Sony Pictures Television International has inked its first distribution agreement with leading Korean producer and distributor CJ Entertainment. Though the deal initially involves two movies, SPTI see


SEOUL (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Sony Pictures Television International has inked its first distribution agreement with leading Korean producer and distributor CJ Entertainment. Though the deal initially involves two movies, SPTI sees the agreement as a key move into the burgeoning Korean market.

Ross Pollack, senior VP distribution for Asia at SPTI, said in an interview that SPTI is keen to expand its involvement with Korea, perhaps even moving into local production if a good opportunity presents itself.

Korea has been one of the strongest markets in Asia for years and is in the midst of a major boom in its local film industry. Korean movies now comprise nearly 60% of the local market, up from 25% in 1997, and exports have soared from $500,000 to $60 million in the same period. CJ Media is the country's leading movie exporter.

Under the current Korean deal, SPTI will handle the Asian television distribution rights, excluding Japan, to two Korean movies: "The Greatest Expectations" and "How to Keep My Love."

Mark Shaw, CFO and head of international at CJ Entertainment, says: "CJ Entertainment is committed to providing better access to Korean content to the rest of the world."

CJ Entertainment was Korea's top distributor in 2004, releasing 36 films and garnering 25% of the entire market. Its exhibition affiliate, CJ CGV, is Korea's biggest cinema circuit.