SEOUL, Korea, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) – As the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster movie began in Seoul last weekend, Seoulites showed mixed reactions to inconveniences caused by blocking traffic for the shootings.
The shooting of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” began on March 30 at Mapo Bridge and of the nearby small floating island in the Han River. The bridge linking northern Seoul to Yoido, the main financial district in Seoul, was blocked for the shooting for the whole day and no one was allowed to access the bridge except the filming crew, which caused heavy traffic jams in nearby routes.
Citizens who gathered at the scene hoping to witness the historic filming in their eyes had to go home empty-handed. They were seriously cordoned and restricted from taking photos even from far away. Even then, the movie makers remarked possible lawsuits against people taking photos on the scene which can be spoiler images.
The main point of the negative reactions on the filming is the inconvenience caused by the traffic control. The Korean government is now supporting the shooting in an unprecedented degree by blocking bridges or main roads for the movie filming arguing the shooting in Seoul can raise the image of Korea in the world. But Seoul citizens had only to take detours.
Also, some complained that the inconveniences Seoul citizens had to endure are only for the profit of the movie after the first day of the shooting. There were SNS messages saying, “Seoul is already suffering huge traffic jams. Why should we suffer more for filming a foreign movie?” “Seoul should focus on the lives of the residents in the city, not on the filming of Avengers 2.”
However, there were also positive responses as it is the first Hollywood movie shooting in the country, which offered a rare chance for Koreans to experience it firsthand. They said, “We came home with a good memory. The success of the movie will positively raise Korea’s image. It will be good to see our city in the world’s famous movie.”
Avengers Marketing Gears Up
As many looked forward to seeing the first shooting of Avengers 2, there was an extraordinary sales increase in telescopes in Korea. According to an Internet shopping site, the sales of telescopes for the last ten days (Mar 18-27) increased 62 percent over the same period of the previous year. A hotel in Yoido which oversees Mapo Bridge received 30 percent more guests than usual.
An official at the shopping site said, “People bought the telescopes to watch the shooting scenes of the movie in their eyes. It seems that banning photos stimulated people’s curiosity more.”
Also, as people’s interests in the movie Avengers increased, the sales related to the movie heroes increased, too. The sales of Avengers hero masks of Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk increased 43 percent for the same period.
The filming will continue through April 14 on Cheongdam Grand Bridge in Gangnam, Sangam Digital Media City, and in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province. The movie will be released in North America in May.
Dead Body in the Shooting Scene
Meanwhile, while the American crew was shooting the movie on the bridge, a dead body floated to the surface under the bridge. A security member waiting on a boat found the badly decomposed body and reported it to the police.
Later, the body was identified as a 20-year-old man, who was reported missing by his family on March 10. He was reported gone missing after sending text messages expressing his despair to his family members.
In fact, Mapo Bridge is notorious as a suicide spot in Seoul. Among other bridges on the Han River, the bridge has attracted the most suicide attempts over the past five years, with the tally standing at 108. Some 48 of them died.
To curve the trend, Samsung Life Insurance, Korea’s largest life insurance company, designated the bridge as the “Bridge of Life” last year to prevent suicides on the bridge. With the campaign Samsung Life gained lots of spotlights both domestically and internationally and honored various international awards with the campaign.
Ironically, now more people are coming to the bridge and drowning themselves into the river. After the campaign, suicide attempts increased by four-folds according to the police. Some critics said that the popularity as the bridge of life raised the reputation that there were many suicides in the bridge, too.
Written by John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)