Monday, December 12, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (12/09-12/11, 2011)

Weekend of December 9-11:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Spellbound 12/1/11 590,232 1,391,938
2 The Adventures of Tintin (us) 12/7/11 407,330 477,771
3 Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (us) 11/30/11 249,656 1,227,325
4 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 124,832 520,821
5 SIU 11/24/11 110,119 1,041,647
6 Punch 10/20/11 97,314 5,226,346
7 Blitz (us) 12/8/11 31,609 45,831
8 Sunday Punch 12/7/11 28,568 39,733
9 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 23,977 3,568,936
10 Moneyball (us) 11/17/11 9,767 631,845
- Gilsotteum (1985)
1,692 1,692
- The Sleep Deeper Than Death (1979)
1,342 1,798
- Life Is Peachy 12/08/11 877 1,521
- The Forgotten Bag 11/17/11 624 5,339
- Dancing Cat 11/17/11 621 11,016

Another week at the 2011 Korean box office and another runaway word of mouth hit!  The year has seen quite its share of sleeper hits starting with Detective K and Clash of the Families in the first quarter before Sunny began its extraordinary run in May.  War of the Arrows, the least-awaited summer blockbuster became the year's biggest hit and the fall produced the controversial Silenced, the still-playing crowd-pleaser Punch, and now it looks as though the sophomore Spellbound may join their ranks.  A healthy 1.71 million tickets were sold this weekend, a slight uptick on last year's 1.67 and, encouragingly, the market share jumped 8 points to 49% despite only four Korean films on the chart.  Very impressive given the time of year, a season typically dominated by Hollywood holiday tentpoles.

The new No. 1 was the comedy/romance/horror blend Spellbound which, after a strong start last week, grew nearly 25% to 590,232.  The result is proof of the enduring popularity of the multi-genre pics in Korea and is reminiscent of last year's similar hit, the Cha Tae-hyun starring Hello Ghost, which ended its run with a little over 3 million admissions.  If Spellbound continues to generate good word of mouth it could easily surpass that but competition from American imports will be significant throughout December.

The Steven Spielberg-directed and Peter Jackson-produced motion capture animation Tintin opened in an enormous amount of theaters but only managed a 407,330 weekend.  A decent start but nothing to write home about.  The picture has had good reviews so perhaps it will benefit from good word of mouth down the line but this is far from certain.

Last week's No. 1, the fourth installment in the Twilight franchise, as expected saw much of its business eb away.  Though its sub-40% drop is not as devastating as it could have been.  At this rate it is unlikely to match its predecessor's final tally in Korea.  Arthur Christmas stayed relatively strong as it barely dropped, adding 124,832 to its total, though it started out with such a small figure that these small drops aren't making a hit out of it.

SIU lost about half of its business for a 110,119 weekend but managed to cross the one million admissions mark in the process though this will be its only major milestone.  Word of mouth hit Punch fell about 35% to 97,314 in its eighth week as it winds down it remarkable run.  The six million admission mark is probably out of reach.

Blitz, a Jason Statham action film that went straight-to-DVD in the US had a minor opening.  The Korean Sunday Punch opened to a weak 28,568 but it wasn't a platform release.  Real Steel and Moneyball added 23,977 and 9,767, respectively, to their totals.

Outside the Top 10:  Re-releases Gilsotteum and The Sleep Deeper Than Death sold 1,692 and 1,342 tickets; the lesbian drama Life Is Peachy sold only 877 tickets; and documentaries The Forgotten Bag and Dancing Cat added 624 and 621 tickets to their hauls.

Next Weekend:  The gangster film Too Many Villains opens.

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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