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South Korea’s Woori Bank profits by attaching itself to Oscar-winning film Parasite

Woori Bank’s investment in Parasite has paid off handsomely, as punters around the world flock to see the first foreign language winner of best picture.


Parasite director Bong Joon-ho with his Oscars

A pair of far-sighted investments in the Academy Award-winning film Parasite are set to pay hefty dividends to two of South Korea’s leading lenders.

Woori Bank pumped KRW300 million ($255,000) into the film two years ago, a spokesman in the bank’s investor relations department told Euromoney.

He said the investment was “purely a commercial decision”, and added: “We are all very proud [of its] success.” State-run Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) injected KRW120 million into the film at the same time, also indirectly and via an investment vehicle.

Both banks stand to make a mint from a film that, as of Monday, had grossed $176 million worldwide, according to IMDbPro, including $35 million in the US and $72 million in its home market.

On its release in October, director Bong Joon-ho said Parasite’s budget was one-fifth of his previous film, a Netflix release called Okja, which cost $50 million to make.

The nation’s lenders, hobbled by low margins at home, and struggling to embed themselves in more lucrative markets across Asia, are turning to mainstream pop culture to sell their wares to a new generation of customers

Based on that data and breaking down Parasite’s neatly round-numbered budget of $10 million means that Woori could have already pocketed a clean profit of $4.25

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