Sunday, February 26, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (02/24-02/26, 2012)

Nameless Gangster Fights Back During Close Weekend

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 22.10% 353,394 3,987,379 495
2 Howling 2/16/12 19.30% 330,321 1,237,340 467
3 Man On a Ledge (us) 2/22/12 15.70% 260,386 334,604 409
4 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 8.90% 152,620 3,820,406 344
5 Underworld 4 (us) 2/22/12 7.60% 101,695 138,798 343
6 Legends of Valhalla (is) 2/9/12 5.40% 96,310 578,744 293
7 The Iron Lady (uk) 2/23/12 2.90% 47,564 56,386 154
8 Tarbosaurus 3D 1/26/12 3.30% 44,462 958,933 161
9 The Grey (us) 2/16/12 2.50% 41,876 279,309 214
10 Legend of a Rabbit (ch) 2/22/12 2.30% 41,448 58,679 224

It was another nail-biter this past weekend as the top two films battled for first place.   Overall business was down somewhat from last weekend and last year but on the plus side the domestic share remained strong as local films sold two out of every three tickets over the frame.

Nameless Gangster came out on top in the end with 353,394, its third chart-topping performance in four weeks.  Even more good news is that the film will cross the four million mark on Monday and stands a a good chance of reaching another benchmark.  It will face some competition in the coming weeks, mostly from more Korean releases, but things will get harder in March as new Hollywood male-skewing blockbusters will enter the marketplace.

Howling was a close number two with 330,321 but this represented an unimpressive 40% drop which, for a second weekend, typically means that the picture hasn't caught on.  The film is well past the one million mark and will likely cross two before too long but is unlikely to go any further.   Given the film's positive notices it's hard to see why the film didn't follow the success of the very recent Korean hits but perhaps that's just it.  Too many local films found a big audience in a short time frame, which no one expected, making it difficult for even a solid release such as this one to squeeze out similar numbers.

Hollywood thriller Man On a Ledge opened with a decent 260,386 but will likely tumble down a few flights come next weekend.

Dancing Queen slipped another spot for 152,620 but was only off 15%.  At this rate it will become the second release of the year to cross the four million mark within a week, after Nameless Gangster beats it to the milestone by a few days.   A great performance though soon it will have to make way for new local products readying for release.

Underworld 4 barely registered with a 101,695 opening weekend but this comes as no surprise given that the franchise has not previously met with much success on the peninsula.

Icelandic animation Legends of Valhalla: Thor continued its unlikely run as it added another 96,310 to its modestly successful total.

Meryl Streep's The Iron Lady opened with 47,564, not too bad considering such a film would have limited appeal in Korea.

Korean animation Tarbosaurus 3D dropped another spot and nearly 40% for 44,462 but it looks set to become only the second Korean animation, after last year's Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, to cross the one million admissions mark domestically.

Liam Neeson vehicle The Grey crumbled in its sophomore weekend, falling four rungs and losing 70% of its business for a tepid 41,876 take.  The action pic is unlikely to register in the top 10 for a third weekend.

Chinese animation Legend of a Rabbit was a no-go as it debuted in tenth place with 41,448.   Too many animation films lately meant that this one never really stood a chance.

Unbowed just missed the top 10 with 35,842 as it crossed 3.4 million admissions.

Next week's major release is the Ha Jung-woo and Kong Hyo-jin romcom Love Fiction.  Ha is already riding high with Nameless Gangster and will likely end up as the lead of next weekend's top two films.   The question is how well will his latest fare?   I'm betting it will do quite well, perhaps pulling in over 500,000 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 Sunday evening or 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. 

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