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Monday, January 2, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (12/30, 2011 - 01/01, 2012)

Korean Films Outdone By Hollywood as 2012 Gets Underway

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (us) 12/15/11 1,013,668 5,386,797
2 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (us) 12/21/11 448,287 1,432,109
3 My Way 12/21/11 416,646 1,735,608
4 Perfect Game 12/21/11 238,191 890,261
5 Friends Naki on Monster Island (jp) 12/29/11 166,347 203,118
6 Spellbound 12/1/11 147,183 2,819,392
7 The Lion King 3D (us) 12/29/11 139,178 170,962
8 Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Reshiram (jp) 12/22/11 75,759 285,518
9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (us) 12/15/11 61,468 516,727
10 Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Zekrom (jp) 12/22/11 57,113 234,721
- Ryang-kang-do: Merry Christmas, North! 11/17/11 693 10,172
- My Barefoot Friend 12/15/11 301 2,498
- Punch 10/20/11 181 5,316,625
- Green Days: Dinosaur and I 6/23/11 136 51,622
- ●REC 11/24/11 80 2,843

Business was on par with the last New Year's weekend, with 2.8 million tickets sold but whereas Korean films accounted for a 70% market share last year, this time around they cobbled together a measly 30% as yet another high profile Korean blockbuster has floundered and Hollywood fare has proven more palatable to local audiences.

For the third straight weekend, Tom Cruise's fourth Mission Impossible has taken the top spot and once again with over a million admissions.  It's 1,013,668 take has increased its haul to an exceptional 5,386,797 which already good enough for No. 4 on the 2011 chart.  Sherlock Holmes 2 also held very well as it receded only 10% for a 448,287 take.

Meanwhile, all the buzz surrounding MI4 has sapped any interest domestic viewers had in taking in Jang Je-kyu's enormous WWII spectacle My Way as it has dropped 45% to 416,646 after a very disappointing opening weekend.  It has now banked 1,735,608 in 12 days, a shockingly low figure for a film that cost 30 billion won to produce.  It is about to open in Japan where it will need to do serious business if it hopes to stand a chance of recouping its production costs.

The Perfect Game dropped about a third to 238,191, also after an unimpressive start.  Competition has been fierce but perhaps audiences were given too many baseball pictures this year after Kang Woo-suk's GLove and Kim Sang-jin's underperforming Fighting Spirit, not to mention the Brad Pitt starring Moneyball which played very recently.

Spellbound was the lone bright spot for local films as it held well, dropping only 20% for 147,183.  It looks set to cross the 3 million mark, a milestone that My Way may not reach.

The rest of the top 10 was filled with Japanese animes and Hollywood kids fare while outside the top 10, Korean films barely registered.

Next week, Wonderful Radio opens but it has been getting poor reviews and I can't imagine it will be the film to unseat MI4 which seems destined for a fourth victory lap.  Business will pick up for local fare in a few weeks with the Lunar Day holiday weekend but until then, things look pretty grim.

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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