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Monday, March 5, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (03/2-03/4, 2012)

Love Fiction and Ha Jung-woo Conquer the Marketplace

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Love Fiction 2/29/12 37.60% 567,529 1,013,532 615
2 This Means War (us) 2/29/12 13.90% 212,387 337,149 351
3 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 12.90% 194,585 4,399,127 350
4 Howling 2/16/12 6.40% 103,240 1,531,667 372
5 Man on a Ledge (us) 2/22/12 4.50% 70,935 546,532 284
6 Safe House (us) 2/29/12 4.40% 70,148 115,418 291
7 Act of Valor (us) 2/29/12 3.50% 54,371 99,208 222
8 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 3.20% 51,315 3,966,611 220
9 Legends of Valhalla: Thor (ic) 2/9/12 2.50% 42,211 717,099 249
10 Hugo (us) 2/29/12 2.00% 22,400 40,418 85

The dominance of local films shows no signs of abating as yet another high profile Korean release has clinched the top spot.  March is typically a very slow time for theaters but nevertheless over 1.5 million tickets were sold over the past weekend, a 20% increase over last year's similar frame.  Meanwhile Korean films accounted for a very healthy 60% of business which more than doubled last year's result.

As predicted Love Fiction came in strong with a big first place finish as it sold 567,529 tickets and has already accumulated over a million admissions since its release.  Ha Jung-woo has the distinction of starring in two of the chart's top three films and there is no question that he has become a significant draw for as top billing.  Word of mouth seems decent on this pic and it should continue to do some strong business though competition will be very fierce with a number of high profile local and foreign releases opening in the coming weeks.

Hollywood romance-action film This Means War floundered in America so its 212,387 take here comes as a bit of a surprise though it is by no means an exceptional figure.  In any case it won't last as it will likely crumble in its sophomore frame against heavy competition.

Nameless Gangster continues its strong run though it did slow 45% this past week as it wound up with another 194,585.  It has 4.4 million admissions stacked way so far and it may struggle to reach the big 5 million milestone though stands a fighting chance of reaching the mark.  It is certainly the early hit of 2012 and may be some time before another film unseats it at the top of the chart.

Howling meanwhile continues its disappointing performance as it dropped 60% for a 103,240 take.  Word of mouth has been strong for the film but it got lost amidst so many unexpected hits in February.  At this rate it may not even reach the 2 million threshold.  After the failure of last year's Hindsight, could it be that Song Kang-ho's drawing power is fading?

Man on a Ledge crumbled over 70% in its sophomore frame as it added 70,935 tickets to its haul.  Hollywood's Denzel Washington genre pic Safe House failed to find a mark as it opened with 70,148.  Act of Valor, wich surprised in the US last week, didn't find an audience in Korea as it sold only 54,371 tickets during its opening.

Dancing Queen fell 65% as it added 51,315 admissions to its take.  However, it should cross the 4 million mark in a few days and that is a very impressive achievement.

Icelandic animation film Legends of Valhalla: Thor finished with a 42,211 weekend for 9th place while Martin Scorsese's 3D pic Hugo disappointed as it took the 10th spot with a measly 22,400.

Next week there are no less than eight Korean films opening including the highly-anticipated Helpless which is getting some strong reviews.  Meanwhile major Hollywood blockbuster John Carter will also be opening.  I think Helpless will take the crown as the John Carter proprety is not in itself going to be a draw for local audiences.  In any case Korean cinema looks to continue to do well and will likely do strong business throughout March.


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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