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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2018.04.06 - 2018.04.08


Local horror narrowly retains pole position amid stiff competition...

The low-budget horror "Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum" by director Jeong Beom-sik managed to hold off serious challenges from both "Ready Player One" and the recently released local comedy-drama "What a Man Wants" to retain the top stop. Jeong's surprise hit outplayed Steven Spielberg's adaption last weekend with 40% of the sales (983,018 admissions), and with the 513,673 (27%) admissions the film scored here, its total tally now stands at 2.2 million ($16.7 million).

It was a close race between the top three films as each claimed just under 30% of the sales. Lee Byeong-heon-I's latest, "What a Man Wants" starring Lee Sung-min, Shin Ha-kyun, Song Ji-hyo and Lee El, entered in second with 503,914 admissions (26%) from 984 screens nationwide, followed by "Ready Player One" (based on Earnest Cline's novel of the same name), which fell one place with 473,298 (27.36%). (Technically, Spielberg's action outing earned more in sales due to the 3D option, but Lee's comedy-drama attracted more admissions overall.) Since its release late March, and from a production budget of $175 million, "Ready Player One" has now grossed nearly $400 worldwide.

"Stand By Me" is a family drama by Bang Soo-in that tells the story of a grandfather (Lee Soon-jae) on death's door and his relationship with his young grandson (Jung Ji-hoon). Bang has worked in the directing department on a number of features (e.g. "The King and the Clown", "Beautiful Story" and "Bandhobi"), but this is her first solo directing effort; she also wrote the screenplay for the film. From 543 screens, "Stand By Me" pulled 108,256 admissions (5.34%), marking the watershed from the weekend's top earners. Not far behind was last weekend's number three, down two places, Lee Jang-hoon-I's debut film, "Be with You" (with So Ji-sub and Son Ye-jin). The fantasy melodrama found another 102,347 admissions (5.36%) to bring its bottom line to $18.9 million (2.5 million admissions).

The 70-minute local adventure film "Bungaeman and the Island of Mysteries" by Kim Ji-yeol entered the fray on Thursday with 33,423 admissions (1.67%) from 191 screens, with Greta Gerwig's coming-of-age story "Lady Bird" - another new release - close on its heels with 28,484 (1.48%). Although Gerwig's film was nominated in five categories at this year's Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director), the critically acclaimed "Lady Bird" walked away from the Hollywood's big night without a win.

Choo Chang-min's fifth film, "Seven Years of Night" (after "Mapado", "Lost in Love", "Late Blossom" and "Masquerade"), fell four places to eighth after its screen count was slashed from 812 to just 437 during its second week out. Choo's thriller (starring Ryu Seung-ryong and Jang Dong-gun) was only able to add another 17,205 admissions (1%) to its earnings, which currently sits at $3.6 million (513,282 admissions).

The penultimate place in the top ten went to the American horror "A Quiet Place" by John Krasinski (who also co-wrote the screenplay and stars in it). The film gets officially released in Korea later this week, but an early screening attracted 17,208 admissions from 206 screens. The final place went to the Oscar-winning coming-of-age drama "Call Me by Your Name" by Luca Guadagnino (based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman). The film, which won for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, earned another $110,865 (13,413 admissions) to bring its bottom line in Korea to $1.2 million (155,277 admissions). Worldwide, since its premiere in America late last year, "Call Me by Your Name" has made nearly $40 million (the film cost just $3.5 million to produce).


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2018.04.06 - 2018.04.08 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum" (곤지암) 2018/03/28 513 673 2 248 495
2 "What a Man Wants" (바람바람바람) 2018/04/05 503 919 616 883
3 "Ready Player One"   473 298 1 725 961
4 "Stand By Me" (덕구) 2018/04/05 108 256 137 785
5 "Be with You" (지금 만나러 갑니다) 2018/03/14 102 347 2 525 786
6 "Bungaeman and the Island of Mysteries" (번개맨과 신비의 섬) 2018/04/05 33 423 36 418
7 "Lady Bird"   28 484 49 707
8 "Seven Years of Night" (7년의 밤) 2018/03/28 21 531 513 282
9 "A Quiet Place "   17 208 21 796
10 "Call Me by Your Name"   13 413 155 277
Korean movies only  
  "Mini Special Forces X" (미니특공대 X) 2018/03/22 10 569 95 568
  "Microhabitat" (소공녀) 2018/03/22 3 349 50 050
  "Little Forest" (리틀 포레스트) 2018/02/28 1 412 1 502 473
  "Mothers" (당신의 부탁) 2018/04/19 788 923
  "Psychokinesis" (염력) 2018/01/31 459 990 109
  "Intention" (그날, 바다) 2018/04/12 405 546
  "The Princess and the Matchmaker" (궁합) 2018/02/28 288 1 339 712
  "A Tiger in Winter" (호랑이보다 무서운 겨울손님) 2018/04/12 221 1 479
  "Parallel" (우리는 썰매를 탄다) 2018/03/07 115 2 427
  "Keys to the Heart" (그것만이 내 세상) 2018/01/17 110 3 417 372

– Christopher Wheeler

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