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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.11.29 - 2013.12.01

2013/12/02 | 1096 views |  | Permalink

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It's not too often that a Korean sci-fi is able to come out ahead, and although Kim Hyun-seok's "11 AM" did so with the second lowest first-place total this year, it was still able to topple some big events in the process. "11 AM" claimed 377,165 (21.3%) over 512 screens to outplay last week's number one – Kwak Gyeong-taek's "Friends 2" – as well as the not-so-hot "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire". Times are tough at the moment at the Korean box office, and so while the world (the U.S. in particular) is burning up over the Susan Collins's second novel adaptation, the hermit kingdom has withdrawn and spread it limited wealth over just a few worthy features.

Last week the omnibus romance flick "Marriage Blue" held down third place behind Kwak's sequel and the newly released "Hunger Games: Catching Fire", and although its rise in the chart did not come paired with more admissions, it still deserves credit for its accession to second. "Marriage Blue" snapped up 233,139 admissions (13.23%) to bring its three-week run to 841,565 and was closely tailed by "Catching Fire" on 206,222 (11.7%). Francis Lawrence's sci-fi adventure has already grossed a disgusting $573M, but has failed to find a spark among Korea's retardant cinephiles. The film has yet to breach the million admissions mark and has contributed just $5.7M to the film's enormous earnings.

The other Korean newbie released last week was Lee Deok-hee-I's debut feature "Tumbleweed" starring Im Chang-jung, Ahn Nae-sang, Jeong Seong-hwa and Son Eun-seo. This atypical drama opened its account with 202,916 admissions (11.87%) and managed to outdo the well-set "Friends 2" which came in behind it with just 197,206 (11.63%). A decent start, albeit during a weekend where an actual tumbleweed may have been spotted rolling through the ticket booths. "Friends 2", the sequel to his massively successful 2001 hit – which is still the thirteenth highest grossing Korean film ever – has now befriended 2.7 million locals; a friendship worth $19.1M.

Looking at the bottom half of the chart now and its "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" in fifth (194,590 – 10.3%) followed not-so-closely by "Riddick" (73,760 – 2.86%). The American historical fictional drama "The Butler" quietly pocketed 53,403 admissions (2.5%), followed by Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" whose 43,971 admissions haul bumped its total tally to over 3 million. The British Film Institute (BFI) recently named Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" as its second favourite film of 2013, and a good chunk of Korean cinephiles would concur. It's been seven weeks in the charts now for Mr. Cuaron's spacey thriller, an impressive run that has scored 3D's saviour $28.8M from Korean audiences alone.

Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2013.11.29 - 2013.12.01 (www.kobis.or.kr)

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "11 AM" (열한시) 2013/11/28 377 175 449 099
2 "Marriage Blue" (결혼 전야) 2013/11/21 233 139 841 565
3 "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"   206 556 869 239
4 "Tumbleweed" (창수) 2013/11/28 201 916 256 247
5 "Friends 2" (친구2) 2013/11/14 197 206 2 752 887
6 "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2"   194 590 491 863
7 "Riddick"   73 760 93 788
8 "Lee Daniels' The Butler"   44 522 53 732
9 "Thor: The Dark World"   44 050 3 015 155
10 "Gravity"   29 106 3 140 914
Korean movies only  
  "The Five" (더 파이브 ) 2013/11/14 28 142 714 983
  "The Attorney" (변호인) 2013/12/19 3 611 3 937
  "Lazy Hitchhikers' Tour de Europe" (잉여들의 히치하이킹) 2013/11/28 2 934 4 872
  "The Fake" (사이비) 2013/11/21 2 222 18 177
  "Hello Orchestra" (안녕?! 오케스트라) 2013/11/28 1 998 6 332
  "Red Vacance Black Wedding 2" (붉은 바캉스 검은 웨딩 2) 2013/11/28 1 281 2 020
  "Catch Me" (캐치미) 2013/12/19 1 217 1 353
  "Black Gospel" (블랙가스펠) 2013/11/14 1 181 43 722
  "Ingtoogi" (잉투기) 2013/11/14 1 093 15 128
  "Hope" (소원) 2013/10/02 1 019 2 707 550

- C.J. Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com@KoreaOnTheCouch)

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