Sunday, February 5, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (02/03-02/05, 2012)

Nameless Gangster Leads the Charge as Local Films Clean Out the Competition

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 38.90% 917,379 1,092,987 701
2 Unbowed 1/18/12 16.40% 406,646 2,642,340 454
3 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 12.80% 322,688 2,734,699 436
4 Tarbosaurus 3D 1/26/12 11.20% 219,930 662,139 320
5 Papa 2/1/12 7.90% 213,946 292,295 414
6 Happy Feet 2 2/2/12 4.40% 99,405 109,141 312
7 Puss in Boots 1/12/12 3.50% 83,013 2,005,691 247
8 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 1/19/12 1.40% 36,000 1,119,487 174
9 I Don't Know How She Does It 2/2/12 1.30% 30,324 39,845 165
10 Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 12/15/11 0.70% 17,438 7,538,551 89

Local films dominated the marketplace this weekend as they took the top 5 spots and an 88% market share, effectively wiping out Hollywood's mark on Korean theaters over the time frame.  Total admissions stood at 2.36 million, a very healthy figure for this time of year.  The chief element of success was a strong variety of enticing projects which have mostly benefited from positive reactions.

Leading the charge was the hotly anticipated Nameless Gangster which did not disappoint, both with its positive notices and supercharged 917,379 opening weekend.  It's no small feat coming so close to the million mark at this time of year but even more encouraging in light of the strong competition from Lunar New Year's leading releases.  It will probably remain strong next weekend, likely taking the crown again but will face stiff competition thereafter following the debut of Howling.

Unbowed slowed a little over 40% in its third weekend, winding up with 406,646 which put it past 2.5 millin admissions.  Dancing Queen was next with 322,688, a 45% drop, it also crossed the 2.5 million mark.  Dancing Queen is still in the lead but Unbowed is likely to pull ahead before too long.  3 million is a guarantee for both but it will be interesting to see if they go further, especially Unbowed.

Tarbosaurus 3D dropped about a third and succeeded in lording over the numerous other children's offerings with its 219,930 take. It looks set to cross the one million mark before long, another feather in Korean animation's cap.

Papa also opened this weekend but was overwhelmed by immense local competition, finding itself lost amongst event pictures.  It pulled in 213,946 viewers in its opening bow and is not likely to improve on that in coming weeks.  Seeing how the slate was shaping up at the beginning of the year, the distributors probably should have considered pushing its release back to a less crowded weekend.

The next three entries in the chart were Hollywood kids movies Happy Feet 2 (99,405), Puss in Boots (83,013), and Journey 2: Mysterious Island (36,000).  Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle I Don't Know How She Does It was a non-starter with 30,324 while Mission Impossible 4 is now winding up its extraordinary run, amassing an additional 17,438.  Its 7,538,551 total is enormous but Transformers 3's chart-topping figure is now soundly out of reach.

The local industry is on a bit of a roll and I am now very curious to see how things will shake up over the next few weekends.  Howling pushed its release date back a week, a wise choice given Nameless Gangster's strong performance especially given the film's similar appeal.  So quick on its heels it might also have overloaded the marketplace, it is now being released February 16.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The War Horse are opening next weekend but neither stands a chance of knocking Nameless Gangster from its perch.  Korean doc Two Lines will also be bowing in limited release.


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 Sunday evening or 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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