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Most anticipated movies this summer, from 'Escape from Mogadishu' to 'Black Widow'

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From left, posters for films
From left, posters for films "Escape from Mogadishu," "Hostage: Missing Celebrity" and "Black Widow" / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment, NEW, Walt Disney Korea

By Kwak Yeon-soo

With Hollywood films like "F9" and "Cruella" doing better than expected at the box office and the country's vaccination rate picking up quickly, delayed blockbusters are finally hitting the big screen in time for the summer blockbuster season.

The action blockbuster "F9" has sold over 2 million box office tickets here since its release on May 19, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year. Disney's "Cruella" has attracted over 760,000 moviegoers, grossing 7.2 billion won ($6.4 million) so far.

The country's inoculation rate has been rising with some 20 percent of the population having received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shots since February.

Under these conditions, Lotte Entertainment announced its plans to release the big-budget action blockbuster "Escape from Mogadishu," featuring Kim Yoon-seok and Zo In-sung, in July.

Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, the film depicts the life-or-death escape of South Korean and North Korean embassy workers stranded in the midst of the Somali Civil War that took place in the 1990s.

"Director Ryoo has teamed up with Dexter Studio, the visual effects house behind hits like the Along with the Gods series and Ashfall, to bring the film to a whole new level. The production team shot the entire film in Morocco," the film distributor said in a statement.

Next Entertainment World is looking to release director Pil Kam-sung's action thriller "Hostage: Missing Celebrity" this summer. The exact release date has not been unveiled yet.

In the upcoming film, actor Hwang Jung-min will portray himself, as he is kidnapped by an unidentified squad and tries to break free from them.

"I hope the audiences enjoy this rollercoaster-like story. In a given situation where real and unreal are no longer distinguishable, audiences will be able to fully immerse themselves in the experience of the protagonist," director Pil said.

A scene from the film
A scene from the film "The Medium" / Courtesy of Showbox

"The Medium," a horror film produced by "The Wailing" (2016) director Na Hong-jin, is also set for local release next month, according to the film's local distributor Showbox.

Na co-wrote the script and produced the film, which is about a mysterious phenomenon besetting a shaman's family in the Isan region of Thailand. It is directed by Thai filmmaker Banjong Pisanthanakun, known for commercially and critically successful films such as "Shutter" (2004) and "Pee Mak" (2013).

Meanwhile, more Hollywood films are also gearing up to provide popular options to lure audiences back into theaters.

Marvel's superhero film "Black Widow" is expected to open in July. Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as the Avengers character Natasha, also known as the Black Widow, who confronts a dangerous conspiracy tied to her dark past.

Disney's fantasy adventure film "Jungle Cruise," starring big-name stars like Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, will also hit theaters in July. The two embark on an adventure in search of a mystical tree that has the power to heal.

Kwak Yeon-soo

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