The Tower (film)

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The Tower
The Tower2012-poster.jpg
Promotional poster for The Tower
Hangul 타워
Revised Romanization Tawo
McCune–Reischauer T‘awŏ
Directed by Kim Ji-hoon
Produced by Lee Han-seung
Lee Su-man
Written by Kim Sang-don
Heo Jun-seok
Starring Sol Kyung-gu
Kim Sang-kyung
Son Ye-jin
Music by Kim Tae-seong
Cinematography Kim Young-ho
Edited by Kim Sang-bum
Kim Jae-bum
The Tower Pictures
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Release dates
  • December 25, 2012 (2012-12-25)
Running time
121 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget US$9.3 million
Box office US$36,433,246[1]

The Tower (Hangul타워; RRTawo; "Tower") is a 2012 South Korean disaster thriller film about a fire that breaks out in a luxury skyscraper in central Seoul on Christmas Eve. The film is directed by Kim Ji-hoon,[2] and stars Sol Kyung-gu, Kim Sang-kyung and Son Ye-jin in the lead roles.[3][4] It was released in theaters on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012.[5]


Lee Dae-ho (Kim Sang-kyung) is a single father and manager of the 120 story luxurious landmark building complex, Tower Sky in Yeouido, Seoul. He is an earnest employee liked by his colleagues and is secretly in love and secretly even wanted to marry with Seo Yoon-hee (Son Ye-jin), a restaurant manager. The owner of the complex, Mr. Jo decides to hold a "White Christmas" party for tenants and VIPs on Christmas Eve, with helicopters circling above with huge lights attached below them, sprinkling snow onto the party. Dae-ho has promised to spend the day at an amusement park with his daughter Ha-na, but had to cancel when he is needed at the party. However, the building has faulty water sprinklers due to frozen pipes, but Mr. Cha, the Tower Sky's safety section head, is more concerned for the party than any possible architectural errors within the building, despite warnings from his fellow employers about these errors. (One example of their warnings is when cook Young-cheol (Jeon Bae-soo) accidentally leaves a stove on for too long and causes a minor fire.) Young-cheo is in love with a receptionist within the building named Min-jung, and even sneaks out of the kitchen while on duty to make her an ice cream. Meanwhile, Lee Seon-woo (Do Ji-han) is a rookie fireman entering the Yeouido Fire Station. When he gets accepted, he learns that many of the firefighters get more breaks than actual firefighting. In a prank to fool Seon-woo, the other firefighters ring the fire alarm for the squad to assemble while he takes a shower, causing him to appear in front of his entire team naked, much to the other firefighters' and even his own pleasure as they put his helmet on him for the first time.

While the party is in full swing, and while Young-cheo proposes a rose to Min-jung in an elevator, huge gusts of wind cause one of the helicopters to lose control and the attached lights crash into the glass bridge connecting the two Tower Sky buildings and into a side of one of the buildings. Another one of the helicopters then crashes into the building, causing the helicopter to leak fuel and the building catches fire. Shards of glass fall onto the partygoers below, which include Mr. Yoon (Song Jae-ho) and his friend Mrs. Jung (Lee Joo-shil), while another one of the huge lights falls and crashes onto a bus. At one point, while evacuating, some people, including a security guard, board an elevator despite warnings not to use it, as the security guard rejects Yoon-hee and Ha-na from entering just as they are about to board. While traveling down, an explosion occurs below the elevator, which stops it in its path. This literally fries the people inside while melting their shoes until the elevator explodes, killing everyone in it. Dae-ho moves quickly to save Ha-na, Yoon-hee and his colleagues. At the same time, firefighters Kang Young-ki (Sol Kyung-gu) and Seon-woo fight to bring the blaze under control, helping Dae-ho in the process. Together they fight to save the lives of everyone. While Yoon-hee, Ha-na, Young-cheol, Ming-jung and the others take refuge in the building's Chinese restaurant, the firefighters decide to contain the blaze at its origin, the 63rd floor, where the helicopter crashed. Despite containing the fire on that floor, it spreads further within the building. In the end, Young-ki sacrifices his own life to save not only Seon-woo, but for all people in the future, as he detonates a bomb to demolish the building, in order to prevent it from being damaged any further.[6][7][8]


  • Sol Kyung-gu – Captain Kang Young-ki
  • Kim Sang-kyung – Lee Dae-ho
  • Son Ye-jin – Seo Yoon-hee[9][10][11][12]
  • Kim In-kwon – Sergeant Oh Byung-man
  • Ahn Sung-kiYeouido Fire Station chief
  • Song Jae-ho – Mr. Yoon, the old man
  • Lee Joo-shil – Mrs. Jung, Mr. Yoon's friend
  • Lee Han-wi – Mr. Kim, church elder
  • Kwon Tae-won – Jang, the Fire Commissioner
  • Jeon Guk-hyang – Ae-ja
  • Jung In-gi – Cha, the safety section head
  • Cha In-pyo – President Jo
  • Jeon Bae-soo – Young-cheol, the cook
  • Kim Sung-oh – In-geon
  • Min Young – Nam-ok, the pregnant woman
  • Park Jun-seo – aide
  • Lee Joo-ha – Min-jung, the receptionist
  • Do Ji-han – Lee Seon-woo, the rookie fireman[13]
  • Jo Min-ah – Lee Ha-na, Dae-ho's daughter
  • Lee Sang-hong – Yeouido fireman
  • Jin Mo – Yeouido fireman
  • Chu Min-ki – Yeouido fireman
  • Kang Poong – Yeouido fireman
  • Kwon Hyun-sang – Young-hoon
  • Lee Chang-yong – command HQ specialist
  • Lee Chang-joo – Jo's private secretary
  • Park Chul-min – head cook
  • Kim Eung-soo – Jin
  • Park Jeong-hak – Jung
  • Park Yong-su – Park
  • Nam Sang-seok – reporter in front of Tower Sky
  • Kwon Young-hee – reporter in front of Tower Sky
  • Lee Min-woo – reporter in front of Tower Sky

English Cast[edit]


Director Kim Ji-hoon (who previously helmed Sector 7 and May 18) was inspired by the 1974 Hollywood film The Towering Inferno, and his personal experience seeing the 63 Building in Seoul for the first time as a middle school student and imagining how it would feel to be trapped inside.[2]

The crew built 26 different sets to create various spaces in the fictional 108-story Tower Sky such as a Chinese restaurant, elevators and a pedestrian overpass between the two blocks. For the scenes involving water on the 80th floor, actors Sol Kyung-gu and Kim Sang-kyung filmed in a water container set in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province, without using stuntmen.[14]

Kim worked on the film's post-production for two years. 1,700 cuts out of 3,000 were based on CGI and 500 of the CG cuts were full 3-D cut scenes. For more authenticity, live action shoots were combined with CGI, such as the shooting of a miniature in the United States with a motion control camera for the ending scene.[2]

Box office[edit]

On its theater release on December 25, 2012, The Tower drew 431,759 admissions, the second highest opening day ticket sales in the history of Korean cinema (after the The Thieves' 436,628).[15][16][17] It sold two million tickets in its first week,[18] 3.54 million by its second week,[19] and 4.45 million by its third week.[20] On January 22, 2013, it became the first Korean film in 2013 to reach the five million mark.[21][22][23][24]


The film was pre-sold by CJ Entertainment to Entertainment One in UK, Splendid in Germany, Benelux, Zylo for French-speaking territories, Horizon International in Turkey, Rainbow Entertainment in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia; and Jonon Source in Mongolia.[25]

The Tower earned HK$4,733,937 at the Hong Kong box office.[26]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2013 Baeksang Arts Awards
2013 Mnet 20's Choice Awards
  • Nomination - 20's Booming Star, Male - Do Ji-han
2013 Buil Film Awards
  • Nomination - Best Cinematography - Kim Young-ho
2013 Grand Bell Awards
  • Technical Award - Digital Idea (visual effects)


  1. ^ "The Tower (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  2. ^ a b c Park, Eun-jee (21 December 2012). "The Tower stands tall as a classic disaster film with a human side". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  3. ^ Hong, Lucia (22 March 2011). "Son Ye-jin, Sul Kyung-gu, Kim Sang-kyung cast for action pic". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  4. ^ Kim, Hyun-min; Lee, Eun-sun (21 December 2012). "THE TOWER's SOL Kyung-gu & SON Ye-jin: Actors' Experience from the Desperate Survival Drama". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  5. ^ Suk, Monica (23 October 2012). "Seol Kyung-gu, Son Ye-jin's Rescue Drama Arriving in Theaters in December". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  6. ^ "Line up: The Tower (2012)". CJ Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-06-29. 
  7. ^ "The Tower (2012)". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  8. ^ Elley, Derek (9 February 2013). "The Tower". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  9. ^ Lee, Claire (17 December 2012). "Queen of romance returns in disaster flick". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  10. ^ Son, Jin-ah (19 December 2012). "Son Ye Jin talks about casting in Tower". StarN News. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  11. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (23 December 2012). "Interview: Son Ye Jin Says She Loves Her 30s". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  12. ^ Han, Jae-hee (27 December 2012). "Son Ye-jin a pillar of support in The Tower". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  13. ^ An, So-hyoun (13 January 2013). "Interview: Do Ji Han Calls Tower a Gift". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  14. ^ Kim, Hyun-min (28 December 2012). "An Epic Film Capable of Moving Hearts: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Production of TOWER". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  15. ^ Kim, Hyun-min (27 December 2012). "The Opening Score of THE TOWER Second Best in Korean Film History". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  16. ^ Kim, Nemo (26 December 2012). "Opening Score of Tower 2nd Best in Korean History". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  17. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (27 December 2012). "The Tower stands tall on first day". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  18. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (2 January 2013). "The Tower is No. 1 at the box office". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  19. ^ "The Tower Still Drawing Moviegoers". The Chosun Ilbo. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  20. ^ Kim, Hyun-min (15 January 2013). "THE TOWER Surpasses 4,450,000 in 21 Days". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  21. ^ Oh, Mi-jung; Kim, Erika (22 January 2013). "Tower Becomes First Movie of the Year to Pass 5 Million". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  22. ^ "Tower exceeds 5 million mark in attendance". Yonhap. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  23. ^ Carla, Sunwoo (24 January 2013). "Tower exceeds 5 million views". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  24. ^ "The Tower Draws Over 5 Million Moviegoers". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  25. ^ "CJ and Showbox close a bevy of international sales". Korean Film Biz Zone. Korean Film Council. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  26. ^ "The Tower". HK Neo Reviews. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 

External links[edit]