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Monday, December 19, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (12/16-12/18, 2011)

Weekend of December 16-18:


Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (us) 12/15/11 1,079,510 1,305,581
2 Spellbound 12/1/11 313,159 2,028,187
3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked (us) 12/15/11 134,916 142,865
4 The Adventures of Tintin (us) 12/7/11 78,342 639,251
5 Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (us) 11/30/11 61,730 1,397,968
6 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 34,536 571,281
7 The Perfect Game 12/21/11 32,364 45,958
8 Punch 10/20/11 24,895 5,300,134
9 SIU 11/24/11 11,568 1,102,645
10 The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall (uk) 12/15/11 5,350 6,193
- The Final Blow 12/7/11 2,323 56,846
- The Life of a Woman (1968) 1,748 2,551
- My Way 12/21/11 1,192 7,145
- Ryang-kang-do: Merry Christmas, North! 11/17/11 468 9,329
- Amen 12/8/11 360 969


Domestic business took a big hit this past weekend as Korean films were mostly shut out by Hollywood competition.  It was a similar story last year when the seventh Harry Potter film combined with other American fare to shut local movies out.  Admissions were down slightly year-on-year (1.85 versus 1.8 million) as was the Korean market share (22% versus 26%) but it was close and next weekend will no doubt see a big bounce for local products as we wrap up the year.

Tom Cruise's publicity tour of the peninsula seems to have paid off as his new installment in the Mission Impossible, Ghost Protocol, had an enormous 1,079,510 opening weekend.  This accounted for 60% of all business through the three days.  Reviews are positive but competition will be very fierce next weekend when it is likely to cede its crown but perhaps the Christmas frame will be big enough to allow to retain much of its business.

Last week's surprise No. 1 Spellbound, which had increased over an already strong start, lost a little under half its business in its third weekend, no doubt succumbing to foreign competition.  It has already banked over two million admissions and will still eek out a little more but the three million looks to be out of reach.

Hollywood took the next four spots, starting with the new Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel, subtitled Chip-wrecked, which underperformed, just as it did the US.  Its 134,916 take was below its predecessor.  The Adventures of Tintin crumbled over 80% and was left with 78,342.  The new Twilight lost a similar amount, falling to 61,730.  Arthur Christmas, the third Hollywood kids film in the top 6, receded 70% for 34,536. 

Korean baseball pic The Perfect Game scored 32,364 in previews ahead of next weeks opening.  Punch saw another decline that brought it down to 24,895 and now has 5,300,134 admissions to date.  SIU lost 90% of its business as it added 11,568 during its last round in the top 10.  Rounding out the chart was The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall, a UK production of the famed musical.

Outside the top 10:  The Final Blow added 2,323 to its haul; 1968 film The Life of a Woman was rereleased and sold 1,748 tickets; My Way filled 1,192 seats in very limited previews; Documentary Ryang-kang-do: Merry Christmas, North! added 468 to its run; and Kim Ki-duk's Amen sold 360 tickets in limited engagements, he claims that there will be no further exhibitions for the film, nor will it become available on DVD, we'll see...

Next Week:  Kang Je-gyu's enormous pan-asian WWII blockbuster My Way looks set to pulverize the box office and coudl set some record numbers.  Also opening will be The Perfect Game which had strong previews this week.  Should be quite a weekend!


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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