Life, Once Again! - Chapter 470
“Strictly speaking, it’s not an indie movie.”
“No, there’s no need for ‘strictly speaking’. It’s very closely tied to money, so how can we call it indie? Of course, the exact meaning might be different from the American market, but going back to the roots of the word, it’s far from being independent.”
Junmin quietly looked at the two men who exchanged words with each other. One was General Manager Park from the distributor named ‘Bolt’, for Twilight Struggles, and the other was General Manager Choi from the parent company of ‘Dasarang Movies’, which was the parent company of Seoul Central Theater.
“There, there. Let’s stop talking about the boring stuff and have a drink. The food here is really good.”
When Junmin called for a waitress, the sliding paper door opened sideways. A woman dressed in a hanbok sat there and took a bow before walking inside with butterfly-like steps.
“Give us some food, and as for the wine, I’ll take your recommendation.”
“Understood, as for the flowers….”
“We’ll call them once we need them.”
“Then I’ll immediately get some food.”
General manager Park grabbed onto the woman’s hands as she took a bow and was about to leave.
“How fair. How old are you?”
The woman, who received the indecent gaze from general manager Park, made a calm smile as she replied,
“How cruel of you to ask a woman her age. How old do I look?”
The woman covered her mouth and chuckled. There was a smile on general manager Park’s face. Seeing him pull the woman towards him with some force, Junmin immediately coughed to make him stop.
“General manager Park.”
“The girls will be coming after a while, so why don’t us men talk among ourselves for now? It might not be fun, but it is definitely necessary,” Junmin said as he picked up a cup of water.
General manager Park was no fool. Although he was a playboy and had an arrogant attitude, he wasn’t an idiot who didn’t know the time and place.
General manager Park let go. The woman took a bow before leaving. Junmin lowered his head when he looked the woman in the eyes as the door closed. The woman faintly smiled as though to tell him not to worry about it.
“General manager Park. You should really fix that habit of yours,” general manager Choi narrowed his eyes as he said.
“A man is only a man when he seeks women, no? Men can only be real men if they bed some women and release their male energy. In that sense, you’re too gentle, general manager Choi. Don’t you think so, president Lee?”
Hearing general manager Park’s words, Junmin laughed without saying anything. These two general managers had known each other for a long time, so they didn’t hold back against each other. They even used the word ‘habit’, which was a taboo in business relationships, when talking to each other because they were quite close personally as well.
“General manager Park. Do you know who that woman is?” General manager Choi said in a condescending manner.
General manager Park pouted a little.
“Isn’t she just an employee here?”
“Oh my lord. General manager Park, you seem to have gone blind when it comes to the high class restaurant side of business since you’ve been golfing lately. Do you know where that woman you grabbed came from?”
“Samcheonggak? You mean that Samcheonggak?”
General manager Park looked at the door with surprise.
“Consider yourself fortunate that you’re with president Lee right now. She’s not someone you can just fondle like that. If this was the 70s, you would’ve been dragged to the back alley, and… you know the rest.”
General manager Choi lightly swung his fist in the air. General manager Park made a sour expression as he spoke,
“But high class restaurant politics have ended a long time ago. If it was the Samcheonggak of before, I would find them amazing, but right now….”
“Even though the era has changed, there are people with the same connections. I heard rumors that a word from her will switch several politicians on the spot.”
Hearing that, Junmin clapped to gather attention and change the atmosphere.
“Let’s stop talking about that for now. We aren’t here to do politics, are we? We are here to eat nice food and talk about business.”
Hearing Junmin’s words, general managers Choi and Park nodded their heads. At that moment, the door opened, and some ladies wearing skin-tight hanboks entered carrying food.
“My, my. My nose and mouth are in for a pleasure, but I think the same can be said for my eyes too.”
Seeing the ladies come in, general manager Park smiled. When the lady that was putting dishes on the table next to general manager Park smiled at him, general manager Park couldn’t endure anymore and started fondling the lady’s thighs. Junmin did not stop him this time.
“Hey, pretty. What’s your name?”
“I’ll tell you if you call me later. I will be scolded by big sister if I talk about something else while I’m serving food. Please let me go for now.”
The ladies walking around the room scattering fragrant scents all left in one go. After looking at the laid out food, Junmin picked up the ceramic pot which was placed in front of him.
“Let’s have a drink for now.”
“Sounds good to me.”
He poured a cup for general manager Choi first, then general manager Park. The one that filled his glass was general manager Choi.
“The drink is so sweet,” general manager Park remarked in pleasure.
The three of them talked about general manager Park’s daughter for a while. General manager Choi, meanwhile, teased him for being doting, but also indirectly boasted about his son.
“Aren’t you going to get married, president Lee?”
“I’m past fifty now.”
“Who cares how old you are in this day and age? A man has all of the financial and authoritative power, right? Although age is king when it comes to women, who cares about a man’s age. With your money and connections, there should be loads of women lined up wanting to marry you.”
It seemed that he was a little drunk as general manager Park bashed on the table as he spoke.
“General manager Park. Do you think anyone will catch our president Lee’s eyes? These days it’s better to live alone when you’re well-off. I also go home because of my son, not my wife. Rather than having your wife nag at you in your later years, it’s much better to just not get married and do everything you want.”
“I guess you’re right about that, general manager Choi. That woman. I wish she would just go traveling somewhere or do something. She’s holed herself up at home without thinking about leaving. All I see when I get home is her ready to pick a fight with me, and that really brings me endless headaches.”
Junmin, who stayed quiet this whole time in this rowdy atmosphere, thought that the time was ripe and started speaking.
“Since we had our fill in both food and drinks, should we start talking about business then?”
Hearing his words, general managers Park and Choi both put down their drinks. They sat up and tied their neckties again. That was probably a habit for them.
“This is what I like about talking business with you, president Lee. When I talk to other people, they’d always talk about the irritating work stuff first, but with you, I get to have my fill at least. Well then. Please tell us how you’re going to proceed in the future.”
“First up, as I told you before, I’m going to maintain the current number of cinemas in which the movie will be aired.”
“Isn’t that too low?” General manager Park asked as he pushed up his glasses.
“There are 80 cinemas managed by us at Bolt, and that amounts to nearly 600 individual theaters. We’re the number one distributor and theater in the country. I’ve been thinking from the start of our discussion, but considering the actors and the amount of investment you put into this, there are way too few cinemas that air the movie. I thought you were going to just keep the feel of an indie movie, but now you’re telling me that you’re planning to keep the number of cinemas like that of an indie movie as well? Isn’t that a little off?”
“General manager Park’s words definitely makes sense,” said general manager Choi, who had been listening all this time.
“If you air your film in the Seoul Central Theater, then it’s an unwritten rule that all the nearby theaters will air it. Although the movie scene in Seoul is practically under Seoul Central Theater’s control, the flow has shifted to multiplexes like Bolt’s B-Movies, or SC’s SC-Cinema. The production, investment, and even distribution are taken care of by one company. The reason we at Dasarang Movies quit movie production and changed our lane to being the cultural icon is also because we don’t have a way to compete with such multiplex businesses.”
“That sounds like we made the Seoul Central Theater go out of business, making me a little sad,” general manager Park laughed half as a joke.
General manager Choi also laughed out loud.
“It’s possible to gain some airing cinemas if you air your film on the Seoul Central Theater, but if you want to spread it across the country, you would need support from Bolt. Although you put on the mask of an indie movie and even advertised like one, the knowledgeable people already know everything, don’t they? That it’s a commercial movie. As for the contents, well, it is a little on the new side, but everyone should know what kind of movie it is after seeing the amount of investment and the distributor.”
“General manager Choi, that’s precisely what I wanted to say. Since president Lee is in the arts business, I can understand that you want to place your bet on the artistic and cultural part of the movie. However, you invested so much. You should increase the number of cinemas and see results in a week, don’t you think?”
General manager Park emphasized the word result.
“Betting on the artistic side, huh.”
Junmin tilted the empty glass in his hands as he spoke,
“I’m not such a romanticist.”
“I know, I really do. But I really can’t understand your actions on this matter. It’s been three days since it was released. Since only the arts theaters in the countryside regions are putting it on the screen, the ticket sales are seeing rock bottom.”
General manager Choi followed up on general manager Park’s words.
“Although the Seoul Central Theater is airing the movie across two screens at alternating intervals, we can’t handle all the people. Wasn’t this movie supposed to be the comeback piece for the actor Yoon Moonjoong? There’s Park Taeho in it too. I mean, where can you find a movie with Park Taeho in it these days that didn’t hit 5 million views at least? Not only that, there’s Jung Yoonhoe, Kang Suyeol, Ahn Joohyun, and Hong Geunsoo as well. If it was some other movie, these people would all be playing protagonists, and yet they’re side characters here. This is such a movie, so there’s no way it would do bad, is there? People are flocking, and ticket sales are on fire, but it’s not increasing that much because there simply aren’t that many places that air it on screen.”
“That’s good news.”
“President Lee. You should row when there’s still water. Stop making it look like an indie movie and go on the offense.”
“Right, that’s what you should do.”
Junmin glanced at general managers Park and Choi once before telling them as though he was consoling them.
“I was going to tell you soon to increase the number of theaters.”
“I think it’s too late as it is now. Just when are you….”
“I’m going to ease control once public opinion becomes just a bit hotter.”
General manager Park was clearly curious, while general manager Choi seemed to have caught onto something as he stayed quiet. Junmin poured some drinks into the empty glasses in front of them.
“Being common will reduce its value. But if you can’t take it at all, there simply won’t be a price tag. When I told you not to increase the number of theaters, I wanted to increase the value of this movie. Right now, the articles about the movie go something like this: that actors are escaping the commercialization of movies in search of true acting. With such articles going around, if we switch to an offensive strategy and increase the number of theaters, don’t you think that’s being too hasty?”
Junmin locked his fingers as he continued speaking.
“Rumors don’t spread around for no reason. You can always give it a push. This is the Sir Yoon’s comeback piece. I cannot accept a half-assed score. Direction doesn’t just occur for movies. There’s direction in business as well. It’s especially true when it comes to culture business. The flow of the public’s opinion will change depending on who does what. There’s a limit to literally copy pasting the movie across all the theaters through a colossal distributor and getting views that way. In the near future, once the multiplex movies managed by distributors themselves account for nearly 90% of all movies, there might come an era where distribution is the biggest factor in predicting the success and failure of a movie, but that time isn’t now. The audience still has the right to choose what they want to watch.”
Junmin closed his mouth and raised his glass. General managers Choi and Park raised their glasses as well while nodding.
“Wait just a little more. The voices of those that say that consuming this piece of culture will raise their dignities as humans will definitely become louder.”
Clang – glass hitting sounds could be heard.
“Well, your predictions were never wrong before, president Lee.”
“We’ll just put our trust in you.”
Seeing general managers Park and Choi, Junmin smiled without saying a word.