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Hollywood reworks Scandal Makers

Huh. Another one: Scandal Makers (aka Speed Scandal, 과속스캔들), which has enjoyed tremendous success in the past few months, is being remade by Hollywood.

The film has sold over 8.2 million tickets in Korea and catapulted young star Park Bo-young to household-name status (and earned her a Baeksang Award just a few days ago). It also stars Cha Tae-hyun (My Sassy Girl) and a very young Wang Seok-hyun. It is directed by Kang Hyung-chul.

Attached to direct the U.S. remake is Barry Sonnenfeld, director of films like Men in Black and RV and producer of Get Shorty, Ladykillers, and Pushing Daisies, who had the following to say about the Korean movie: “What a fabulous movie. It is funny, intelligent, and full of heart and values. It is also a movie with universal themes. I am honored to have the opportunity…” According to the CEO of M Line, which handles overseas sales and distribution, remake offers came from multiple studios, such as Universal, Sony, Disney, and Paramount.

The thing is, from everything I’ve heard, Scandal Makers is a great, fun, quality movie. The story seems remake-able. But it’s almost TOO remake-able — the plot doesn’t sound all that unusual for an American film: A 36-year-old bachelor finds his life upturned when he is surprised by the appearance of an unknown 22-year-old daughter… and her 6-year-old son. (The reason for the “speedy” scandals? Cha’s character, now a successful DJ and happy bachelor, was once an idol star in his teens with lots of female fans.) What keeps it afloat is its charm, and we know from past experiences that Hollywood tends to kill THAT elusive quality straightaway (case in point: My Sassy Girl, Il Mare, Tale of Two Sisters).

Via Mk.co.kr

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Urgh--How about, like, I don't know, WIDELY RELEASING THE ORIGINAL KOREAN MOVIE in theaters throughout America? Non-Kung Fu Asian movies are constantly being remade (Hong Kong, Korean, and Japanese film industries seem to be serving as de facto script writers for Hollywood), while Hollywood movies get wide release in theaters overseas. How about America get over their insularity and actually experience other nations the way Hollywood expects other countries to do so with their products.

/rant over (for today at least).

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Actually, when I first read the description of "Speed Scandal", I thought it sounded like a theme that Hollywood had previously used. But, more power to Hollywood if they can make a version as successful as the original "Speed Scandal".

A remake, regardless of whether it is Hollywood, Bollywood or otherwise, is a compliment to the Korean film community, I guess. Perhaps, someone should consider showing the original movie in the U.S.

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Does anyone know where i can download this movie at? korean version that is. Thanks!

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hmmmm, more Hollywood remakes....i'm still waiting for one that's actually successful...what happened to the uninvited??

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It can't be helped. Hollywood has to ruin everything.

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He was supposed to be 14(!) when he fathered a child?!

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What?! No Hollywood! I haven't even been able to see the original yet.

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@ A

HAHA,, that;s what i was thinking.. i mean 16.. i can still imagine; as in the case of the daughter
but a 36 years old man with a 22 years old daughter?
that means he was 14 ...

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Yeah, Hollywood can never get that subtle charm that is so prevalent in Asian films, dramas, animes, mangas, etc.

I've never seen the Hollywood version of Tale of Two Sisters and never even heard there was a My Sassy Girl remake, but Il Mare...*sigh* shakin' my head.

@ IcanhazGooJun-Pyo
Ditto.

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IcanhazGooJun-Pyo,

Other countries remake Hollywood movies (Bollywood is a great example) and many do it without going through the proper channels.

It's all about $$. If they feel they can make a lot of money Stateside by releasing the original Korean movie with subs or dubs (eww), they would. If the original filmmakers think their movie could be successful in the US as-is, they probably wouldn't allow a remake.

Hollywood doesn't force other countries to release their movies in their local theaters but there is a market for them, so they are promoted and distributed in those countries.

As more and more countries develop their film industries, they rely less on Hollywood for entertainment. Using Bollywood as an example again, illegally remade Hollywood-to-Bollywood genarelly do much better in India than the original Hollywood films.

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Oh! And what especially IRKS me is before martial arts films (or anything from the East) made their way to the Mainstream West, non-Asians would watch them and laugh at the most inappropriate parts.

Verdict: Humor = Lost In Translation.

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@10 Anonymous:
"Hollywood doesn’t force other countries to release their movies in their local theaters but there is a market for them, so they are promoted and distributed in those countries."

Actually they do force other countries to release their movies, and in ways that are pretty convincingly anti-free trade. I don't have references with me off the top of my head, but Hollywood is often a deal maker in trade negotiations in various countries, insisting upon the release and promotion of their movies.

Do you think Hollywood is omnipresent throughout Asia by chance--because their product is so appealing? It's not by chance at all: Hollywood has meticulously negotiated release rights and quotas throughout Korea, Japan, and other countries. India is a great example of how Hollywood is working to appeal to its growing middle class by circumventing some of India's trade rules. Unlike other East Asian countries, because Hollywood has had a hard time breaking into the Indian market, the big studios have started funding local Indian cinema, and getting a cut out of it.

Hollywood is one of the most rapacious corporations out there--and one of the most vicious.

I don't think citing Bollywood's plagiarism-rife film industry is relevant here. Whether or not Bollywood remakes movies with proper rights acquired is irrelevant.

My point is more about how insular America's viewing public is, and how foreign movies are bought and sold into limited (very limited) markets while the opposite is not the case. And there is no way to know whether or not Asian movies in their original form would make money in America because Asian movies are rarely released widely in the U.S. When and if they are, they generally make a lot of money--House of Flying daggers being a good example. There is also very clear xenophobia--especially when it comes to Asia.

My point being: Korea and other countries need to insist on release of their movies in the U.S. instead of selling rights. OR, Korea should remake Hollywood movies instead of releasing the originals in their country.

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Hmmm...unless I am hallucinating (which is wholly possible), there was an Anonymous post @10...which is not there now...

Wow. I must be drunk. And I don't even drink.

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^ Glitchy! Should be fixed.

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Quite frankly, I think the director is talented and will be able to pull it off. I mean, I was blown away by the work he did in Pushing Daisies.

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waaat, aren't there enough movies about unplanned pregnancy in american market? yet there is the undeniable appeal of a Successful Movie: not too many of them, Korean or Hollywood, can boast of having 8+ million admissions in Korea these days.

2 IcanhazGJPyo, ditto on that idea of Korea remaking Hollywood. in practical terms though, it costs less to buy distribution rights and pay for promo, than starting from scratch and trying to match, say 150-200 million spent on Dark Knight, Mummy 3, or Transformers. you simply reap more just showing Hollywood movie.

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@IcanhazGJPyo
Uber-ditto.

I haven't watched Speedy Scandal yet, and although I knew the general premise, the whole 14-year-old-baby-daddy totally threw me I mean its not impossible or even unrealistic ... but still WTF? Just seemed odd to me when I read it o_O

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I'm assuming you are referring to issues with free trade agreements and the Korean govt (for example) putting quotas on Hollywood movies and all that. I don't want to go into all that but it's far more political than just Hollywood trying to maintain control of the world.

Mentioning Bollywood is relevant to show that remaking movies is not specific to Hollywood. And I mentioned Bollywood's rampant plagiarism to show that Hollywood at least goes through the proper channels.

I also mentioned that as other countries develop their own film industries, they get less and less of their entertainment from Hollywood. So when they can find good films in their own industry, they look to Hollywood less. So you can say they are becoming more insular. Perhaps insularity is somewhat natural. If Hollywood was the only option because it was cheaper to import a movie than to make one of similar quality in one's country, it makes sense that Hollywood movies would dominate. And it's a business so if Hollywood sees their foreign revenue declining, it makes sense that they would try to rectify the problem.

As I already mentioned, it's all about the $$. They are trying to break into the Indian film industry by investing in them. What's so horrible about that? In fact, a lot of people in the Indian film industry are trying to attract American investment in Bollywood and other Indian cinema.

"And there is no way to know whether or not Asian movies in their original form would make money in America because Asian movies are rarely released widely in the U.S."

There are many movies made that don't get widely released. Okay, for starters, one has to get a distributor and that's no easy feat. Distributors do a market study and if they feel they can make $$ off a movie, they will buy the rights. Yes, movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the like get wide releases in the US because there's a market for them. Tsotsi and City of God (for example) are foreign language films that found American distributors because they felt there was a market for them. Sometimes, they first come out in limited release but when the companies see there's a hype around them, and feel they can make $$, they released them widely. Granted, you might say there's also a certain xenophobia here too, but nonetheless, they sell what they think they can make a profit from.

Now, British films, for example, fare a lot better in the US and one reason is because the language barrier doesn't exist with them. For example, while I don't mind reading subtitles while watching movies, it's also not my preferred method for watching movies. I don't mind watching certain foreign films because I derive a certain pleasure from them that I can't get from watching films in my language. However, if one is content with watching movies in their language, why should they seek foreign movies? From House of Flying Daggers, moviegoers can find something that's lacking in their own films so they don't mind paying the price of reading subs to get it.

A lot of foreign films honestly get lost in translation. Other than the so-called 'weird' humor not translating properly, there are often cultural references and notions that might be lost on the moviegoer. Yes, the world is getting smaller and it's great to learn about other cultures, but more often than not, I'd rather just kill time and laugh at someone saying that myspace is the new bootycall than trying to understand why Sam Soon is such a weird name.

"My point being: Korea and other countries need to insist on release of their movies in the U.S. instead of selling rights. OR, Korea should remake Hollywood movies instead of releasing the originals in their country."

The movies are probably being released in the US in limited release in communities with a high concentration of descendants from said country. But they can't force distributors to buy their movies and release them in the US. And they probably make a lot more $$ selling US rights then trying to get them released in their original form.
Korean films already dominate in Korea (if I'm right) and there will probably be a loss of revenue from eliminating American films in Korea. In addition, they can't force US studios to sell their movie rights just so they can be remade in Korea and the US studios have no incentive to sell said rights to them if they will make more money distributing the movies in their original form. Once again, it's all about the $$.

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@ IcanhazGJPyo

Excellent points. Hollywood is often very forceful in pressuring overseas markets to promote certain movies.

What bother's me the most about remakes is that they just don't give the originals a chance. If the people over in Asia are willing to read subtitles in a Hollywood movie, are Americans really not willing to?

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I agree with Anonymous.

Don't forget, even if the US pushes to have their releases to be world wide, they don't force people to see them. Some of the highest income of movies for weeks on end in Korea and Japan are American movies, sometimes not. People find a film interesting and watch it.

Yeah Hollywood is all about money. So is Koreas, and Japans, and indias. If they can make money, they will take it. They get bunches of money for Hollywood to use their films, the righter gets more credit and more. I mean... You cant put all fault in american films. I mean, korea did allow them to use it.

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i think the point being missed is the the fact that "cute" sells in Korea...
the "cute" factor is what draws most people to K-culture in general whether it be films, dramas, and music...
"We Got Married" at its peak was "cute"
"Boys before Flowers" is cute
"My Sassy Girl" was cute...
and there's nothing wrong with that...
but those aforementioned things would not succeed in Hollywood...
Jeon Ji-Hyun became the biggest star in East Asia and she has STILL YET to have a kiss scene in a movie or drama, let alone major skinship...
would that happen in Hollywood???
no...

javabeans is right, that "charm" will always be lost when remakes are made... just like how K-pop artist lose their charm once they try to debut here...
its best to take in K-Culture for what it is and Hollywood for what it is...
its the GIFT of being bi-cultural...
dont take it for granted...

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i wish hollywood would stop remaking stuff. things that are good are not meant to be remade but distributed in it's original form. try remaking something that was poorly done then you'll have something to contribute! too many instances of hollywood trying to ride on the success of other countries/cultures lately:

they are remaking the fantastic Let the Right One In
have you heard the pussycat dolls version of Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionare?
Lakehouse was a disaster (this of course not recent)
as was the Grudge

and the list goes on...

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I don't really want to get involved with this debate (both sides have great arguments), but I think the bottom line reasoning for why only the rights are sold is the appeal factor.
It's true that several Asian movies have made it big in the US, but all those movies had a very historical-Asian theme. American movie-goers are just so used to seeing Asians as these martial arts masters that it'd be too non-stereotypical to have Asians act like...normal people. And Hollywood is all about stereotypes.
There's also the fact that the elements that make up Speed Scandal are all very western. Why risk entering a foreign movie into the American market when it could be easily re-made so that there were no language/culture barriers and therefore directly appealed to Americans (as a whole)? As many have already stated, having to watch an entire movie subbed or dubbed decreases its appeal right away, and many words/phrases would be lost in translation. Even though people would know that they're watching it as it was intended to be made, people often judge by superficial factors when choosing which movie to watch. Hollywood knows those factors that movie-watchers look out for, and that's what they're trying to do by remaking an Asian film-- appealing to Asians' curiosity while having a bigger guarantee of success with the overall market.

(lol, my points were all over the place...and i'm out. not gonna post any more comments about this.)

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"This just in. Young woman has rampaged through Hollywood studios killing anything in sight"
NONONONONONONONO AND NOOOOOOOOO

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Besides Sarah's wit and wonderful writing, the discussion in this thread is another example of why it's a joy to read Sarah's blog.

My compliments to everyone and their comments. For me, it isn't an issue of whether I agree or disagree with any of the statements. For me, it is refreshing to read such intelligent thoughts being presented.

Although, I am neither a "Captain of Industry" nor a politician working on trade agreements, I suspect that the truth lies within all your perspectives. Truth being defined as whatever deal was successfully concluded, within the constraints and atmosphere at that time.

As always, I thank Sarah for a blog that attracts people with more than just a fan-girl mentality. (Not that I'm against fan-girling, which I think is another "fun sport".)

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I do agree w/ bambooshoots that both sides have valid arguments.

However, regardless of my previous statement #9 and to add to the overall conversation, I actually welcome and find remakes interesting, whether it's a remake within the same country or from a different country. In fact, it's even more interesting to see remakes from different countries, simply b/c of the cultural differences. In that sense, I can certainly understand the need for remakes, b/c - as we all know - things do get lost in translation. As my statement #11, I have bear witness to people laughing at things they don't culturally understand. The turning point for martial arts films being accepted w/o people laughing at all the flying elements, was Crouching Tiger. Ang Lee was able to tell a story that the American audience can relate to by successfully bridging the American and Asian cultural gap. B/c of that, I don't mind seeing how one country will translate a movie from another country to meet their market (target audience). A perfect example of that is the ever so popular Hana Yori Dango and no one seems to be opposing the different remakes. Whether those remakes are good, is a different topic altogether.

I think of all countries, the U.S. is probably considered one of the most insular in their viewpoints (historically and culturally with their notion of individualism - as oppose to community), however, in general, I think globalism is at it's best (and hopefully it will get better). Film is just a microcosm example of that change. Not to be all "We Are The World", but as long as it's a positive change (bridging cultural differences, creating higher tolerance, etc), I don't mind, but of course, there's always the human weakness factor (as Anonymous and IcanhazGJPyo have clearly pointed out in the film industry). For example, Capitalism doesn't necessarily have to be a negative concept (i.e. Muhammad Yunus and social business) as long as it doesn't get out of control (i.e. the decline of our economy b/c of greediness).

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where i can watch this movie online with english subtittles?

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Seriously, the whole given birth at such a young age does run in the family. At least she was 16, while he was 14!? That's just amazing and sad.

When I first read the summary of this movie, I was pretty turn-off. I'm amazed that it made so much at the box office.

Haha, I just realized I'm semi-off topic. Everyone else is talking about the remade. I don't care much. It's bound to happen if the movie is successful in their respective country. There's nothing much we can do about it.

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LOL!

All of you are really funny! I just read all of the comments and have to say just reading it all made me tired...how do you guys keep it up?

Anyway can someone tell me the name of the remake of “my sassy girl" my mom would love to watch it and so would I....see if the Americans can do it like the Koreans?

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"Anyway can someone tell me the name of the remake of “my sassy girl” "

It was called "My Sassy Girl." Straight to video and starring eh.

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Sorry, don't if this question was answered. Too many comments to scroll down to. But, Hollywood did a remake of the Tale of Two Sisters? Into what? I didn't even hear of the American title. I guess I'm a bit out of touch.

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@Quicksilver18 - Tale of Two Sisters was remade in the US named "The Uninvited".

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that is such a cute picture!!!! is that the kid from the ____ awards??? the cute little boy walking on the red carpet??? so cuteee

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NOO! This movie was so wonderful and touching, Hollywood movies don't know how to do that!! They're gonna ruin it T.T

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grandfather(36) making it at 14 then
daughter(22) making it at 16 then
grandchild(6) ??
well like father like son

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