[PICK] Korean Films that Got Impressive Remkes Abroad

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Recently, a number of Korean films have announced their Hollywood remake. The list includes Train to Busan, the representative film of the K-zombie genre, and Space Sweepers, which was recently released on Netflix and received positive reviews. The detailed outline of the Train to Busan Hollywood remake was revealed to the public, while Space Sweepers is said to have been offered a remake proposal, and the news made headlines as the film has gained immense popularity worldwide. This is not the first time Korean movies got Hollywood remakes, and remakes of Old Boy, A Love Story, and A Tale of Two Sisters have been produced. In recent years, remakes have been mainly carried out in Asia, where Korean content has been sought-after. Let’s look into these remakes.


Always (2011)

Credit: Showbox

A washed-up boxer who built a ten-foot wall around his heart because of his painful past and a bright and brave woman who is visually impaired – director Song Il Gon’s Always begins with a common storytelling but successfully leaves lingering afterglow by focusing on the fate-like love of a man and a woman. The emotional scenery and sound that doubles the beautiful and sad romance, along with So Ji Sub and Han Hyo Joo’s perfect chemistry, enchant us with even the cliche-filled story. In 2014, it was officially remade into The Girl in the Sun and My tomorrow your yesterday director Miki Takahiro’s Your Eyes Tell, starring Yoshitaka Yuriko and Yokohama Ryusei.


Veteran (2014)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Ryu Seung Wan’s action and humor peaked in this film. It illustrates the heated confrontation between a veteran detective, who is seemingly rough and rugged but full of humanity, and a third-generation conglomerate heir, who is not afraid of anything with thrilling action and laughter, and by the end, it successfully garnered 10 million moviegoers. Many showed satisfaction in how the “ordinary” detective chose stern punishment against the powerful that trampled on the weak, and Yoo Ah In’s cold yet relaxed presence as a supercilious heir has certainly contributed to captivating the audience. The Big Shot, the Chinese remake of the film in 2019, topped the box office chart among all Korean remakes released in China.


Intimate Strangers (2018)

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

The movie revolves around the dizzying situation when lifelong friends gather together and end up playing a game where they must share all new incoming messages and calls on their cell phones. Even if they were friends for 40 years, there’s a secret they want to hide. Though the entire movie is unfolded in a limited space, it surely performs its duty as a comedy film by tactfully capturing the process of secrets being disclosed one by one every time the phone rings. Intimate Strangers was remade in Vietnam and released in October last year, ranking first in the local Vietnam box office. On a side note, Intimate Strangers is the remake of the 2016 Italian film Perfect Strangers, but the Korean version was chosen for the Vietnamese remake according to the sentiment.


Miss Granny (2013)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

The movie begins when the foul-mouthed and stubborn 74-year-old widow, who finds her sole comfort in her professor son, suddenly turns into a 20-year-old woman. Shim Eun Kyung and Na Moon Hee each play the younger and older versions of Oh Mal Soon, and Shim’s flawless depiction of an old lady who yells out curse words in country dialect certainly stands out. The movie aims for a family comedy that anyone can relate to and draws out a deep emotional aftertaste by paying tribute to the mothers’ never-changing care and love for the family. It has been remade in China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.


Sunny (2011)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

It’s a movie that lets you reminisce about your school days. It tells the story of Na Mi, an ordinary housewife, reuniting her old friend Chun Hwa by change at a hospital and visiting her friends from 25 years ago to fulfill Chun Hwa’s last wish. Shim Eun Kyung, Kang So Ra, Min Hyo Rin, Nam Bo Ra, Park Jin Joo, Kim Min Young, and Kim Bo Mi turned into members of the seven-member clique named “Sunny” who share fond memories of their school days in the 1980s, and add to the fun of watching and listening by pleasantly reproducing memories of those days. It has been remade in Vietnam, Japan, and Indonesia, and there was a report about the film getting a Hollywood remake, but no further news has been released yet.


Hide and Seek (2013)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

The movie was inspired by the true story of a homeless, who secretly lived in other people’s homes, and the ghost story related to the doorbell. One day, a man hears that his older brother, whom he has been shunning for years, went missing and visits his redevelopment apartment. But since then, strange things engulf him and his family, so in order to protect his beloved family, the man begins a desperate struggle. By portraying the house, which is supposed to be a safe area, as a dangerous and fearful space, the film showcased realistic fear and received good responses from the audience. The movie was later remade into a Chinese film starring Wallace Huo, and it was also reported that actor and director Joel David Moore has been confirmed as the director of the Hollywood remake.


Edited Hong Hyun Jung: K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

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