Monday, February 4, 2013

KBO: Miracle in Berlin, Record 1-2 Finish at Korean BO (02/01-02/03, 2013)

Miracle in Berlin, Record 1-2 Finish at Korean BO

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Berlin File 13/01/30 43.40% 1,532,210 2,245,404 897
2 Miracle in Cell No.7 13/01/29 37.50% 1,360,776 4,191,854 869
3 Man on the Edge 13/01/23 6.20% 223,531 659,045 388
4 Pororo: the Racing Adventure 13/01/09 3.80% 137,896 3,826,738 367
5 Hotel Transylvania (us) 13/01/17 2.40% 93,290 868,382 297
6 Les Miserables (uk/us) 12/12/19 1.70% 62,422 5,785,971 208
7 Detective Conan (jp) 13/01/24 1.00% 39,576 165,382 127
8 Life of Pie (us) 13/01/01 1.40% 34,584 1,550,725 89
9 The Impossible (sp/us) 13/01/17 0.70% 25,772 617,916 118
10 The Life of Guskou of Budori (jp) 13/01/30 0.30% 12,778 16,251 113

This past weekend was one of the biggest on record and it wasn't even a holiday. Total admissions stood at 3.53 million, which was not far from the record set in August (3.68) when The Thieves was leading during its second weekend. Needless to say that was a huge jump over last year's 2.36 but that was no slouch either with three big films in the midst of their runs (Nameless Gangster, Unbowed and Dancing Queen).

Last year the Korean market stood at a gargantuan 88% and remarkably this past weekend eclipsed that figure by hitting 91%. It's true that the few months following the Christmas holiday season are traditionally weak for Hollywood fare but this is still a towering achievement for the local industry.This weekend also posted the biggest 1-2 finish on the marquees, with two films soaring well over the one million admissions mark.

Getting off to a huge start but only beating its competitor by a relatively slim margin was the highly anticipated The Berlin File, the big-budget spy thriller extravaganza with an A-list cast (Ha Jeong-woo, Gianna Jun, Han Suk-kyu, Ryoo Seung-beom) from action maestro Ryoo Seung-wan. The film spun up 1,532,210 admissions in its opening frame (and has already crossed 2 million overall) for what represents the third highest opening weekend on record. Everyone knew it would be big but this is nevertheless a resounding triumph for distributor CJ.

Miracle in Cell No. 7, which got off to a huge start last weekend, managed to lose none of its business. The heart-warming pic has been very well received and recorded another 1,360,776 to effectively stay flat for the frame. With over 4 million and counting, this Ryoo Seung-ryong pic has become the first major hit of the year and will likely continue to perform well as we head into the Lunar New Year holiday.

The 10th anniversary 3D animation event of Korea's 'President of Children' Pororo eased only 31% for 223,531 but that is still not a very impressive figure. Children's fare continues to struggle in the country. Granted Miracle clobbered it by encompassing its demographic.

Man on the Edge has had a great run until now but with these tow behemoths towering above it it saw its take slashed by 75% for 137,896. The shaman gangster comedy just needs another 176,000 to cross the 4 million mark, but it's hard to say if it will manage that at this point. Losing just over half its business was another animation, Hotel Transylvania, in the fifth spot with 93,290.

Another big local release is shuffling into theaters next weekend. Southbound has been getting some strong reviews and it features the biggest box office draw in the business, the ever-reliable Kim Yun-seok. I can't imagine a film with his name failing but I do marvel at the fireworks ahead. Granted this will be the Lunar New Year weekend (Korea's biggest holiday), so look for what may very well be the biggest ever weekend at the Korean box office. Meanwhile, Hollywood will introduce the fifth installment of its Die Hard franchise this coming weekend but I can't imagine it will perform well with The Berlin File aiming at the same audience.


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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