After a record-breaking 1st quarter, business for Korean films has slowed down considerably in the past few months. Though this is traditionally a period of Hollywood dominance, Korea's weak performance is a little surprising. Fatigue due to an underwhelming Spring slate is likely the key factor. Though this slump may continue through June, business should come soaring back this July when a number of hotly anticipated tentpoles (Mr. Go 3D, Snowpiercer) invade the market, though with Korean cinema there's always the chance that something will surprise in the meantime.
|Title||Release Date||Market Share||Weekend||Total||Screens|
|1||Star Trek: Into Darkness (us)||13/05/30||30.10%||507,571||678,312||607|
|2||Furious 6 (us)||13/05/22||18.10%||339,969||1,457,181||455|
|3||After Earth (us)||13/05/30||16.90%||325,906||395,952||484|
|5||The Great Gatsby (us)||13/05/16||6.50%||121,884||1,306,690||293|
|6||The Croods (us)||13/05/16||4.70%||96,695||672,325||327|
|7||Iron Man 3 (us)||13/04/25||4.00%||77,431||8,968,826||266|
|8||Rockin' on Heaven's Door||13/05/30||1.30%||26,224||36,770||172|
|9||Before Midnight (us)||13/05/22||1.10%||19,937||122,877||83|
|10||Happiness for Sale||13/05/16||0.50%||10,663||331,336||75|
Following a good start Fast and the Furious 6 went the way of its predecessors as it fell 45% for 339,969. The drop is hardly surprising and could have been a lot worse considering the two new blockbusters that invaded theaters this weekend. The film is about 150k from beating the previous franchise entry Fast Five and may make it over two million within a fortnight but that'll be as far as it goes.
Going into its third week, the well-received local thriller Montage (starring Uhm Jeong-hwa and Kim Sang-kyung) eased off 36% for 286,987. The film should cross the two million mark within days, making it the only bright note for the Korean industry's Spring performance to date.
Closing out the top five was The Great Gatsby as it saw its take almost halved to 121,884 while crossing 1.3 million admissions.
Debuting at number 30 with a slim 339 tickets sold was Sleepless Night, one of the best-performing Korean films on the festival circuit during the past year and my personal favorite of 2012. It's local failure is sadly unsurprising, further demonstrating how difficult it is for independent fare to compete in a studio-controlled marketplace.
After seven weeks of Hollywood dominance, next week should finally give us a new local number one with the Showbox action-comedy-thriller-drama Secretly, Greatly. Reviews are not strong but star Kim Soo-hyun is likely to attract a large youth audience to the mutliplexes that should be enough for first place. Also posting low to moderate numbers will be Hollywood actioner Olympus has Fallen and Horror Stories II, the first entry in 2013's K-horror season.
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 night (Korean Standard Time) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Korean Reviews. Reviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site.