Home Reviews Film Korea Box Office: ‘Smugglers’ and ‘Ransomed’ Dominate Weekend

Korea Box Office: ‘Smugglers’ and ‘Ransomed’ Dominate Weekend

Korea Box Office: ‘Smugglers’ and ‘Ransomed’ Dominate Weekend

Ryu Seung-wan’s female-led crime caper “Smugglers” topped the South Korean box office for a second weekend, ahead of new release title “Ransomed.”

“Smugglers” enjoyed a strong hold in its second weekend of release and commanded 42% market share. It delivered $7.09 million, a drop of only 20% on its opening weekend, giving a 12-day cumulative of $26.2 million, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).

“Ransomed,” a 1980s-set drama thriller set in Lebanon, follows the travails of a low-ranking Korean diplomat who performs heroics in an attempt to rescue a kidnapped official. The film opened in second place with $3.34 million over the weekend and $5.19 million over its full five-day opening run.

“Elemental,” the Pixar cartoon that has charmed Korea, continued in a strong third place. It earned $2.26 million over the weekend, for a cumulative of $47.5 million. That total means that it has overtaken Japanese animated titles “Suzume” and “The First Slam Dunk” to become the second highest grossing film of the year in Korea and the first animated film to sell more than six million tickets in the country since “Frozen.”

“Elemental” is directed by Peter Sohn, a Korean American, who has said that the film is inspired by his own childhood and the sacrifices made by his immigrant parents.

“The Moon,” a sci-fi action adventure tells the tale of an astronaut returning for a rescue mission after a second Korean space mission goes badly wrong. Directed by Kim Yong-hwa, the film earned $1.51 million over the weekend and $2.86 million over its opening five days.

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I” dropped from third place to fifth in its fourth weekend on release in Korea. It earned $1.03 million, advancing its cumulative to $29.7 million since release on July 12.

The summer season has kept nationwide weekend box office totals consistently in the $12-17 million range for the past two months. The latest weekend was worth $16.6 million.

Korean titles, normally dominant, have shown only inconsistent signs of recovery after a deeply troubling first five months. In June, their market share was 65%, propelled by “The Roundup: No Way Out,” but July saw the market share drop back to 23%. With “Smugglers,” “The Moon” and “Ransomed” August has given local titles 70% of the Korean market, but the year-to-date total is only 35%.

Beyond the top five, no other title scored more than $1 million over the latest weekend.

Japanese animation “Detective Conan The Movie: Black Iron Submarine” earned $273,000 over the weekend, advancing its total to $4.97 million.

European animation film “Monster Family 2” opened in seventh place with $259,000 over the weekend and $458,000 over its opening five days. (Local charts show it in sixth place due to higher ticket sales numbers than “Detective Conan”.)

“Barbie” fell to eighth place in its third weekend of release. It scraped $276,000 for a total of $3.88 million. While the film has become a $1 billion global hit, its below-trend performance in Korea is being attributed to the stigma attached to feminism in Korea’s rigidly patriarchal society.

Rounding out the weekend top ten, “Insidious: The Red Door” earned $85,800 for a total of $3.07 million and Chinese film “My Love” earned $81,000.


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