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Netflix theater debate hits S. Korea as 'Okja' boycott looms

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/14/2017
Actress Tilda Swinton signs autographs for fans during a promotional event for her latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Actress Tilda Swinton signs autographs for fans during a promotional event for her latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has an answer to where the controversy over the theatrical releases of Netflix movies started: his cinematic ambition.

Director Bong Joon-Ho attends a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Director Bong Joon-Ho attends a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

Bong said Wednesday that while Netflix never pushed for the theatrical release of his "Okja," he did so people could see it on the big screen. The controversy has hit home in South Korea, where the top three movie chains are refusing the film's simultaneous theatrical and Netflix debuts.

Actress Tilda Swinton poses during a promotional event for her latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Actress Tilda Swinton poses during a promotional event for her latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

"Okja" was one of two Netflix titles that competed at the Cannes Film Festival last month. But after an outcry from French exhibitors, Cannes changed its rules so only theatrically released films are accepted.

Actor Daniel Henshall poses with fans for a photograph during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Actor Daniel Henshall poses with fans for a photograph during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

Bong said Cannes should have sorted out the rule before inviting "Okja." He said directors are too busy making films to study French law.

Actor Steven Yeun poses with fans for a photo during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Actor Steven Yeun poses with fans for a photo during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Director Bong Joon-Ho poses with fans for a photo during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). © The Associated Press Director Bong Joon-Ho poses with fans for a photo during a promotional event for his latest film "Okja" in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The film will be released in South Korea on June 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).
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