The Korean government puts together an annual research report on the influence of the Korean Wave overseas, and the 2023 edition has just been released!
The report uses survey results of 25,000 Hallyu consumers from 26 countries. These countries include the US, Brazil, Argentina, United Kingdom (UK), France, Turkey, Russia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE ), Mexico, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kazakhstan. The survey was conducted online from November 11 to December 7.
Contestants chose their favorite Korean movie, and here are the overall results below!
1. “Parasite” (9.1%)
It may not come as a surprise, but “Parasite” takes the top spot on the list. The film was revolutionary upon release and debuted in 2019. Despite a few years since its initial release, the film continues to dominate international markets and holds the attention of fans everywhere. The film was directed by star director Bong Joon Ho and filled out by a talented cast that included Cho Yeon Jung, SoDam Park, Choi Woo Shik, Lee Sun Kyun, kang ho songIt is Lee Jung Eun. The film highlighted the intense gap between the rich and the poor. This subtle comment resonated with many and resonates with viewers to this day.
2. “Train to Busan” (6.9%)
Second on the list is another internationally acclaimed film, “Train To Busan”. On the surface, it might look like another zombified action thriller, but the movie is wrought with a variety of different emotions. With a cast made up of names like Gong Yoo, Ma Dong Seok, Jung Yu MiChoi Woo Shik e a sohee, it should come as no surprise that this film is still beloved by many 7 years later. Though the characters were fighting for their survival, they still managed to maintain their humanity and provide viewers with a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. Many have held onto that unforgettable feeling and continue to carry the lessons learned from “Train to Busan” to the present day.
3. “Carter” (2.5%)
“Carter” joins the list at number 3. “Carter” is a true action thriller that gets the audience’s blood pumping by the end. The chaos and fear felt during the film hits close to home, as the film is set in the midst of a deadly pandemic caused by a virus. Although, in the case of “Carter”, its pandemic puts humanity’s survival at risk, as the film’s characters come face to face with zombie-like creatures, who were once human. At the center of the film is the legendary actor John Won. He plays the film’s charismatic main character, who also acts as the story’s hero. There’s something special about brave heroes. Combine that with the thrill of fighting zombies, it makes sense that “Carter” has caught the attention of foreign fans everywhere.
4. “Hunting” (2.0%)
“Hunt” enters the list at number 4. With two “squid game” actors in Lee Jungjae It is Heo Sung Tae being part of the cast, it makes sense that overseas fans would show interest in the film. However, aside from the two cast members and its “Squidward Game” fame, the film is a theatrical masterpiece. It is full of action and suspense that holds the audience’s attention. “Hunt” is a movie that will leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering how many twists a movie can contain.
5. “Girl of the 20th Century” (1.8%)
“20th Century Girl” comes in at number five and is the most different from all the other films on the list. The Netflix exclusive film employs a cast that includes Kim You Jung, YoonSeo’s spirit, Park Jung WooIt is Byeon Woo Seok. It’s different because it’s the only romance movie on the list. It sends audiences on a nostalgic trip back in time to the year 1999. While it may be set in the past, one theme that remains a timeless classic is love. And what better love to explore than the love of a high school romance. The heartwarming romance attracted many overseas fans to watch the movie and choose it as their favorite Korean movie of 2022.
The poll went even deeper and included the top 5 picks for each country.
If you want access to the original data, you can start on page 88 of this pdf.
The impact of “Train to Busan” and “Parasite” remains evident even years after each film’s respective release. These films remained in the top 5 in all countries surveyed, despite the increasing number and caliber of films released in just the past year. Most results have both films in the top 2, with more variation in terms of rankings for “Train to Busan”, sometimes dropping to no. 5 position.
The amount of attention that “Train to Busan” and “Parasite” brought to Korean cinema cannot be understated. The success of these two films paved the way for more Korean films to enter the global market on streaming platforms like Netflix. This can be seen in films such as “#Alive”, “20th Century Girl” and “Carter”, making the list for several countries. What these films have in common is that they are distributed internationally by Netflix, reaching homes on a global scale.
It remains to be seen whether a film of the caliber of “Train To Busan” and “Parasite” will be in the limelight any time soon. But Korean entertainment and movie fans have certainly been waiting for that day to come.
Did you expect any of these films to make the top 5 list for these countries surveyed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.