On May 6, YG Entertainment welcomed Hollywood celebrities Will Smith and Jaden Smith at their headquarters. They just came from Taipei, Taiwan where they held their promotions for their movie After Earth.
The news of the Smiths’ arrival in Korea is not new but updates from fans spread like wildfire all over Twitter and photo-sharing sites about their visit to the YG building, which was later confirmed through photos by CL of 2NE1 and one of YG producers who goes by the name Choice.
The Smiths are scheduled to meet with Jay Park on the red carpet event for the movie who sang a self-written song for After Earth’s official soundtrack as requested personally by Will Smith.
They are also to appear in a collaboration project of General Idea, owned by Korean Bumsuk Choi and MSFTSrep (Misfits Republic) established by Jaden Smith in 2010. The event details can be found in the Seoulcialite website.
Film is a reflection of the culture that produces it and recently, there appears to be a trend surrounding K-pop idols and the Korean movie industry. More idols are being tapped by directors, both commercial and indie to star in their films, but is this emerging trend really a good thing?
According to Rex Baylon, writer for Modern Korean Cinema, the answer to that is-not necessarily. While this trend seems inevitable given the rising influence of K-pop and its stars, he argues that these stars don’t always have the acting chops that many previous stars had when they were tapped for roles. Why? Put simply, they don’t have the background in theater and screen that many previous crops had. Instead of spending several years tarrying in supporting roles and building their acting skills, K-pop idols are being given bigger and more recognizable roles right out of the gate.
He makes a good point when he states, “[a]lso, due to those earlier actors having worked for so long in the industry, they were far more mature in age and also boasted more unique physical characteristics. The new crop of stars eschew this and though all of them are attractive, a cinephile would be hard-pressed to tell one pretty boy from the next.”
I find it interesting that he makes a point to zero in on, what is to him, a loss in the variety of looks in films. It brings to mind the discussion of plastic surgery in idols that we had here and here. Obviously, there are numerous elements at work in the decision making of who gets what roles but it is in no small part that these idols are filling a growing need that filmmakers are wanting to cash in on.
Films are generally a very visual media, in which the stories told are meant to visually satisfy the viewers, to allow them to set aside their immediate troubles and become voyeurs for a fragment of their day. Where else do you willingly go into a closed room and sit for a couple of hours in the dark with strangers? It’s a shared experience that is unique to our modern time.
Do I sound like a purist? I am. Films hold a special place in my heart and while I understand the current trend, I’m pessimistic about the motives behind it. I fear that the management companies which these idols work for, are forcing them to take on greater responsibilities, and while it’s certainly not unheard of for an artist to work in multiple fields at once, surely this spreading of their talent weakens their ability to be really good in one specific area. However ultimately, I believe the blame lies with directors who are looking to cash in on large box office tallies, while overlooking the fact that some idols do just need more time to develop their acting skills.
For directors, it’s a win-win situation. What better way to stimulate moviegoers than to bring in their favorite singers and place them into roles that make their fans salivate to see them? Economically speaking, by bringing in the idols with large built-in fan bases, it automatically means more butts in the seat. Recently, there has been a rash of films starring and/or featuring idols: R2B:Return to Base featuring Rain, Code Name: Jackal with Kim JaeJoong, Architecture 101 with Bae Suzy and, coming in 2013, Alumni with T.O.P.
South Korean films have always had to deal with competition from foreign films because of the Motion Picture Law that has controlled both domestic and foreign film theater distribution. This law has changed several times since it was first enacted in the 1960’s, but direct competition from Hollywood fully blossomed in 1986 when it was allowed to distribute directly to theaters, and again in 2006 when the number of days allowed specifically for domestic films diminished from 146 to 73 days.
Given this type of atmosphere, one can understand the reasoning behind the increased use of K-pop stars to strengthen the appeal of domestic films, and it certainly seems to be working. Domestic box office receipts show that Korean moviegoers flocked to Korean films in 2011 by an increase of 22% from the previous year. There was an increase for the first time in five years since the halving of days for domestic screen quota occurred in 2006. Korean films have also seen a rise in domestic exports with an 11% increase in 2011 over 2010 in the buying of overseas rights.
Can this increase of domestic box office revenue be completely attributed to the rise of K-pop idols working in films today? That’s hard to say. There are currently no real statistics to show the affect of idols working in the industry, but given that more are being tapped to work, there is certainly a good indication that they are, at the very least, providing more exposure to the films they work on.
Personally, I believe that this trend reflects the increasing popularity of K-pop both domestically and abroad. Distributors are very sensitive to the current market trends and, believe me, they have noted the increase call for K-pop world-wide. They will have also noticed the image these idols have marketed themselves, as and if a market demands a certain actor over another, it will be taken into account. But as a cinephile myself, I worry that if the immediate concern of money over content increases, it will water the product down. In other words, directors will produce films that are not right for the idols to cast them in, and because of the weak product; the idols will suffer most, with losses of product endorsements and future film roles, finally destroying their careers slowly.
What do you think? Have you noticed an increase of idols in films? Do you think this trend is good or bad for both the idols and the film industry? Or do you think making film is ultimately still a business without the need to consider the idols’ suitability in the industry?
Let us know in the comments below!
Recently, a statistical organization about Kpop in Germany, K-Pop Statistics Germany, has created a poll in seven different categories: top 25 boy groups, top 25 girl groups, top 10 male singers, top 10 female singers, top 10 hip hop artists, top 10 indie artists, and top 10 Kpop entertainments.
About 2,065 Kpop fans from Germany participated in the polls, with 96,1% correspondents are female and 42,35% of the age range from 15 until 17. Most of the correspondents have started to listen Kpop since 2008-2011.
The result has been announced continuously from April 1 until April 5.
The first place of top 25 boy group category goes to Big Bang with a total 38.12% votes, followed by B.A.P. on the second place with 31.45% votes and Super Junior on the third with 30.99%.
For the next category, 2NE1 ranked first for top 25 girl groups category with 54.83% votes followed by Girls’ Generation with 47.73% and SISTAR with 28.35%.
Big Bang’s G-Dragon secured the first spot for the top 10 male singer category. K.Will became the second with 14.20% and JYJ’s Kim Jaejoong seized the third spot with 13.08%
The best female singer goes to Ailee with a total 41.51%, beating BoA and Hyuna on the top 10 female singers category.
Epik High saved their first spot for the best 10 hip hop artist category. The trio won against Jay Park who ranked second and G-Dragon who ranked third.
Nell won against Busker Busker and 10cm for the top 10 indie artists category with a total 40% votes.
The last category is top 10 Kpop entertainments and the first place goes to YG Entertainment with 68.68% votes. S.M. Entertainment ranked second while Cube Entertainment ranked third.
Congratulations to all the winners who made the lists!
BIGBANG is nominated in MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2013 for ‘Best Dance Video’ with FANTASTIC BABY -Ver. Final-, directed by Hyun Seung Seo.
The five-member group, consisting of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Daesung, Taeyang and Seungri, will face the following nominees:
- group_inou “9” (Directed: Ryu Okubo)
- livetune adding Megumi Nakajima “Transfer” (Directed: fantasista utamaro × Kazuma Ikeda)
- SKRILLEX “Bangarang” (Directed: Tony T. Datis)
- ZEDD “Spectrum feat. MATTHEW KOMA” (Directed: Petro)
Watch BIGBANG’s Fantastic Baby –Ver. Final here:
MTV Japan’s annual biggest music event, MTV VMAJ 2013, is set to take place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture on Saturday, June 22. The show will premiere on MTV Japan on Sunday, June 23 at 8PM (Tokyo), and will air across MTV’s global network including MTV Asia, with details to be announced later.
Voting for all categories is now available at MTV Japan’s official Facebook page until 5pm on June 11/Tokyo time (in Japanese only).
“MTV Video Music Awards Japan” debuted in 2002 as one of the biggest music event in Japan. Paying tribute to the art of music video, the show will award both Japanese and international artists selected by audiences based on artistic and technical excellence. Hosted by the first combination of Japanese powerhouse actor Nobuaki Kaneko and actress Atsuko Maeda, MTV VMAJ 2013 will be broadcast worldwide on MTV channels, with potential viewership expected to reach over half-billion households.
Pr: MTV Japan
Video, image: (1)
In acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day, Fuse unveiled an article entitled Be My Valentine: 30 Artists That Make Our Hearts Pound. The website lists an photo along with a short blurb for each individual artist. Three of the thirty celebrities featured so happen to be South Korean-based artists.
The first Korean artist to make its appearance on the list is Girls’ Generation‘s Tiffany. The singer is the sixth artist on the list and Fuse decided to feature the image of Tiffany from the Burberry Fashion Show in London hosted last March. The blurb next to her picture reads:
“A lot of the world might think YoonA is the most lovable member of Girls’ Generation and we couldn’t be happier – less people we’ll have to fight for Tiffany!”
Another Korean idol, who is the thirteenth feature, is none other than BIGBANG‘s leader G-Dragon. The photo displays a performing G-Dragon wearing a white blazer and white shirt while sporting gelled pink hair and large accessories. Along with the image, Fuse says:
“His hair is ready for Valentine’s and our heart is ready for love! Come on Cupid, don’t let us down!”
In addition to G-Dragon, group member T.O.P also made it onto the list and is the twenty-fourth feature. He is seen wearing a similar white blazer and white shirt while sporting sunglasses, a gelled back hairstyle, and over-sized accessories. Fuse reveals that one of the reasons why T.O.P is on the list is because of his deep voice. The blurb reads:
He’s at the TOP of our list for many reasons. Reason #1, his deep sexy voice! And let’s get real, his face isn’t so bad either!”
Sources: (News & Photos) – fuse