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Beloved hit films ‘Totoro’ and ‘Kiki’ are coming back to local theaters

June 06,2019
Animated film lovers should get ready to buy tickets at their nearest theater, because the Studio Ghibli classic “My Neighbor Totoro” is being released again today and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” will hit screens on June 26.

Beloved by audiences young and old, local moviegoers were immediately excited when local movie theater chain CGV announced the release dates of the films. The theater chain’s 1+1 ticket reservation promotion for “My Neighbor Totoro” caused tickets to sell out within an hour.

Celebrities such as actors Jung Eun-chae, Jung Ha-dam and even the cast of the film “0.0HMZ” posted pictures of themselves smiling and holding plush Totoro characters. Hand-drawn pictures of Totoro by children have been put up on displayed at some CGV branches as local fans show off their anticipation for the film to be released again. A preview clip for “Kiki’s Delivery Service” posted by the theater chain attracted over 9,000 comments. Viewers said that “Kiki is a must! I’m definitely going to see it again on theaters,” or “[Kiki] is in my top five Japanese films!”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” To celebrate, its film distribution company Smile Entertainment is releasing the film so that viewers can reminisce about the feelings of excitement when they first saw the 13-year-old witch Kiki embark on a journey on her broomstick.

Both films, directed by the renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, have been digitally remastered, upgrading their sound and image quality. Subtitle services and Korean-dubbed versions will be released simultaneously alongside the original film.

Recently, local cinemas have been rereleasing all-time favorites to the delight of movie fans, such as romantic comedy “Notting Hill” (1999), “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) and “Her” (2014). The two latter films were showered with compliments from film critics when they first premiered, both locally and from international audiences, and both have 95 percent fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yet rereleases of popular films are not a new concept in the Korean film industry. According to annual reports provided by the Korean Film Council, the number of films being released again are on the rise. In 2015, 45 films were shown again in theaters.

By 2017, a total of 87 films were rereleased. There are even cases in which the sales of tickets for a rerelease outperformed its original ticket sales.

For instance, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004), which returned to theaters in 2015 drew over 310,000 moviegoers. When it was first released in local theaters in 2005, the film sold only about 170,000 tickets.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]