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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] JULY 2012: Homecourt advantage plays in a hotly contested showdown for the summer crowds

2012/08/04 | 492 views | Permalink

The month of July started out well for Korean films, as Korean audiences were treated to Park Jeong-woo's "Deranged" early on. The film cleared over a million admissions in its opening weekend and is currently challenging "Nameless Gangster" as the highest grossing Korean film of the year. Although that might sound like a great plan, the much anticipated crime thriller "The Thieves", from director/screenwriter Choi Dong-hoon, proved to be a massive game changer as it racked up over two millions admissions in its opening weekend; all the while stirring up a buzz about how far the film will be able to climb in the charts.

There was an equal mix of local and foreign releases this past month, with "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Thieves" leading their respected parties. Along with the final film in the "Dark Knight" trilogy, Marvel's "The Amazing Spiderman" was the other top foreign feature of the month. It was released during the last week of June and is closing in on a cool five million admissions. "Midnight in Paris" also started its long and limp run in the charts, and "Madagascar 3" tagged "Ice Age 4" in week four as the token blockbuster animation stealing tickets. "Ice Age 4" has come into the chart at a rather competitive time, and perhaps is being muscled out of tickets by the local smash hit "The Thieves" and Hollywood's summer golden boy "The Dark Knight Rises". July also saw two films out of the U.K. made an appearance. Both "The Best Erotic Marigold Hotel" and "Street Dance 2" poked their heads in at the bottom of week two, just in time to see off the Japanese animation "A Letter to Momo" in its penultimate weekend.

The two big Korean films this month (from left to right): Park Jeong-woo's  "Deranged" and Choi Dong-hoon's "The Thieves"

The big Korean release were Park Jeong-woo's "Deranged" and "The Thieves" by Choi Dong-hoon. The two have both managed to get the better of the Hollywood giants, claiming a 3:1 victory over the four weeks of July. "All About My Wife" ended its great run in the first week, bowing out on 4.5 million admissions. The erotic historical piece "The Concubine" did the same, but on a much lighter admissions note. Koo Ja-hong's "Dangerously Excited" jump to number four in week 2, but was swiftly demoted to ten the follow weekend. "Two Moons" travelled a similar path as Kim Dong-bin's horror was given two strikes and faded. "Two Moons" did have to carrier the weight of the summer horror on its own, the omnibus film "Horror Stories" has little choice in the matter and has just stepped into the top ten.

This years "horror" lineup: "Deranged", "Two Moons" and "Horror Stories".

In total there were thirteen Korea features released during the month of July. The big names I have already mentioned, by there were also three documentaries that came about. Seo Taiji's documentary about the making of his 8th album was the only one to make into the top ten though. The other two that missed out was Kim Kyung-man's "An Escalator in World Order" and Noh Hyo-doo's "Ukulele Love Together". The former was described by the director as "the collision and irony between faith and the world; the unbridgeable gap", you can catch the trailer for that one here.

The documentaries that were released this month: "Ukulele Love Together", "An Escalator in World Order" and "SeoTaiji Record of the 8th - 398"

Korea's rainy and hot July saw some fair competition between the local and international features of the summer as a number of record challenging films made their move for publics attention. "The Thieves" is off to a flyer, but Hollywood flicks like "The Dark Knight Rises" have a tendency to have short and sharps burst in Korea, and that might take away a little wind out of Choi Dong-hoon's plans come this weekend. August is now upon us and there looks to be a string of Korean comedies and light dramas heading out way, and it will be interesting how they will carry themselves in this hotly contested Korean film market.

- C.J Wheeler (E-mail: chriscjw@gmail.comTwitter: @Chriscjw85)

*Moive ticket sales and statistics were obtained from

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