Monday, December 23, 2013

Korean Box Office: Song Kang-ho Proves He's B.O. King with The Attorney

With the help of a homegrown offering's huge opening, business came booming back by soaring over the three million mark for the first time in months. The pre-Christmas weekend saw 61% of tickets got to local films.

TitleRelease DateMarket ShareWeekendTotalScreens
1The Attorney12/18/1345.20%1,380,1101,752,162923
2The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (us/nz)12/12/1313.20%381,7941,644,072466
3About Time (uk)12/5/1311.40%338,8222,040,272442
4Way Back Home12/11/138.80%275,4291,429,886467
5Steal My Heart12/18/136.60%210,784300,916517
6Walking With Dinosaurs 3D (us/uk)12/19/136.80%187,907199,973463
7Planes (us)12/19/132.90%90,496103,399408
8Saving Santa (uk)12/19/132.30%81,13494,942297
9Insidious: Chapter 2 (us)12/5/130.60%19,649573,64386
10Like Father, Like Son (jp)12/19/130.40%10,53015,38541

Song Kang-ho's third film of 2013, The Attorney, racked up a stellar 1,380,100 admissions in its debut weekend and looks to be in great shape going forward. With The Face Reader and Snowpiercer as well, Song's films have already amassed 20.25 million admissions this year, which may very well be a record for an actor in Korean cinema. The film has been very well received despite its controversial nature (its loosely based on the early years of former president Roh Moo-hyun as a human rights lawyer in the 1980s) but its debut may also have been bolstered by the current rail strikes and demonstrations in Korea. Both the film and event have opened up old protest wounds.

Dropping 55% in its sophomore spin on the chart was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as it drew in another 381,785 admissions. The film is quickly approaching the two million mark but the ongoing dispute with bet ween Warner Bros and local exhibs CGV and Lotte Cinema has stripped the film of significant earning potential in Seoul, thus likely softening its tally.

About Time fell just shy of 30% for 338,382 admissions and has now cleared the two million mark. The film has already surpassed its hauls in all but one other territory, the US, but it will likely eclipse that total as well. There's no denying the immense popularity of Working Title films in Korea.

Sliding to number four was Way Back Home with Jeon Do-yeon as it failed to keep its momentum and drew 275,429 viewers over the frame. The film seems unlikely to cross two million at this point, which is both a shame and perhaps a little worrying for the star actress and director Pang Eun-jin.

Opening at number five was Lotte Entertainment's Kim A-joong romcom vehicle Steal My Heart, with a lackluster 210,784 spectators.

As we head into Christmas week it seems that The Attorney will remain in first place while local action film The Suspect, with Gong Yu, looks to open strong as well, the film opens on Christmas Eve. The Korean film industry seems poised to finish a record-breaking year in style.

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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