Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Korean Box Office: Now You See Me Rises To First

As we head out of the summer, the major Korean releases of the season are starting to tapper off, leaving the door for America to reclaim some ground ahead of the Chuseok holiday, which will likely see the balance fall back in favor of local releases. Total ticket sales jumped 20% year-on-year to 2.46 million admissions while the domestic market share was only 39%, half of where it stood last year.

TitleRelease DateMarket ShareWeekendTotalScreens
1Now You See Me (us)13/08/2225.00%626,8672,156,328586
2Elysium (us)13/08/2924.70%573,387707,973588
3Hide and Seek13/08/1422.80%562,2515,097,942548
4The Flu13/08/146.20%158,3843,021,600329
6Jobs (us)13/08/295.00%123,925159,782402
7Despicable Me 2 (us)13/09/123.00%80,29280,292297
8The Terror Live13/07/312.40%58,1075,543,675186
9Dragon Ball Z Battle of Gods (jp)13/08/291.10%28,72734,252262
10Epic (us)13/08/070.70%18,656972,873101

High concept magician thriller Now You See Me played a neat trick as it rose to first in its sophomore weekend with 626,867 admissions, even though its take was down 40%. It's total now stands at over 2.1 million admissions and while it will be difficult to get all the way to three it should come close.

Elysium came a little too late in the season and the blockbuster had a soft opening with only 573,387 admissions. In it unlikely to build in the coming weeks and may find itself out of theaters in swift order. It was speculated that the film may have been pushed back due to Snowpiercer and other Korean thrillers flooding the market in August. While it would have been unlikely for it to perform well against them, it probably would have fared no worse than it has now.

Following two weeks on top of the chart, surprise hit local thriller Hide and Seek fell two spots and lost 48% of its audience for 562,251 admissions. The film has now gone over the five million admissions mark, the seventh local release of the year to do so, a new record for the industry.

Epidemic thriller The Flu receded 63% for 158,384 as it edged over the three million mark. A solid figure but disappointing for a film that reportedly cost almost $10 million to produce.

Snowpiercer saw its haul sliced in half again as it brought in another 158,185 admissions, clearing nine million in the process, likely its last milestone. Ten million does seem well beyond reach at this point but Bong Joon-ho's blockbuster is three million admissions over its break even point before even opening in any of the 167 countries it has been sold to.

The only major new player entering the field next week is the big-budget action thriller The Spy: Undercover Operation, starring Seol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri and Daniel Henney. Reviews are weak and though the film is not without its appeal, it is unlikely to post huge numbers. Irrespective, it should handily take first place.

Source: KOBIS

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 ReviewsReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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