Academy Awards also deliver a victory to film’s investors

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Academy Awards also deliver a victory to film’s investors

Barunson E&A, the production company behind the film “Parasite,” saw its stock prices spike for two straight sessions following the film’s historic wins at the Academy Awards Sunday.

For the first time in the country’s cinematic history, the Korean film took home the Oscar for Best Picture. In a telling moment, Kwak Shin-ae, the film’s producer and CEO of Barunson E&A, was among those who took the mic on the Academy Awards stage following the movie’s big win.

“We never imagined this to ever happen. We are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now,” Kwak said during her speech.

As if her words were a calling to the stock market, shares of Barunson E&A spiked.

As of Tuesday, share prices had risen close to the market limit, soaring 23.9 percent, or 570 won ($0.48) per share, in the Kosdaq market, closing at 2,955 won.

The production company’s shares fluctuated greatly throughout the award ceremony on Monday, from 1,835 won at its lowest to 2,575 won at its highest.

“Parasite” was nominated in six categories at the Oscars and won four of them: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

Shares of Barunson E&A started strong when the market opened amid positive expectations from investors that “Parasite” could win.

At 10:39 a.m. Monday, prices spiked by 16 percent to 2,320 won after director Bong and writer Han Jin-won took the stage to claim the trophy for Best Original Screenplay.

A couple of minutes passed, and stocks dipped to 2,075 won after “Parasite” failed to win Best Production Design. The roller coaster market trend continued throughout the event.

At 1:27 p.m., share prices encountered a major plot twist after the announcement that it won Best Picture. The stock’s price jumped from around 1,800 won to around 2,100 won per share, continuing its winning streak until it closed at 2,385 won.

Barunson E&A was listed in the Kosdaq market in 1999. The company started as a stationery manufacturer but in 2015 acquired a movie production company, Barunson Film, to add content production to its portfolio. Barunson E&A allegedly invested around 17 billion won for the production of “Parasite.” Korean drama films on average cost less than 10 billion won.

The company’s shares hit a record high of 3,285 won in May, when “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Two months later, share prices dropped by almost a half to 1,275 won, the lowest in the past 52 weeks.

Stock prices of the company’s affiliate Barunson peaked by the daily limit of 29.88 percent on Monday and continued an aggressive winning streak the following day, closing up 29.85 percent at 3,415 won.

CJ ENM, the movie’s main investor and distributor, inched up 2.7 percent on Tuesday, slightly ahead of the previous session’s close.

Winning an Oscar entails an estimated economic value of $12 million, including boosted box-office sales in the United States, on-demand video sales and royalties from cable networks.

“’Parasite’ has made around 86 billion won in the local box office, with the returned profit estimated to around 21.5 billion won,” said Oh Tae-wan, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities. “As of Sunday, its sales in the global box office are estimated at around $190 billion, or 2.2 trillion won.”

BY LEE GA-RAM, KANG JAE-EUN [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]
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