Park Seo Joon once again achieved success with “Concrete Utopia”, which captured both artistic merit and box office success.
As of September 13th, the film attracted a cumulative audience of 3,761,822 people, ensuring that it will cross the break-even point of 3.8 million this week. Released on September 9th as the final contender in the summer Korean film market among the “Big Four”, it is on the verge of becoming the second box office hit after “Smugglers (directed by Ryoo Seung Wan)”.
“Concrete Utopia” depicts the story of survivors gathering at the only remaining building in Seoul after the city was devastated by an earthquake. Despite the weighty subject matter and the overall somber atmosphere of the film, it achieved success driven by the power of its artistry. It was already a success based on favorable reviews for its cinematic quality alone.
With this film, Park Seo Joon, after 6 years since his last screen success with “Midnight Runners” in the summer of 2017, tasted success once again. While he hit home runs one after another on the small screen, he faced some disappointment in terms of box office success on the big screen with films like “The Divine Fury” (2019) and “Dream” (2023) after “Midnight Runners”.
Starting with “Dream High 2” (2012) and continuing with successful dramas like “Pots of Gold” (2013), “A Witch’s Love” (2014), “Kill Me, Heal Me” (2015), “She Was Pretty” (2015), “Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth” (2016), “Fight for My Way” (2017), “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” (2018), “Itaewon Class” (2020), Park Seo Joon excelled in leading roles in most of his dramas and showcased remarkable talents on variety shows as well.
With “Concrete Utopia”, he achieved a balance in his career. Park Seo Joon, known for his energetic and youthful performance alongside Kang Ha Neul in “Midnight Runners”, matured and solidified his growth as an actor with “Concrete Utopia”. Moreover, this film is unique as it marks his first collaboration with a distinguished senior actor since his early days as an actor. While he had led both dramas and films as a young actor, in “Concrete Utopia”, he managed to share the screen with Lee Byung Hun and created a presence of his own.
Of course, Park Seo Joon remains grounded and humble. In an interview around the release of “Concrete Utopia”, he stated, “As long as I continue acting, my filmography will continue to exist. There may be representative works, or there may not be, but I don’t want to be overly obsessed with it. I think of every project as fate. What I’ve accumulated so far is my current filmography. I don’t know what other connections will come in the future, but I want to always do my best and be faithful in every moment.“
With “Concrete Utopia”, Park Seo Joon attended the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, marking his first appearance on a large international film festival stage in his career. Additionally, the film was selected as Korean entry in the Best International Feature Film category for the 96th Academy Awards. The film’s success is a reflection of the achievements of its actors, and now Park Seo Joon’s global journey is being closely watched.
Park Seo Joon’s next projects include Netflix’s original series “Gyeongseong Creature” and the highly anticipated release of “The Marvels” in November. As one of the few Korean actors to join the Marvel Universe, fans eagerly anticipate what new role he will bring to the big screen.