in the most efficient way.”
Sarandos, per The Korea Herlad, added, “Distribution is something that will be argued for many years, because innovation is difficult.”
The French film industry has been up in arms over the fact that the two films will not be getting theatrical releases locally. Cannes last week responded to the furor by saying that from 2018 on, all films wishing to compete will have to commit to a French theatrical release.
Bong, also per The Korea Herald, said he doubts streaming services will replace theaters. “This incident is just a process of finding out the best way for them to co-exist. There are many ways we enjoy movies. They said that movies would become obsolete after TV came out, but they still co-exist.”
The sci-fi Okja stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, An Seo-hyun, Byun Hee-bong, Choi Woo-shik and Yoon Je-moon. It tells the story of a young girl who risks everything to prevent a multinational company from kidnapping her best friend — a massive animal named Okja.
Bong said he couldn’t speak about specifics regarding the film but noted, “We all have our own perspective toward animals. Some view them as friends or family; others view them as something to eat. We hug them, talk to them and love them. The movie will give us a chance to think about the relationship between animals and humans. It will show the most beautiful aspect, along with the most hideous ones.”
He added, “I’m proud to say that I’ve made a beautiful film, and I can’t wait to share it so that I can talk about it.”