Alternative content for cinema screening is getting a K-pop spin, giving it a chance of success in parts of Asia, even as distributors and audiences remain hesitant about movies’ return to theaters.
Hong Kong’s Megaton Entertainment will be holding a series of screenings in early May of the tear-jerking tale “Midnight Sun,” which has been given a new turn as a Korean-language stage musical.
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“We gave serious thought to bringing the stage musical here to Hong Kong, but the logistics of trying to move cast and crew across borders in Asia is still too complicated,” Gilky Wan, CEO of Megaton told Variety. “With COVID still a factor we simply can’t know when that would be possible.”
Instead, her company has booked out venues at three cinemas operated by Golden Harvest in Hong Kong, to retransmit a live performance taking place in Korea. Korean company Shin’s Wave is putting on the musical on at Seoul’s Kwanglim Art Center May 1- July 25, 2021.
The cast contains SHINEee band member Onew, Wonpil of Day 6, Baekho (of Nu’est), Cho Hun and Young Jae of Got7. Other cast include: Kang Hye-in and Lee A-jin in the female lead. Directed by Kim Ji-ho, the show has music by Han Boram.
In Taiwan, Megaton will also show “Midnight Sun” in cinemas belonging to the Vieshow chain, while in Singapore the show will play at selected Golden Village cinema venues. All are connected to the Orange Sky Golden Harvest company.
There will also be simulcasts at a handful of Korean cinemas: CGV in Yeongdeungpo, Wangsimni and Yongsan I Park Mall. Overseas transmissions will be given English sub-titles.
The tale of a young woman who has a rare skin disease (Xerodermum Pigmentosa) that requires her to avoid sunlight but does not dare to tell her boyfriend about it, is a familiar one. The story was previously a 2006 Shochiku-produced film directed by Koizumi Norihiko, that launched the singing career of Japanese performer Yui. It was produced the same year as TV series that ran on Tokyo Broadcasting System. A U.S. movie adaptation in 2018 was directed by Scott Speer and stared Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
There have also been previous stage adaptations: one in Korea that starred Girls Generation member Taeyon in 2010; and another in 2018 in Japan.
“ ‘Midnight Sun’ is a renowned romantic story all over the world. With young idols attached, this production may serve an additional interest. Even if the artistes cannot fly over to HK, Taiwan and Singapore, fans can still ‘meet’ their idols in the theater,” said Wan. “Fans should be very excited to watch the musical together in cinemas, and enjoy the sound and visual effects that come with a big screen performance.”
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