Monday, December 16, 2013

Korean Box Office: Jeon Do-yeon No Match for The Hobbit

Despite a major new local release, the Korean film industry was held at bay once again as the pairing of Jeon Do-yeon and Ko Soo wasn't enough to prevent the new Hobbit from taking first place. 2.24 million tickets were sold over the frame, about 10% over last year, but the local market share, due to a soft opening and a lack of strong holdovers, was weak at 28%.

TitleRelease DateMarket ShareWeekendTotalScreens
1The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (us/nz)12/12/1337.20%829,578969,486809
2Way Back Home12/11/1325.30%614,297821,379740
3About Time (uk)12/5/1320.30%475,1911,382,897503
4Insidious: Chapter 2 (us)12/5/134.70%118,774508,607342
5Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (us)11/21/133.90%103,289785,262333
6Escape Plan (us)12/5/132.40%56,213261,079221
7Marriage Blue11/21/131.30%32,0911,191,437179
8Hunger Games: Catching Fire (us)11/21/131%24,5771,114,874134
9AM 11:0011/28/130.70%17,510862,019205
10Friend 211/14/130.40%9,6402,964,78389

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug comfortably took first place in its debut, though its 829,578 admissions haul was almost 100k below its predecessor's bow one year ago. However, there was some controversy as a fee dispute between Warner Bros and local exhibitors CGV and Lotte Cinema led to the film being barred from screening in both those chain's Seoul locations. This is likely to have had some impact.

Jeon Do-yeon returns to the screen two years after the disappointing Countdown, this time paired with Ko Soo, in Pang Eun-jin's Way Back Home. The well-received drama only managed a 614,297 admissions debut and currently its reservation rate isn't indicating an immediate change in its fortunes, though there's still time for things to change.

Though Working title romance About Time dropped two spots, it managed to stay flat with another 475,191 admissions. The date film is now comfortably over the one million mark and is gunning for its next milestone.

Horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 also fell two rungs but suffered an almost 50% decline for a weekend total of 118,774. With half a million banked to date, the film is far ahead of the original in this market.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is still going strong with a 35% slide down to 103,289, though it may not be quite enough to ensure its passage over the one million mark.

At number six, US thriller Escape Plan saw its take slashed in half for 56,213 admissions. Further down, Marriage Blue crashed 75% for 32,091 and Hunger Games fell a similar amount for 24,577. 11:00 AM shed theaters and dipped 90% for 17,510 while Friend 2 took tenth place with 9,640.

Next week will see two major local releases entering the fray but the clear favorite is The Attorney, a courtroom drama based on the early life of former Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, starring Song Kang-ho. Interest is very high, the reviews are excellent and reservations are already handily in first place. New Kim A-joong romcom Catch Me won't see the same kind of numbers but should still debut in the top half of the chart.

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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