Monday, May 7, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (05/04-05/06, 2012)

The Avengers Grows, Korean Releases Lag

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Avengers (us) 4/26/12 53.50% 1,430,595 4,001,858 918
2 As One 5/3/12 16.80% 509,444 596,793 535
3 Snow White (us) 5/3/12 7.80% 248,377 285,620 385
4 The Lorax (us) 5/3/12 6.50% 194,935 202,348 462
5 A Muse 4/25/12 6.30% 182,261 1,021,437 402
6 Crayon Shin-chan (jp) 4/26/12 3.60% 121,192 230,929 293
7 Architecture 101 3/22/12 3.30% 102,765 3,879,029 248
8 The Scent 4/11/12 0.90% 27,044 1,206,640 120
9 Battleship (us) 4/11/12 0.30% 10,779 2,230,317 62
10 Untouchable (fr) 3/22/12 0.20% 5,102 1,709,560 19

An enormous 2.67 million tickets were sold in Korean theatres this weekend which was a 25% increase on last weekend's huge number and more than doubled last year's similar weekend.  It also might be the biggest weekend of all time in Korea, though I can't confirm this.  The Korean market share, despite some big releases, stubbornly remained at 27% in the face of the Marvel comics onslaught.

The Avengers once again led the pile, taking over half of the market place as it increased slightly on its phenomenal start for a 1,430,595 frame which already has it over the four million mark.  It's the third biggest film of the year at this point and will likely ascend to number one in a matter of days.  The film is having an exceptional run all around the world, it broke records in the US where it posted the biggest opening weekend of all time, which came in at an estimated $200.3 million.  If it continues at this rate it will be hard for any Korean film to unseat it at the top during the remainder of the year.

As One (aka Korea), the hotly anticipated sports drama with reunification themes starring Ha Ji-won and Bae Doo-na, was completely overshadowed even as it posted a decent 509,444 debut.  Reviews have been positive but not overwhelmingly so.  If the furor surrounding The Avengers calms down next weekend it may have a chance to shine.

Snow White, one of two US takes on the classic tale coming out this season, had a below-average start as it earned 248,377 admissions.  The market place was too busy for it and it is unlikely to improve after this point.

Hollywood animation The Lorax also underwhelmed amid the crowd as it posted 194,935, though it has a slightly better chance at improving as there aren't many children's films on the horizon.

A Muse (aka Eungyo) lost just over half its business after a disappointing start as it wound up with 182,261 in its sophomore stint at the box office.  The buzz around it has completely died and it may quickly exit theatres in the coming weeks.

The new installment of the Japanese Crayon Shin-chan anime series grew a third in its second weekend as it added 121,192 to its total.

Architecture 101 fell four spots but only slowed by about 35% as it earned an additional 102,765 admissions.  It now stands a very good chance of making it over the four million mark, which would make it the third Korean film of the year to do so.

The Scent also fell four spots but by contrast lost 80% of its audience as it took 27,044 over the frame.  It'll be gone by next weekend so its 1.2 million total likely won't see much improvement.

Lastly, Battleship fell 90% to ninth place with 10,779 and French hit Untouchable took the last spot as it earned 5,102 during its probable final weekend on the chart.

I can't really imagine a scenario where The Avengers doesn't remain in first place next weekend but if it falls enough and if As One were to rise it could be a slightly closer battle but I have a feeling that we won't see any Korean films make an impact until two weeks from now when both Im Sang-soo's Cannes selected Taste of Money and romcom All About My Wife open with no real Hollywood competition.


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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