Netflix Reveals Theatrical Release Plans for Okja; New Artwork!

Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja arrives on Netflix in late June, but it won’t be limited to online viewing via the popular streaming service. It is also being released theatrically, and we have some details about the film’s roll-out to share.

Per THR, Okja will be available to Netflix users in 190 countries as well as South Korean moviegoers on June 28th (June 29th Korea time), when it will be simultaneously released through the online streaming giant as well as in South Korean cinemas. As for North American and European screenings, Ted Sarandos, COO of Netflix, said Okja will be available in select U.S. and U.K. theaters. “We will have the film in theaters in select locations, as well as a qualifying run in London. Netflix is extremely proud of making this film for not only Korea but also for the world.”

Sarandos added that Netflix wishes to coexist with cinemas, not compete against them. “We’re not against movie theaters or mean to harm them in any way. I would actually like all our films in theaters,” Sarandos said, adding, “The idea of holding movies doesn’t seem like a good trade for most movie lovers. I want to give them an abundance of films [to watch].”

“I entered the project under the condition that the film would be released through a wide distribution channel. Film distribution is, of course, important; but as a writer-director I am first and foremost interested in creative freedom… It is rare to have had this much creative freedom for such a big-budget film anywhere in the world, a privilege only allowed to those godlike filmmakers like Spielberg or Scorsese,” said filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho. “But it’s scary, too, since it means I am 100 percent responsible. Any flaw or negativity in the film would be 100 percent my fault.”

Written by Bong and Jon Ronson (Frank), Okja follows Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multinational company from kidnapping her best friend, a massive animal named Okja with whom she has lived for a decade. Young Korean actress Seohyun An, cast by Bong through an extensive series of auditions, has the lead role opposite Tilda Swinton, who plays the CEO of Mirando Corporation, a bio-food corporation that wishes to use Okja for its top secret “super pig project.” In addition to the company, other sources of “obstacles” in what Bong says is “essentially a love story” between Mija and Okja include a zealous zoologist (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and an animal rights organization with ulterior motives.

Other cast members include Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Devon Bostick, Byun Heebong, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Yoon Je Moon, Choi Woo Shik, and Steven Yeun.

The film’s mountainous Gangwon Province, Seoul, and New York settings were shot extensively in parts of Korea, Canada, and the U.S. Oscar winner Erik-Jan De Boer (Life of Pi) supervised the visual effects, in particular the mysterious and much-anticipated titular animal that Bong describes as being a combination of a manatee, pig, and hippo.

Okja

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Debi Moore

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