Korean animated film to open in North America next month

December 17, 2013
A poster of “The Nut Job”

A poster of “The Nut Job”

‘The Nut Job’ will feature voices of Hollywood stars 

Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl  


By Baek Byung-yeul

It’s no secret that the Korean film industry has seen dramatic growth over the last decade. The latest example was Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” an English-language thriller that drew immediate interest at home and abroad.

Korea is now banking on its animated film sector to grow its international clout as well.

The government has invested millions of dollars into the upcoming film “The Nut Job,” a 3D animated movie jointly produced by Korean company Red Rover and Toronto-based visual effect house Toonbox Entertainment.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Tuesday that the film will be shown at over 3,000 theaters in the United States and Canada and will also be released in the United Kingdom from next month.

Based on Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short animation, the story depicts the adventures of Surly, a mischievous squirrel, and his friends, who plot to rob a nut store. Lepeniotis directed the feature-length film.

Of the total 45 billion won ($42.79 million) production costs, the state-run Exim Bank of Korea invested 7 billion won, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) invested 1 billion won and the Korea Creative Content Agency, 600 million won.

Canadian actor Will Arnett provides the voice of Surly and Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fraser lend their voices as well.

The ministry also revealed that Korean rapper Psy’s famous horse riding dance will make an appearance in the film.

Open Road Films, founded by the U.S. theater chain AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment will distribute the film in North America; Warner Brothers will distribute in the U.K., and Weinstein Company will handle other regions.

“The Nut Job” will be released in North America on Jan. 17 and in Korea on Jan. 29.