Monday, July 15, 2013

Korean Box Office: Pacific Rim Cashes in on Korea's Robot-philia

Business was a healthy 2.62 million admissions (in line with last year) over the frame as two big releases duked it out for the top spot. The local market share was down to 40%, well below last year's 60% but unsurprising given the big new release the past weekend.

TitleRelease DateMarket ShareWeekendTotalScreens
1Pacific Rim (us)13/07/1144.30%1,160,6361,372,7311005
2Cold Eyes13/07/0334.60%1,003,0493,540,435801
3World War Z (us)13/06/2011.60%345,8964,891,909383
4Killer Toon13/06/273.50%107,1731,091,116244
5Lone Ranger (us)13/07/041.20%34,668370,829229
6Secretly Greatly13/06/051.10%34,3196,932,959141
7The Adventures of Jinbao (ch)13/07/040.80%25,19971,029116
8Side Effects (us)13/07/110.70%18,69723,441170
9The Croods (us)13/05/160.30%8,998936,69939
10The Master (us)13/07/110.20%6,5619,28238

Leading the frame, though perhaps with a thinner margin than expected, was Guillermo del Toro's robots vs. monsters smash 'em up Pacific Rim. With 1,160,636 admission it fared a good deal better here than it did stateside. Its success does not come as a big surprise as Korea has demonstrated a keen appreciation of all things robot at the box office. Among the most successful films of all time here are Transformers 2 and Iron Man 3, while have prevailed while many other global hits have floundered. Will Korea's robot-philia keeps Pacific Rim high on the charts? I imagine it will have some more strong business in store but it is unlikely to repeat at number 1.

Cooling only 25% after a stellar debut was the Korea thriller Cold Eyes, starring Sol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung and Han Hyo-joo. Reviews have been strong and clearly the word-of-mouth has kicked in, given it a healthy 1,003,049 admissions during its sophomore frame. Its total currently stands at 3.5 million and 5+ million finish seems assured.

Beginning its march out of theaters was the Brad Pitt zombie film World War Z, which drew another 345,896 spectators for a total that is about to eclipse 5 million. A very strong result.

Killer Toon lost half its business in week 3 for 107,173 but is now over the 1 million mark, a significant achievement for a K-horror.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Lone Ranger as it plummeted almost 85% in its second week for 34,668. A disastrous performance.

All eyes will be on the big-budget 3D baseball playing gorilla film Mr. Go this week. It's certainly to claim the top spot, but how far will it go?


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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