Sunday, September 16, 2012

KBO: Masquerade Is King, Pieta Enjoys Golden Lion Bump (09/14-09/16, 2012)

Masquerade Is King, Pieta Enjoys Golden Lion Bump 

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Masquerade 9/13/12 53.30% 1,097,619 1,278,064 809
2 Resident Evil 5 (us) 9/13/12 14.30% 245,915 304,150 368
3 Pieta 9/6/12 7.20% 148,163 353,379 325
4 The Bourne Legacy (us) 9/6/12 6.50% 135,767 913,877 345
5 Traffickers 8/29/12 4.60% 92,289 1,534,579 305
6 Wolf Children (jp) 9/13/12 3.40% 77,796 85,933 225
7 The Expendables 2 (us) 9/6/12 2.50% 53,444 416,236 253
8 Neighbors 8/22/12 2.00% 40,285 2,416,188 222
9 The Thieves 7/25/12 1.50% 32,033 12,923,537 194
10 Insidious (us) 9/13/12 1.30% 27,488 35,030 178

Business took a jump this past weekend as total admissions clocked in at over 2 million, a 50% increase over last year, while the local market share was very strong at 70%. A new Korean film hijacked the marketplace but an unlikely arthouse contender shot up to 3rd place following some significant international exposure.

It's no surprise that Lee Byung-hun's much touted first period film Masquerade opened to no.1, nor is it that surprising that it had such a large opening with 1,097,619. I almost would have expected more but we are past the summer months and given its very positive reception so far I imagine it's in for a long and healthy run that will take full advantage of the upcoming Chuseok holiday. In fact I expect it will grow in its sophomore spin on the charts.

The other big new film of the weekend was the 5th entry in the tired Resident Evil franchise but it came away with a paltry 245,915 admissions.

Besides the new number 1, the real story this weekend was Kim Ki-duk's Golden Lion-winning Pieta rising to number 3 on the chart with a significant 148,163 for a film of its size. This makes it Kim's most successful film in over a decade (since 2001's Bad Guy) and it will be interesting to see whether word of mouth will set in or not.

The Bourne Legacy dropped like a stone (75%) and took in only 135,767 over the frame. Traffickers had a similar fate as it lost 70% of its business for 92,298.

Further down at no. 8, Neighbors lost its screen count and 80% of its audience for 40,285 but it is almost at 2.5 million, an impressive haul. At no. 9 The Thieves was also cut down to size as it sold 32,033 tickets. It's hard to say whether or not it wil catch up with The Host's alltime Korean record, it's a little over 100,000 away now but unless it slows it fall it will end up short.

The only major release next weekend is the Korean action thriller Spy starring Kim Myeong-min and Yu Hae-jin. Its strong cast should give it some heft but I can't imagine it'll unseat Lee Byung-hyun from his throne.


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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