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Monday, November 14, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/11-11/13, 2011)

Weekend of November 11-13:

TitleRelease DateWeekendTotal
1Punch10/20/11462,6703,382,457
2Immortals (us)11/10/11391,317490,466
3Real Steel (us)10/12/11175,2532,850,840
4You're My Pet11/10/11158,219208,344
5Penny Pinchers11/10/11111,793158,337
6In Time (us)10/27/1133,774523,998
7Couples11/2/1128,850307,340
8Always10/20/1123,065987,972
9The Help (us)11/3/1114,56989,441
10A Reason to Live10/27/117,26694,243
-The Kick11/3/116,11145,660
-Mr. Idol11/3/113,74269,878
-King of Pigs11/3/111,9917,786
-The Crucible9/22/118534,668,645
-The Client9/29/115422,395,115


Punch led another strong weekend at the Korean box office with a total 1.44 million tickets sold, of which  55% were for Korean films.  This represented a slight uptick for tickets sold but a drop for Korean market share versus the same weekend last year.  Though, of late, many Korean films have been underperforming, the slack has been picked up by a handful of particularly successful films.  It's great to see so many Korean films stack up millions of admissions but also a little worrying that this is happening at the expense of many other films which are barely registering with moviegoers.

Despite some big competition from the just-released Immortals, Punch scored its fourth consecutive win with another big 462,670.  This is the first time it has dropped since it release, though a 35% decline versus last week's final figures is nothing to be worried about, in fact that percentage will likely shrink as the final count is tallied for this weekend's receipts.  The well-received picture now sits on 3,382,457 and will quickly cross 4 million with a very good chance of challenging for 5.  It remains to be seen whether the word of mouth as reached it zenith.  Like Sunny earlier this year, it is not inconceivable that it will increase again.

Immortals opened with 391,347, a respectable figure given how it has done in other territories.  Real Steel added another 175,253 (a 40% drop) and is now within striking distance of the 3 million mark.  If it crosses it, it will be only the fifth non-Korean film to do so this year, an impressive result.

You're My Pet managed a 158,219 opening weekend without the benefit of any previews last week.  For a mid-level film this is an okay start but if it drops fast next week, it won't be seen as a satisfactory result.  Similarly Penny Pinchers went wide this weekend with 111,793, another so-so opening that will be tested this coming weekend.

Despite some positive word of mouth, Couples completely fell apart, dropping a catastrophic 84%.  People who have seen it have expressed surprise at the film, expecting something mediocre and being delighted to be contradicted.  Is this poor result the fault of bad marketing?  Why is it that people assumed this was going to be a bad film?  Perhaps it never had a chance.

Always fell hard again, about 70%, but 23,065 weekend has brought it very close to the 1 million mark, which it will likely cross in the next week or 10 days.  Not a bad result but still a little underwhelming.

In Time and The Help also saw considerable drops this weekend, though the former, with over half a million admissions has had a decent performance.

After all but disappearing from marquees last weekend, A Reason to Live has bounced back, growing nearly 200%.  Though the resulting 7,266 weekend is not necessarily something to be jubilant about.  Still, the film is set to cross 100,000 admissions now so it will save some face.

The other of last week's openers, The Kick and Mr. Idol, fell 80% and 90% respectively.  Even with significant media coverage, these films have completely floundered at the box office.  What went wrong exactly? The Kick's failure does not bode well for further Thai-Korean co-productions or indeed for martial arts films in general while the dud that is Mr. Idol seems to show little overlap between the K-Movie and K-Pop worlds.


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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