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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.10.04 - 2013.10.06


Han Jae-rim's "The Face Reader" relinquished pole position to Lee Joon-ik's new drama "Wish – 2013". Lee has a preference for period pieces with films such as "Hwangsanbul" (2003), "Blades of Blood" (2010), and "Battlefield Heroes" (2010) under his belt, but the director is best known for his period drama "The King and the Clown" which claimed 12.3 million admissions in 2005. Lee's latest is his first film since 2010 and it grabbed some 475,611 (27%) over the weekend, advancing its total tally to just under 800,000. Lee didn't have it all his own way though, "Wish – 2013" had some stiff competition from another local release in the form of Ahn Kwon-tae's "Tough as Iron". Anh's roadside family comedy came out with 407,707 (24%) over 683 screens to secured second place while "The Face Reader" slipped two places in third. 

Last week "The Face Reader" was enjoying its third successive week at the top as it continued to climb the list of Korea's highest grossing films. Han's film recently surpassed "Speedy Sandal" (8.2 million) and "D-War" (8.4 million) in tenth with its new total of 8.7 million admissions ($58.8M). "The Face Reader" is now the fifth film in the last two years to make it into South Korea's highest earners. The film only needs a little more than 600,000 to overtake Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiercer" (9.3 million), but will most likely be unable to challenge the 11 million held by "Silmido" (2003) in eighth. Han's historical piece ended this past weekend with just 290,731 (17.2%) over 484 screens, a total that was comfortably less than half of what it received last week.  

The two new releases ("Wish – 2013" and "Tough as Iron") both took advantage of the slight downtime at the box office, both enjoying relatively modest starts to their theatrical runs. Recently the Korea box office has seen some stunning results as the populace piled in to see a host of worthwhile flicks during the hot season, record-breaking figures and features that have flourished and thrived in Korea's competitive market. Both these new films take aim at the Korean family unit, showcasing imitate relationships that struggle against the harsh probing's of the external world. In "Wish-2013" that takes the form of a father and his daughter (who is a victim of violence), and in "Tough as Iron" an ex-fighter is rustled back into the criminal world to support his mother. The only other Korean feature to be found in this past weekend's top ten was Lee Seung-joon-I's "The Spy" at number six. Lee's debut film claimed just 51,212 (2.8%) to move its total now to 3.4 million. Last week "The Spy" has been out for five week's now and this is the first time it has slipped out of the top five.

"The Conjuring" was the most successful foreign feature over the weekend, adding 213,587 stubs that moved James Wan's supernatural horror to 3.4 million admissions ($13.7M) in Korea. Dennis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" followed with 75,571 (4.6%) in fifth, a new entry that was given 423 screens around the country. Universal's "Despicable Me 2" and Sony Picture's "Monster University" claimed 40,374 (2.1%) and 36,483 (1.9%) respectfully, while Argentina/Peru animation "Rodencia y el Diente de la Princesa" and China's "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon" brought the rear with just 52,000 admissions between them.

- C.J. Wheeler (; @KoreaOnTheCouch)


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2013.10.04 - 2013.10.06 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "Hope" (소원) 2013/10/02 475 611 799 552
2 "Tough as Iron" (깡철이) 2013/10/02 407 707 780 049
3 "The Face Reader" (관상) 2013/09/11 290 731 8 712 867
4 "The Conjuring"   213 587 2 043 248
5 "Prisoners"   75 571 141 274
6 "The Spy" (스파이) 2013/09/05 51 212 3 405 576
7 "Despicable Me 2"   40 374 894 290
8 "Monsters University"   36 483 821 226
9 "Rodencia y el Diente de la Princesa"   31 957 58 402
10 "The Jungle Bunch - Operation Ice Flow (Les As de la jungle - Opération banquise)"   22 055 41 824
Korean movies only  
  "Wish - Short"   8 205 12 159
  "Our Sunhi" (우리 선희) 2013/09/12 3 162 59 539
  "Snowpiercer" (설국열차) 2013/08/01 2 463 9 333 960
  "The Hero" (더 히어로) 2013/10/08 1 502 2 726
  "Are You Ready?" (아유레디) 2013/09/26 1 367 5 930
  "The Russian Novel" (러시안 소설) 2013/09/19 412 4 384
  "Queen of the Night" (밤의 여왕) 2013/10/17 412 412
  "Project Cheonan Ship" (천안함 프로젝트) 2013/09/05 332 20 261
  "Dancer Kim's Teaching (댄서김의 은밀한 교수법)"   329 550
  "Beautiful Korea (아름다운 팔도강산, 1972) - Re-release"   230 466

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