Sunday, March 11, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (03/09-03/11, 2012)

Helpless Continues Korean Hot Streak With First Place Finish

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Helpless 3/8/12 35.60% 606,548 685,016 547
2 John Carter of Mars (us) 3/8/12 24.90% 368,197 413,150 511
3 Love Fiction 2/29/12 14.90% 251,821 1,477,986 434
4 This Means War (us) 2/29/12 8.60% 145,037 583,016 306
5 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 5.50% 93,198 4,570,798 301
6 Stanley's Tiffin Box (in) 3/8/12 1.30% 24,847 33,395 162
7 Howling 2/16/12 1.30% 24,162 1,583,645 240
8 Legends of Valhalla: Thor (ic) 2/9/12 1.10% 20,348 739,037 169
9 Safe House (us) 2/29/12 0.90% 15,157 155,265 180
10 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 0.80% 14,701 4,000,931 114

The Korean Film industry's hot streak continues as a local film has led the marketplace for the 8th consecutive week.  This week's new leader is the 6th Korean film to occupy the spot in the past two months.  The more recent Korean films haven't been word of mouth hits like those earlier this year but nevertheless business is good and next week will likely yield yet another new Korean film in pole position.   Let's look at how this week's films fared.

Coming in first place was the new thriller Helpless which stirred up a little bit of controversy earlier this year when one of its one sheets was deemed too risqué and subsequently banned from promotional use.  The film opened with a very healthy 606,548 and reviews have generally been positive.  Given the sophomore stints of a lot of the past few weeks' films it's hard to day how it will hold up, not to mention another big opener bowing in a few days.

John Carter, the $250 million dollar Disney sci-fi pic bombed in the US this weekend but seemed to have slightly better luck in Korea with a decent 368,197 admissions during its opening.  It's not an enormous figure but the property is not known in the east so it performed about as well as could be expected.  Given the film's mediocre reviews, it is unlikely that this will stick around for long but it is not impossible that it could build an audience.  There's a deficit of sci-fi product in the country so this could potentially fill that spot.

Love Fiction saw a fairly steep 55% decline after its big opening which left it with 251,821.  It's a shade below 1.5 million admissions in total and shouldn't have much trouble crossing two.  It was strong out of the gate but looks to be fading fast.

This Means War dropped two spots to number four as it added 145,037 to its total, this represented a healthy 30% drop.  With more weekends like this it could cross the 1 million mark before long.

Nameless Gangster dropped again, this time 50% for 93,198.  It has 4.57 million admissions stowed away but seems less and less likely to make it to the big 5 mark though.  Of course that's just an arbitrary milestone as the film has of course been extremely successful.

Indian film Stanley's Tiffin Box opened with 24,847, a strong figure for a South Asian Film though nowhere near as impressive as 3 Idiot's run last summer.

Howling slipped three spots and was off 77% as it took another 24,162.  Sadly this looks like the end of the line for this well-liked film that simply got lost in the shuffle.

Icelandic animation Legends of Valhalla: Thor is hanging in there as it spends a 5th week in the top 10 with 20,348 take.  It won't cross the one million mark but getting past 750,000 will be seen as a strong achievement.

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House completely crumbled after it's already disastrous opening as it pulled in a meager 15,157 after a 78% drop.   We won't be hearing about this one anymore.

Closing out the top 10 is likely the last appearance of Dancing Queen as it shed half its theaters and slowed over 70%.  However its 14,701 weekend was enough to just cross over the four million mark, a fitting milestone to commemorate its very impressive box office run.

Next week the big new release will be Russian Coffee (Gabi) which will seek to push Helpless out of top spot.  I imagine it will though I am not expecting any gargantuan figure for its opening.  The film has had a troubled production and I'm not sure how high interest is, though certainly awareness is widespread.  Also opening is Hollywood romance The Vow and Chinese epic 1911.


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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