Showing posts with label punch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label punch. Show all posts

Monday, December 5, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (12/2-12/4, 2011)

Weekend of December 2-4:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (us) 11/30/11 482,384 775,522
2 Spellbound 12/1/11 420,806 487,861
3 SIU 11/24/11 201,264 838,983
4 Punch 10/20/11 150,737 5,046,804
5 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 144,574 367,274
6 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 58,945 3,521,389
7 Moneyball (us) 11/17/11 39,267 602,465
8 Immortals (us) 11/10/11 27,951 1,322,363
9 50/50 (us) 11/24/11 17,663 100,940
10 You're My Pet 11/10/11 4,234 541,356
- Penny Pinchers 11/2/11 1,560 422,686
- The Houseguest and My Mother (1961) 10/27/11 1,543 1,985
- Perfect Partner 11/17/11 1,162 89,371
- Dancing Cat 10/20/11 937 7,150
- King of Pigs 11/17/11 774 17,526

Despite a huge new Hollywood release, Korean films remained very competitive this weekend, managing a 50% market share.  It was a big weekend with 1.56 million tickets sold which was better than last year's 1.25 when Petty Romance opened.  As Darcy Paquet noted in his biweekly box office evaluation for KOBIZ, Korean cinema will have to face off with a number of American tentpole releases in December but this is a very encouraging start to the holiday season.

The new Twilight opened in first place as was expected, the first non-Korean film to do so since October (Real Steel) and only the second since July (Harry Potter).  However its 482,384 opening was a little soft, certainly coming in below my expectations.  From here on out, this frontloaded pic should drop very fast.

Spellbound opened to a very healthy 420,806 this weekend giving Twilight a run for its money.  The multi-genre pic has been garnering some strong word of mouth and may play well throughout December if it can distinguish itself from the many new offerings that will become available.

Last week's one-time champ SIU fell two places, slowing about 40% to 201,264.  The buzz has not been fantastic surrounding the film and it will likely drop relatively quickly out of the top 10 though it will shoot well past the 1 or even 1.5 million admissions mark in the process.

Punch is finally starting to show some vulnerability as it dropped another two spots and lost nearly 50% of its business in the interim.  However its 150,737 take was enough to push it past the 5 million mark and get it to No. 3 on the yearly chart.  It remains to be seen whether it can cross the 6 million milestone, which may or may not be a bridge too far.

The next five spots were all held by Hollywood releases beginning with Arthur Christmas which held onto most of its opening as it added 144,574 to its total.  Real Steel finally saw a substantial drop but it has had a phenomenal run and the 58,945 tickets it sold brought it over 3.5 million admissions.  Brad Pitt's Moneyball dove 60% to 39,267 while Immortals fell 70% to 27,951 and 50/50 also shed 60% for 17,663.

At No. 10 was You're My Pet, which this week secured releases in China and Japan.  It made 4,234 this weekend for a 541,356 to date.

Outside of the Top 10:  Penny Pinchers added another 1,560 to its total; Shin Sang-ok's classic The Houseguest and My Mother (1961) sold 1,543 tickets in re-release; Perfect Partner fell hard to 1,162 and all but guaranteed it won't be crossing the 100,000 mark; Dancing Cat sold another 937 tickets; and King of Pigs added an additional 774 admissions.

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 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Review Round-up (11/26-12/02, 2011)

A number of high-profile reviews for Na Hong-jin's sophomore feature The Yellow Sea as it opens in major cities across the US.  A number of new of other pieces including on current Korean hits Punch and SIU.


(Joong Ang Daily, December 2, 2011)

(, November 28, 2011)

(The Korea Times, December 2, 2011)



(Modern Korean Cinema, November 29, 2011)

(Flight of the Fangirl, November 27, 2011)

(Anikor, November 28, 2011)

(Seen in Jeonju, November 30, 2011)


(Film Business Asia, November 27, 2011)

(Film Business Asia, November 27, 2011)

The Cat

(, November 26, 2011)

The Yellow Sea


(, November 29, 2011)

(Otherwhere, November 30, 2011)

(, November 30, 2011)

(, December 1, 2011)

(Cine-International, December 1, 2011)

(Hangul Celluloid, December 2, 2011)

The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/25/11/27, 2011)

Weekend of November 25-27:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 SIU 11/24/11 346,875 419,042
2 Punch 10/20/11 288,874 4,745,131
3 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 180,315 187,475
4 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 119,490 3,398,026
5 Moneyball (us) 11/17/11 117,661 501,195
6 Immortals (us) 11/10/11 103,727 1,241,104
7 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (us) 11/30/11 88,116 90,650
8 50/50 (us) 11/24/11 43,390 53,378
9 You're My Pet 11/10/11 30,600 519,726
10 Penny Pinchers 11/10/11 24,552 407,914
- Perfect Partner 11/17/11 8,943 82,073
- Chilling Romance 12/1/11 5,867 6,147
- Dancing Cat 11/17/11 2,046 8,057
- Secrets, Objets 11/17/11 1,569 6,808

A new champion was crowned this weekend at the Korean box office and business was up over last weekend and last year.  A total of 1.43 million tickets were sold over the frame and Korean market share was an even 50% which represented gains over last years 1.22 million admissions and 44% share.  Despite only holding 4 of the top 10 spots and facing some tough competition from Hollywood, the Korean films fared impressively.

The new king of the box office is the new Korean film SIU which opened with a strong 346,875.  Besides the very present marketing I have not heard much about the film so it is hard to say where it might go from here.  In any case it will most certainly be a one-trick pony in the top spot as it will do battle with Twilight next weekend.

Punch way have gone down a notch after five No. 1 weekends in a row but it only slowed about 20%, leaving it with a 288,874 weekend and a 4,745,131 total, which was enough for it to surpass Silenced for no. 4 on the yearly chart.  It will cross Detective K and clinch no.3 in the coming day or so but any further climbing of the chart will require an additional 2.6 million tickets to catch up with Sunny.  This probably won't happen, especially given some strong competition ahead, but if this year's Korean box office stories have taught us anything it is that it is certainly possible.

The next 6 slots were all occupied by American fare, starting with the seasonal children's movie Arthur Christmas which had an okay start with 180,315.

At No. 4 Real Steel continued to show very impressive legs as it lost less than 15% of its business for a 119,490 weekend.  The Brad Pitt critical darling Moneyball was off a little under 40% for 117,611 and already has half a million admissions, a good result not doubt due to the star presence of Mr. Pitt and the locally popular baseball theme.  Immortals slowed under 50% for 103,727 as it leaped over the one million mark.  Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I banked 88,116 during its very strong previews.  Finally 50/50 opened to a low but predictable 43,390.

You're My Pet took the penultimate spot with 30,600, a sizable drop from last weekend but it has amassed a decent 519,726 to date.  Finally Penny Pinchers also took a fall to 24,552 for a reasonable 407,914 total.

Outside the top 10:  Perfect Partner crumpled after its lackluster debut and wound up with 8,943.  Chilling Romance took in 5,867 during its previews ahead of next week's opening.  Documentary Dancing Cat stayed nearly level adding 2,046 to its total.  Secrets, Objects sold 1,569 tickets over the weekend, about level with last weekend.

Next weekend:  A big test ahead for domestic films as the new Twilight will open wide after it's already successful previews.  I'm expecting a slightly better opening than the previous installments and then a steep drop-off so look for a opening in the region of 850,000, which will be more than enough for first place.

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 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/18-11/20, 2011)

Weekend of November 18-20:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Punch 10/20/11 361,807 4,126,808
2 Immortals (us) 11/10/11 197,472 952,258
3 Moneyball (us) 11/17/11 186,122 211,097
4 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 143,526 3,140,901
5 You're My Pet 11/10/11 87,572 411,506
6 Penny Pinchers 11/10/11 62,831 316,878
7 Tower Heist (us) 11/17/11 34,792 40,625
8 Perfect Partner 11/17/11 34,282 46,183
9 Horrible Bosses (us) 11/17/11 20,879 25,029
10 Wu Xia (China) 11/17/11 10,427 12,904
- Couples 11/2/11 8,655 348,907
- A Reason to Live 10/27/11 7,200 130,720
- Merry Christmas, North! 11/17/11 4,098 4,956
- Always 10/20/11 3,065 1,019,595
- Dancing Cat 11/17/11 2,965 4,189

South Korea box office was a little slow this past weekend with total admissions amounting to 1.21 million, which nevertheless was marginally above last year's total for the comparable weekend.  More worrying is that the Korean market share dipped below the 50% mark for the first time in a little over a month, coming in at 45%, last year the figure was 63%.  While not alarming, this slight lull can mostly attributed to a lack of mainstream Korean films in the marketplace, only 4 of the 10 were Korean this week.

Punch stayed at no.1 once again for its fifth consecutive weekend after another small drop (<20%) saw it add 361,807 tickets to its 4,126,808 total.  The vaunted five million mark is all but certain at this point, it may cross it in as little as 10 days and could still go further still.  I don't think it will challenge War of the Arrows or Sunny a the top of the yearly chart but if it continues to play well through Christmas it may well come very close.

Immortals say its take halved to 197,472 this weekend after its strong start and is presently a shade off the 1 million mark, though actuals may well push it above.  Moneyball had a decent debut at no.3 with 186,122 most likely buoyed by star Brad Pitt's first visit to the peninsula.  Real Steel barely dropped at all and added another 143,526 to its coffers as it soared past the 3 million point.

You're My Pet, which had a curious injunction to ban it dismissed last week, made 87,572 this weekend which was a little over half of its opening.  The pic which was designed for and has been performing well with young woman has being doing well and may have benefited from the publicity of the injunction.

Penny Pinchers, which has had some good word of mouth, wound up with 62,831 and seems poised to cross half a million.  As some people have noted, including Darcy Paquet, the romantic comedy focusses on more impoverished leads than is usually the case which is a welcome change from the standard romcoms.

Tower Heist opened with 34,792 and I believe that this was previews so it may challenge for the top spot next weekend, which would be a shame since I despise Brett Ratner.

Perfect Partner made 34,282 this weekend in a limited amount of theaters.  Though this was already its second weekend I imagine it will go wider next week.

Horrible Bosses from the US and Wuxia from China rounded out the top 10 with underwhelming figures, 20,879 and 10,427 respectively.

Outside of the top 10: Couples took another big tumble; A Reason to Live stayed steady with last week and has surprised in the late stages of its run; Documentaries Merry Christmas, North! and Dancing Cat opened; and Always squeaked by the 1 million mark.

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 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Korean Cinema News (11/10-11/16, 2011)

Another huge amount of news this week including some great features from Korean Cinema Today which among other things broke news regarding the start of production on Bong Joon-ho's much anticipated Snow Piercer.  Lots of great features but also a perplexing one from The Guardian which I discussed in the comments with its author.  Also lots of new trailers including a bombastic one for the upcoming My Way.


Arirang and The Yellow Sea play at Mar del Plata
Argentina’s Mar del Plata International Film Festival is screening Korean films Arirang, directed by Kim Ki-duk, and The Yellow Sea, directed by Na Hong-jin during its 26th edition, Nov. 5 – 13.  (KOBIZ, November 8, 2011)

Asiana International Short Film Festival closes with Promise
The 9th Asiana International Short Film Festival closed Monday, Nov. 7 after a six-day run with Jero Yun’s fiction short Promise winning the best film award.  At the Closing ceremony, Festival Director Ahn Sung-ki and jury head Kang Soo-yeon, both veteran Korean actors, were joined by jury members director Inudo Isshin from Japan, director Kim Tae-yong from Korea, Sarah Hoch Delong, founder and Executive Director of the Guanajuato International Film Festival, and Tono Seigo, Festival Director of the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia.  (KOBIZ, November 8, 2011)

YesAsia Sponsors the Fantastic Asia Film Festival in Australia
Leading online retailer is a premier sponsor of the Fantastic Asia Film Festival (FAFF) which runs from November 10 to 13 at the Cinema Nova in Melbourne, Australia.  In cooperation with distribution and production company Monster Pictures, the inaugural event brings a diverse and interesting mix of Asian genre films from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China and the Philippines to film enthusiasts in Australia.  (, November 9, 2011)

Korean Agent Gets Remake Treatment From UTV
Indian entertainment giant UTV Motion Pictures is to make an official Hindi-language remake of South Korean hit My Girlfriend is an Agent (2009).  The new film, which will retain the English title, will be produced by director Imtiaz Ali and his wife Preety Ali under their new PI Films label. Choreographer Bosco will direct.  (Film Business Asia, November 10, 2011)

Punch VS A Reason to Live - Why did Yoo Ah-in laugh and Song Hye-kyo cry?
Song Hye-kyo's movie A Reason to Live is on the verge of disappearing.  The accumulated number of admissions as of today November 9th is 58,877, showing very slow progress.  This movie was greatly looked forward to as it was being directed by Lee Jeong-hyang, who returned nine years after the 4 million-plus admission box office hit The Way Home (2002) and the cast included Song Hye-kyo.  However, as soon as it came out, it was ignored by audiences and isn't showing any signs of doing better even after two weeks in release.  (, November 9, 2011)

First Images From Choi Min-sik Starring Thriller Nameless Gangster
The simple fact that Choi stars in this is reason to pay attention.  Not only is he a fabulously talented actor but he is also extremely selective about his roles, making very few missteps along the way.  And when the first images look as good as those in the gallery below ... well, all the better.  (Twitch, November 9, 2011)

New Stills for the Upcoming Korean Movie My Way
My Way, directed by Jang Je-gyu and starring Jang Dong-gun, was formerly known as D-Day.  My Way is a co-production between South Korea and the USA.  (, November 9, 2011)

Actress Son Ye-jin is planning on debuting in the Chinese film market...before it gets too late!  After making her big screen comeback with Lee Min-gi in the movie Chilling Romance, Son revealed on a recent interview with OSEN that she's currently eyeing out the Chinese movie scene.  (KBS, November 9, 2011)

Four Leading Korean Directors Working on Overseas Projects
The year 2012 looks like it will see an unprecedented rush of Korean directors working on foreign projects.  This phenomenon seems similar to the situation back in the late 1990s when Hong Kong directors John Woo, Ringo Lam, Tsui Hark, Kirk Wong and Ronny Yu all directed films produced in Hollywood.  What’s different is that whereas they were inclined to make films only in Hong Kong’s specialty genre – the action film, their Korean counterparts are expected to make films that will retains the directors’ varying styles and sensibilities.  (Korean Cinema Today, November 9, 2011)

Korean Wave Rises to China Challenge
Very little is known of the personal life of Chinese President Hu Jintao, but we do know that he likes paper-cutting and cycling.  And that he is a fan of Korean costume dramas. China's deeply private head of state has gone on record to say that he is a fan of the blockbuster soap opera Jewel in the Palace, and is one of millions of fans of Korean movies and TV in the world's most populous nation.  (Korean Cinema Today, November 1, 2011)

Korean Crews in China
Films from Greater China increasingly employ technical specialists from Korea - Kim Seong-hoon reports.  For a long time, the film industry has evolved according to emergences of new technology and this has meant new opportunities for those working in the field.  We all know how when “talkies” were invented, many silent movie actors lost their jobs and at the same time, many other people found work as synchronized sound technicians and post-sync supervisors. (Korean Cinema Today, November 8, 2011)

South Korean Documentary Arirang Wins BIFFDOCS
Renowned South Korean arthouse filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has won BIFFDOCS, Australia’s richest documentary award.  Ki-duk’s entry Arirang beat 19 films from around the world to win the top prize of $25 000, including Queensland-produced documentary, The Trouble With St Mary’s, which received a $35 000 documentary production investment from Screen Queensland in 2009-10.  (, November 11, 2011)

Bong Joon-ho Opens Busan West Festival at Chapman University with 3D Version of The Host
Growing up in South Korea, Bong Joon-ho developed a love of American science fiction movies thanks to the Armed Forces Network.  Now, the acclaimed filmmaker and the new 3D version of The Host (2006), Bong's 2006 valentine to American creature features, come to Orange Friday to open the Busan West Asian Film Festival at Chapman University.  (OC Weekly, November 9, 2011)

Korean Films at the 13th Cinemanila International Film Festival
Another special Cinemanila section this year is “Focus on Korea,” which highlights the movies of acclaimed Korean filmmakers like Boo Ji-Young.  Mr. Aguiluz said Mr. Young will arrive in the country to present his film A Time to Love during the festival.  (Business World, November 10, 2011)

Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong of Lianain Films gained unprecedented access to the Pyongyang’s main film academy for an exceptionally well observed documentary piece.  (North Korean Films, November 2, 2011)

The fine folks at Koryo Tours have given us a bit of advanced notice about the Pyongyang International Film Festival 2012.   It’ll be a great chance to not only see some of the best North Korean films of recent years but also a chance for North Koreans to experience some Western releases.   (North Korean Films, October 22, 2011)

Buyers Take Aim for Lotte's War of the Arrows
Korean box-office hit has sold to US, UK, German-Speaking Europe, Taiwan, Singapore and elsewhere.  Korean studio Lotte Entertainment has closed a number of deals on its local box-office smash The War of the Arrows.  (Screen Daily, November 4, 2011)

North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri has lambasted the inaugural two-day North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival, scheduled to be held this Thursday and Friday at a Seoul university theater.  (Daily NK, November 7, 2011)

An Up-to-Date Look at the Korean 3D Content Industry and 3D Imaging Technology!
To briefly talk about the present condition of the Korean 3D industry, much of the content is produced under the support of government-affiliated organizations related to cultural contents, and there are not many that are being produced by actual media content producers.  However, the fact that there is education regarding 3D image available for people, along with the support for production, presents much better conditions than neighboring Japan, where there is no government support for the 3D content industry.   (Advanced Technology Korea, October 4, 2011)

War of the Arrows – Causing Death and Saving Lives
The opening gala of the London Korean Film Festival was a more rambunctious affair than I remember even last year’s being, due in no small part to the sudden and unexpected entrance of SHINee (I was lucky enough to be two rows behind them, but many who had specially booked seats I gather were incandescent to have been re-seated!).   (London Korea Links, November 14, 2011)

Injunction to Ban You Pet Dismissed
The male solidarity's injunction to ban the movie You Pet has been dismissed.  The male solidarity requested the banning of the movie You Pet, saying it was insulting to men.  (, November 13, 2011)

S. Korean Film Festival Begins in Kathmandu
The Korean craze amongst the Nepalis, especially the youngsters, is a common scenario these days.  Films are one way to express the culture, life, human relations, religion and values of a particular country.  One can get an idea about a particular country from a film, which one may not get from reading dozens of books.  (The Seoul Times, November 13, 2011)

Top star Lee Byeong-Heon is attempting a historical drama for the fist time in his acting career.  He has recently confirmed as a cast member for King of Chosun.  This will be directed by Choo Chang-min and not Kang Woo-seok, who was initially supposed to direct this movie.  (, November 13, 2011)

Korean Cinema: Local Film Industry Goes Global
Korea is the 10th largest movie market in the world and is endeavoring to meet global standards.  Not only have veterans such as Im Kwon-taek, Kim Ki-duk and Hong Sang-soo made a name in arthouse films, but blockbuster hits appearing from Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho and more.  (Korea Magazine, November 2011)

Bong Joon-ho's Snow Piercer Rumbles to Life
It was all the way back in 2006 when Korea's Bong Joon-ho first spoke about his planned big screen adaptation of French graphic novel Snow Piercer (Le Transperceneige).  With Bong riding high from the massive success of the The Host (2006) and with Oldboy (2003) director Park Chan-wook on board as a producer it seemed certain that this one would be up and running quickly.  That proved not to be the case. (Twitch, November 15, 2011)

Do South Koreans Actually Love Film?
In the noughties, South Korea earned itself a reputation as the new hotspot for cinephiles.  A cultural explosion followed the end of military rule in 1987: on the cinema front, film festivals and magazines sprung up to feed the new curiosity.  Attendance more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, when it stood at 153m admissions a year (comparable to Britain's, with a smaller population). (The Guardian, November 15, 2011)
Actors Ha Jeong-woo, Han Seok-Kyu and Ryoo Seung-beom will meet in director Ryoo Seung-hwan's 10-billion won project.  The Berlin File, by director Ryoo Seung-hwan, is a spy story based in Berlin, Germany about a man who infiltrates a South Korean organization and gets left behind in North Korea.  (, November 15, 2011)
In conjunction with the exhibition “Korean Eye”, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York presents “Unbridled Energy: Korean Animation”, a program that showcases the breadth and diversity of contemporary creativity in this Asian nation.  The series runs from December 2 to December 16, 2011 at MAD (2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019).  (, November 13, 2011)

LKFF: Why Dachimawa Lee is Thoroughly Groovy, and Why I’m Becoming a Fan of Ryu Seung-wan
I have to confess that when I heard that Ryu Seung-wan was to be the featured director, my reaction was lukewarm.  Of the films I had already seen, the silliness of Arahan (2004) did not endear the film to me, while seeing Jeon Do-yeon and Lee Hye-hyoung severely thrashed turned me off No Blood No Tears (2002). I had tried hard to like City of Violence (2006) and only succeeded on the third watching.  (London Korea Links, November 15, 2011)

Honorary Busan Fest Chief Kim Dong-ho to Make Directorial Debut
Honorary Festival Director of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Kim Dong-ho is set to make his short film directorial debut with the Opening Film for next year’s Asiana International Film Festival (AISFF).  Yonhap News Agency reports AISFF has revealed that Kim will be directing the short film for the festival’s 10th anniversary edition.  (KOBIZ, November 15, 2011)

Jeonju to Meet Increased Demand with New Soundstage
Yonhap News Agency reports that the home city of the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) is planning to build more special studio space in the Jeonju Cinema Studio by July 2012.  The new space will be comprised of a 795㎡ soundstage along with 560㎡ of attached facilities including a make-up room.  (KOBIZ, November 11, 2011)

Choi Equan Appointed Head of KAFA
Chairman KIM Eui-suk of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) appointed film director Choi Equan as the new head of the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) on Nov. 10 in Seoul.  Established in 1984, KAFA has played a leading role in producing some of contemporary Korean cinema’s major filmmakers. Kim Eui-suk was actually one of the first graduates of KAFA before he directed the seminal hit Marriage Story (1992).   (KOBIZ, November 10, 2011)

After holding special screenings in support of The Front Line, South Korea’s submission to the Academy Awards best foreign language film category nominations, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced it saw a strong turnout and positive reactions.  About 500 industry professionals including members of the press from LA Times, Variety and the Hollywood Foreign Press attended the screenings. (KOBIZ, November 10, 2011)

Bong Joon-ho Gives Lecture at Chapman University
Film director Bong Joon-ho appeared at Chapman University in Orange County, California on Saturday (local time) to give a master class as part of the Busan West Asian Film Festival hosted by the university's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.  (The Chosun Ilbo, November 15, 2011)

Only Second Time Around, but Korean Cinema is Definitely Down Under
South Korea and Australia are celebrating the last stretch of their Year of Friendship, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, bringing more attention to the second annual Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA).  (Yonhap News Agency, November 7, 2011)

Poetry UK Blu-ray Detailed
Independent British distributors Arrow Films have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray Korean director Lee Chang-dong's Shi a.k.a Poetry (2010), starring Yun Jung-hee and Lee David.  Last year, the film won Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Street date is Novemver 28th.  (, November 12, 2011)

Ryoo Seung-hwan Speaks About his New Movie The Berlin File
Director Ryoo Seung-hwan spoke about his next coming movie The Berlin File known to be a 10 billion won blockbuster.  He appeared as the final lecturer in a lecturing event that was held in the LIG Art Hall on the 11th.  His upcoming movie The Berlin File has been an issue and movie fans have been very interested.  (, November 11, 2011)


KOFIC Chairman Kim Eui-suk
Korean Film Council (KOFIC) Chairman Kim Eui-suk talks to Kim Seong-hoon about promoting Korean cinema internationally.  With his background as a filmmaker whose credits include the seminal hit Marriage Story (1992) and the period martial arts film Sword in the Moon (2003), Kim Eui-suk also spent seven years nurturing the next generation of filmmakers as a professor at the Korean Film Academy of Arts (KAFA), five years as a member the organizing committee of the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), and then time as KOFIC Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman before he was name Chairman in March 2011.  (Korean Cinema Today, November 4, 2011)

Acclaimed Director Pushing Back NKHR Envelope
The North Korea Human Rights International Film Festival (NKHRIFF), which opens this afternoon, is attracting domestic attention for its attempt to blend North Korean human rights-and film.  Optimists hope that the festival can turn North Korean human rights into a real social issue, using the silver screen to nag at viewer consciences.  (Daily NK, November 10, 2011)


Punch (eng sub)



(Modern Korean Cinema, November 14, 2011)

Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/11-11/13, 2011)

Weekend of November 11-13:

TitleRelease DateWeekendTotal
2Immortals (us)11/10/11391,317490,466
3Real Steel (us)10/12/11175,2532,850,840
4You're My Pet11/10/11158,219208,344
5Penny Pinchers11/10/11111,793158,337
6In Time (us)10/27/1133,774523,998
9The Help (us)11/3/1114,56989,441
10A Reason to Live10/27/117,26694,243
-The Kick11/3/116,11145,660
-Mr. Idol11/3/113,74269,878
-King of Pigs11/3/111,9917,786
-The Crucible9/22/118534,668,645
-The Client9/29/115422,395,115

Punch led another strong weekend at the Korean box office with a total 1.44 million tickets sold, of which  55% were for Korean films.  This represented a slight uptick for tickets sold but a drop for Korean market share versus the same weekend last year.  Though, of late, many Korean films have been underperforming, the slack has been picked up by a handful of particularly successful films.  It's great to see so many Korean films stack up millions of admissions but also a little worrying that this is happening at the expense of many other films which are barely registering with moviegoers.

Despite some big competition from the just-released Immortals, Punch scored its fourth consecutive win with another big 462,670.  This is the first time it has dropped since it release, though a 35% decline versus last week's final figures is nothing to be worried about, in fact that percentage will likely shrink as the final count is tallied for this weekend's receipts.  The well-received picture now sits on 3,382,457 and will quickly cross 4 million with a very good chance of challenging for 5.  It remains to be seen whether the word of mouth as reached it zenith.  Like Sunny earlier this year, it is not inconceivable that it will increase again.

Immortals opened with 391,347, a respectable figure given how it has done in other territories.  Real Steel added another 175,253 (a 40% drop) and is now within striking distance of the 3 million mark.  If it crosses it, it will be only the fifth non-Korean film to do so this year, an impressive result.

You're My Pet managed a 158,219 opening weekend without the benefit of any previews last week.  For a mid-level film this is an okay start but if it drops fast next week, it won't be seen as a satisfactory result.  Similarly Penny Pinchers went wide this weekend with 111,793, another so-so opening that will be tested this coming weekend.

Despite some positive word of mouth, Couples completely fell apart, dropping a catastrophic 84%.  People who have seen it have expressed surprise at the film, expecting something mediocre and being delighted to be contradicted.  Is this poor result the fault of bad marketing?  Why is it that people assumed this was going to be a bad film?  Perhaps it never had a chance.

Always fell hard again, about 70%, but 23,065 weekend has brought it very close to the 1 million mark, which it will likely cross in the next week or 10 days.  Not a bad result but still a little underwhelming.

In Time and The Help also saw considerable drops this weekend, though the former, with over half a million admissions has had a decent performance.

After all but disappearing from marquees last weekend, A Reason to Live has bounced back, growing nearly 200%.  Though the resulting 7,266 weekend is not necessarily something to be jubilant about.  Still, the film is set to cross 100,000 admissions now so it will save some face.

The other of last week's openers, The Kick and Mr. Idol, fell 80% and 90% respectively.  Even with significant media coverage, these films have completely floundered at the box office.  What went wrong exactly? The Kick's failure does not bode well for further Thai-Korean co-productions or indeed for martial arts films in general while the dud that is Mr. Idol seems to show little overlap between the K-Movie and K-Pop worlds.

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 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (11/04-11/06, 2011)

Weekend of November 4-6, 2011:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Punch 10/20/11 574,631 2,465,751
2 Real Steel (us) 10/12/11 245,537 2,499,600
3 Couples 11/2/11 144,623 189,965
4 In Time (us) 10/27/11 87,109 406,663
5 Always 10/20/11 60,106 894,813
6 Mr. Idol 11/3/11 33,391 48,780
7 The Help (us) 11/3/11 33,181 49,556
8 The Kick 11/3/11 20,865 27,101
9 Guzaarish (India) 11/3/11 18,851 30,894
10 Johnny English Reborn (uk) 11/2/11 17,277 20,362
- Penny Pinchers     11/10/11 9,475 10,175
- Teacher and the Devils       10/27/11 3,579 12,535
- The Crucible        9/22/11 3,561 4,662,753
- The Client       9/29/11 2,880 2,389,540
- A Reason to Live 10/27/11 2,573 55,583

Business remained strong this weekend with 1.28 million admissions, another year-on-year increase, and a 65% market share for Korean films.  Punch is once again the big news this week as it has topped the chart for a third consecutive week.  Even more impressive is that after last week's big increase over its opening weekend, it doesn't seem to have lost any business this time around.  Its 574,631 take lifted its total to 2,465,751 which is already good enough for no. 8 on the yearly chart.  Word of mouth is very strong for this pic and it may well have a lot more milestones in store.

Real Steel same in at no. 2 for the third straight week with 245,537, which is down about a third from last week.  It has performed very strongly over the past month and looks set to cross 3 million in the coming weeks which should land it on the combined top 10 for the year.

Couples went wide this week on nearly 400 screens but only mustered a so-so 144,623.  With Punch dominating the way it is, Couples will likely take a big drop next week and disappear from marquees soon after.

Always dropped by two thirds for 60,106 and has now accumulated 894,813 to date.  The 1 million mark is tantalizingly close but may be a fraction too far out of reach.  While not a bad number for a romance film, this performance will likely be seen as a bit disappointing given the saturated marketing surrounding it, especially as it opened the recent new-look Busan International Film Festival.  Bad reviews and poor word of mouth are what sunk it in the end.

Mr. Idol, which has had one of the more aggressive marketing campaigns of the season, opening with an embarrassing 33,391, that's a little less than 100 tickets per screen for its first weekend.  As enormous as K-Pop is (at home and abroad), it has yet to be successfully mined for a feature film.  Execs may be scratching their heads at the poor performance of what seemed like a surefire hit but in Korea you can't beat bad reviews, no matter how big your fan base is.

The Kick, which has generated a lot of buzz and press coverage as the first Thai-Korean marital arts production, also got off to a poor start with 20,865, unless these are previews which, at 154 screens, may well be the case.

Three other movies opened this weekend from across the world, The Help (USA) with 33,181, Guzaarish (India) with 18,851, and Johnny English Reborn (UK) with 17,277.  These are all mediocre hauls but none of these pictures could have been expected to perform well in Korea.

Penny Pinchers had its previews this weekend and will go wide later this week but its 9,475 start does not bode particularly well.  I imagine it will open somewhere in the middle of the chart.  The big question is if Punch can continue its extraordinary run!

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 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.