|Parasite director Bong Joon-ho holds up one of the four Oscars his film won at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 9 / AFP-Yonhap|
By Kim Bo-eun
Two Korean banks are set to enjoy sizeable gains from their investments in local film "Parasite," which picked up four Oscars earlier this week.
Parasite made history by winning four trophies at this year's Academy Awards, including the highly-coveted best picture award, the first non-English language film to do so in the Oscars' 92-year history.
Woori Bank made an indirect investment of 300 million won ($254,000) in Parasite through a fund investing in Korean films.
Woori created the fund with investment firm Company K Partners in March 2017, investing 3 billion won. It has invested in other local box office hits, including Extreme Job, Money and Exit.
"We created the fund for the development of the Korean film industry, and we have seen box office hits from investments made so far," a Woori Bank official said.
"We expect about a 100 percent rate of return (from investments in Parasite)."
Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) also took part in indirect investments in Parasite. IBK invested 120 million won, and IBK Capital 160 million won.
IBK set up a division in charge of financing cultural content in 2012, and provided financial assistance for Korean films and dramas through investments and loans. It has set aside 2.7 trillion won for this purpose.
IBK invested 790 million won in Korea's highest grossing film "Extreme Job," and saw a 300 percent rate of return. The comedy raked in 140 billion won.
Other local films IBK invested in that gained popularity here include the "Along with the Gods" series.
Investments in films has emerged as a means of generating significant profit for banks, due to growing recognition of Korean films.
"Investments in the films also help because this has a promotion effect," an IBK official said.
Total sales of Parasite worldwide have nearly hit 200 billion won. Grosses are expected to continue to soar after the film's Oscar win. Parasite will double its theater count in the U.S. to up to 2,000 locations this weekend.
The comedy thriller also won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the award for best foreign language film at this year's Golden Globe Awards.