Monday, October 3, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (09/30-10/02, 2011)

Weekend of September 30 - October 2, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 The Crucible 9/22/11 911,179 2,501,300
2 The Client 9/29/11 480,049 640,454
3 Countdown 9/29/11 145,775 219,271
4 Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon 8/10/11 91,886 7,245,651
5 Abduction (us) 9/29/11 64,972 82,045
6 From up on Poppy Hill (jp) 9/29/11 61,370 65,924
7 Mr. Popper's Penguins (us) 9/7/11 30,086 916,939
8 Contagion (us) 9/22/11 21,501 207,766
9 The Killer Elite (us) 9/22/11 12,828 147,049
10 Marrying the Mafia IV 9/7/11 11,227 2,345,076
- Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild       7/27/11 4,435 2,183,191
- Pained         7/9/11 3,658 696,117
- Champ         7/9/11 1,215 530,801
- The Day He Arrives         8/9/11 1,013 37,169

Business picked up a little this week over the last two with nearly 1.9 million admissions counted over the weekend. Two big Korean film opened wide and while only five films in the top 10, four of those led the marketplace and took a hefty 87.2% of business. Of the other five films, three were American holdovers (Mr. Popper's Penguins, Contagion and The Killer Elite), and the two midlevel openers were Abduction from Hollywood and the new Studio Ghibli film From Up on Poppy Hill from Japan.

Once again The Crucible (aka Silenced) dominated the marketplace with a staggering 911,179 tickets sold, this represents a huge 33% increase over last week's already impressive opening. With 2.5 million already tucked away (which puts it at No.7 on the yearly domestic chart), The Crucible should well in the coming weeks and may finds itself very high up the chart before long.

Last week yielded some solid preview figures for The Client, and it looked like a good bet to come in first this week. It managed 480,049, a strong number for this kind of film and this time of year but it barely managed to earn half of The Crucible's second weekend, which clearly ate into its potential earnings. However the buzz has been building on this film due in large part to an agressive marketing campaign so it may yet conjure up some big numbers.

The other wide Korean release this week was Countdown, the new thriller starring Jeon Do-yeon and Jang Jae-yeong. Reviews have been good but the film only managed a disappointing 145,755 admissions in its first frame despite the strong pedigree attached. This kind of figure seems to reinforce the notion that star wattage is dwindling at the Korean box office in favor of strong ensemble cast. Last month's Hindsight seemed to suffer a similar fate.

Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon dropped 38% this week for a 91,886 weekend. Its total, which stands at 7,245,651 is within 130,000 of Sunny's chart-topping performance. It should pass it within the next two weeks unless it crashes out very quickly but will not go any further.

Marrying the Mafia IV all but disappeared from the marketplace with a minuscule 11,227 as it finished out its run. Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, Pained and Champ are still hanging around with very small takes while Hong Sang-soo's The Day He Arrives added another 1,013 to brings its total to 37,169.

The Crucible is all but guaranteed to stay up top next week as there will be no significant openings. The only wide Korean release will be Kim Sang-jin's new film Fighting Spirit, a baseball-themed comedy-drama.

The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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