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Monday, March 26, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (03/23-03/25, 2012)

Architecture 101 Finds Its Way to Number 1

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Architecture 101 3/22/12 34.20% 565,020 716,681 592
2 Untouchable (fr) 3/22/12 23.90% 393,639 443,249 454
3 Helpless 3/8/12 20.00% 324,520 2,123,853 473
4 John Carter (us) 3/8/12 5.00% 82,464 803,745 258
5 Chronicle (us) 3/15/12 3.80% 63,475 359,360 288
6 This Means War (us) 2/29/12 3.10% 49,381 824,206 173
7 Russian Coffee 3/15/12 1.90% 32,084 253,711 256
8 Contraband (us) 3/22/12 1.90% 30,446 37,360 179
9 Space Dogs 3D (ru) 3/22/12 1.20% 22,781 23,323 148
10 The Vow (us) 3/14/12 1.40% 21,712 227,764 210

The dominance of local product at the Korean box office shows no signs of abating as yet another Korean film has topped the chart for the tenth week in a row.  It was once again a healthy weekend for this time of year with 1.65 million tickets sold and a 56% indigenous market share, well ahead of last year's 1.1 million and 37%.  Local films managed this feat with only three entries in the top ten, in fact, despite holding five of the spots, Hollywood films accounted for a meager 16%.

The new number one this week was the cross-generational romance film Architecture 101, from Lee Yong-ju, the director of the excellent K-horror Possessed (2009).  The film took in 565,020 admissions this past weekend and a commanding one third of the total marketplace.  Reviews are good so it may stick around but then again that's been the case for most of the recent spat of Korean films so it's hard to predict how this will continue down the line.  It will also have a fresh local release to contend with in a few days time.

The surprise opener at number two was the French movie Untouchable, a remarkable little film that has become the most successful in that territory of the past few years.  It's 393,639 haul is enormous for a non-US/Korean release although I was told that the marketing push for it was significant.  This film has quickly been winning over audiences all around the world so it may catch on here and a week-on-week increase is not out of the question.

Dropping two spots was Helpless as it took a further 324,520 tickets in its third week.  It has cleared the two million mark and will now be hoping to take down three before long.  I imagine it has a good chance at this but given the last few months, where a number of successful films have suddenly faded away quickly, it will have to remain stable for a few more weeks to secure the milestone.

John Carter dropped one spot but nearly 60% for a 82,464 weekend.  Disney has already accepted defeat on this picture as it was announced that they were writing it down to the tune of $200 million earlier this week.

In its sophomore week, Chronicle receded a hefty 70% for a poor 63,475.  The high concept picture could still land just north of the half million mark but that's not much to write home about.

This Means War, now in its fourth week, actually went up one spot event though it lost 40% of its business.  Its 49,381 weekend brings its total to a respectable 824,206.

After a dismal opening Russian Coffee has crumbled.  It was off nearly 80% for a 32,084 take and now the $5 million picture will likely end up with less than 350,000 admissions.

Mark Whalberg's new action/thriller Contraband was a no-show as it debuted at number eight with a puny 30,446 tickets.  Meanwhile Russian animation Space Dogs 3D made little impact at number nine with its 22,781 start.  Rounding out the top 10 was the second week of The Vow which tumbled 80% after an already poor opening for a 21,712 frame.

The Ryoo Seung-beom and Lee Beom-su black comedy Over My Dead Body opens next week and stands a good chance of taking over the top spot, though Architecture 101 could hold it or Untouchable might sneak in and grab it.  Another contender is Wrath of the Titans which follows Clash of the Titans, a sizable hit in Korea during 2010.  I don't think that this one will go over as well but it may still be enough.  Should be interesting to see which of these four take next week's crown!


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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