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    Lee Byung-hun’s ‘Man Standing Next’ Secures 2020 Asia Theatrical Releases (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showbox’s political drama “The Man Standing Next” has secured releases in multiple territories in Asia. The film was picked up by Falcon for Indonesia, The Klockworx for Japan, Viva Communications for the Philippines, Shaw Renters for Singapore and by Moviecloud for Taiwan. Release dates in each territory have yet to be confirmed.

    Set 40 days before former South Korean President Park Chung-hee’s assassination in 1979, “Man Standing Next” tackles the relationships and conflicts among second-in-command characters who were at the peak of the power struggle.

    Based on local political journalist-turned-writer Kim Choong-seek’s best-selling non-fiction “KCIA Chiefs,” the film marks the reunion of director Woo Min-ho (“Drug King”) and actor Lee Byung-hun (“G.I. Joe”), after the success of “Inside Men” in 2016. “Inside Men” and director’s cut “Inside Men: The Original” together managed some 9 million ticket sales in South Korea.

    “Man Standing Next” features Lee, one of the most internationally known Korean actors, as the director of Korean Central Intelligence Agency which pulls the trigger on the President, and whom he had previously faithfully served. Alongside Lee, Kwak Do-won (“The Wailing”) and Lee Sung-min (“Drug King”) are playing a former KCIA director and the President, respectively.

    Popular on Variety

    Currently in post-production, the film is set for a January 2020 release in its home country. Given the high level of interest in the topic, as well as the actor-director package, it is already expected to be one of the highest grossing films in Korea next year.

    The Korean box office is already boiling. The Korean Film Council this week forecast that admissions will hit an all time record in 2019. By the end of November 204 million tickets had been sold, and a further 20 million are expected to be sold in December. The current record stands at 219.9 million, set in 2017.

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