[ENTERTAINMENT]No signs of resurrecting this record-setting dud

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[ENTERTAINMENT]No signs of resurrecting this record-setting dud

Money may make the world go round, but, as the Beatles taught long ago, it doesn't buy you any love.

Case in point, the recently released film "Seongnyangpali Soneo-ui Jaerim" (Resurrection of the Little Match Girl). With its record-setting budget of 11 billion won (about $9 million), the film was an ambitious science-fiction project by Jang Sun-woo. The director was better known for his odd, arthouse films, for example, "Geojitmal" (Lies), about the sadomasochistic relationship between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl. Mr. Jang seemed like a strange choice for a sci-fi extravaganza, but he was adamant.

"Match Girl" made its debut on Sept. 13, filling more than 100 screens. The results were decidedly unimpressive. Only about two weeks have passed, and the film is already down to just two screens in Seoul and four outside of Seoul. It's pulled in a scant 140,000 viewers nationwide. Kim Bong-seok, a movie critic, panned the film, saying "Jang Sun-woo, the party's over."

According to one anonymous person at the film's production company, Tube Entertainment, those who invested are in big trouble. To break even, "Match Girl" needed at least 2.5 million viewers.

It's part of a general trend in the local film market -- while Korean films are raking in more money than ever, it's largely on the strength of modest melodramas and comedies. Many big-budget action films, such as "R. U. Ready" and "Yesterday," have tanked badly.

But if Mr. Jang is bothered by the record-dud, he shows no sign. Having received inspiration for the film from a Buddhist sutra, he once justified the giant budget of "Match Girl" by saying, "I humbly believe that the investors will be blessed for making alms."

by Chun Su-jin

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