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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.09.20 ~ 2013.09.22


The Chuseok king has been crowned as Han Jae-rim's "The Face Reader" stood unopposed at the top of the box office this past weekend. The film has now stormed into Korea's all-time top twenty with less than two weeks on the clock. Han's period piece followed its smashing opening efforts to record another 2.2 million (51.5%) admissions over 1,239 screens. Perfectly timed and critically endorsed, "The Face Reader" channelled Korea's collective consciousness into the concession lines, and is now approaching 7 million admissions with no signs of ceasing. The holiday season was reasonably lucrative for a number of foreign entries as well, with films such as "Monsters University", "Despicable Me 2" and "The Conjuring" being allowed to advance their own tallies into more respectable territories.

Before Han broke the box office it was Lee Seung-joon-I's action comedy "The Spy" that stood tall. However since "The Face Reader" seized power "The Spy" has been forced into second, acting as a funny buffer between Korea's hottest feature and the outsiders that threaten the crown. "The Spy" held second last week with 377,861 (12.6%), and has retained that position this past weekend with 678,324 (15.5%). Lee's debut effort has now moved onto 2.8 million admissions, making it an excellent contemporary foil to Han's return to Joseon's dynastic dreamscapes.

Big Bong's "Snowpiercer" is also still sticking around, and has the Chuseok festivities to thank for its improved admissions tally. His twisted steampunked showstopper added another 22,866 tickets to the furnace, a score that saw Bong's latest move to 9.3 million admissions – that's an incredible $61.6M from this French-inspired flyby! If there is a lowest common denominator here, it has to be Song Kang-ho who performs both in Bong's futuristic extravaganza and in Han's dramatic Joseon dream. Song has struggled and been a little quiet in recent years, but 2013 has placed his face on the world stage, and now with "The Face Reader" the master has returned to his throne smiling.

Hong Sang-soo's abduction of time and space might not be everyone's fancy, but that hasn't stopped his latest film "Our Sunhi" from enjoying its second week in the top ten. Like "Snowpiercer", the film remained where is stood last week, tenth, and added another 13,830 admissions to the commercial record books. The film has already been screened at a number of international film festivals in Locarno, Toronto, and Vancouver. "Our Sunhi" will also feature at the 57th BFI London Film Festival in October, and will be screen at Korea's Busan International Film Festival under the "Panorama" section.

- C.J. Wheeler (; @KoreaOnTheCouch)

Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2013.09.20 - 2013.09.22 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "The Face Reader" (관상) 2013/09/11 2 220 418 6 873 577
2 "The Spy" (스파이) 2013/09/05 678 312 2 843 168
3 "The Conjuring"   512 364 802 317
4 "Monsters University"   290 392 637 684
5 "Superbad 2"   268 912 716 138
6 "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters"   156 412 457 805
7 "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"   137 669 496 724
8 "Free Birds" (Plumíferos - Aventuras voladoras)
  27 443 39 103
9 "Snowpiercer" (설국열차) 2013/08/01 22 866 9 313 537
10 "Our Sunhi" (우리 선희) 2013/09/12 13 830 38 535
Korean movies only  
  "Hide and Seek" (숨바꼭질) 2013/08/14 7 878 5 600 035
  "Project Cheonan Ship" (천안함 프로젝트) 2013/09/05 2 676 17 858
  "The Russian Novel" (러시안 소설) 2013/09/19 1 040 1 675
  "Moebius" (뫼비우스) 2013/09/05 972 34 708
  "Tomorrow's Scenery of Korea Episode 3" (1971, 내일의 팔도강산) - Re-release   510 510
  "On the Road" (길위에서) 2013/05/23 249 50 164
  "Love in 42.9" (낭만파 남편의 편지) 2013/09/12 234 955
  "The Terror Live" (더 테러 라이브) 2013/08/01 74 5 579 041
  "Fatal" (가시꽃) 2013/08/22 35 1 684
  "Over and Over Again" (개똥이) 2013/09/05 27 640

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