Monday, May 28, 2007

Korea Weekend Box Office - May 25-26

We have a new champion for the title of biggest ever opening in Korea. Kind of. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD'S END sold 2.71 million tickets since it opened on May 23, good for about $19.6 million.

The previous champ, THE HOST, opened to 2.63 million admissions and about $17.5 million. However, POTC:AWE (okay, PIRATES is easier) got the benefit of a longer opening, hitting screens on Wednesday and then getting a holiday Thursday. Just to compare, PIRATES 3 in Seoul, Friday to Sunday, had 474,500 admissions. THE HOST had 540,000.

But that is academic. As far as the studios are concerned, an opening can begin Wednesday, so it all counts. Congratulations PIRATES 3, you can collect your prize at the door.

Want more data? I have got oodles. PIRATES 3 had the biggest percentage of the box office ever, accounting for 71.3% of all tickets sold last weekend. And its 912 screens is just ridiculous (nearly half the screens in all of Korea): easily a record. In fact, Korea was nearly PIRATES 3's most successful non-USA opening in the world.
Worldwide - $205.5 million
UK - $25.8M
Korea - $19.6M
France - $16.7M
Germany - $16.9M
Japan - $15.7M
Russia at $13.7M
(Figures courtesy Deadline Hollywood).

Lee Chang-dong's SECRET SUNSHINE won a much more interesting prize than just bags of money at the box office -- it picked up the Best Actress Award at Cannes, for the lead Jeon Do-yeon. This is the first time for a Korean actor to win the top prize at one of the three major European film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice) since Kang Soo-yeon won at Venice for THE SURROGATE WOMB, way back in 1987 (although Moon So-ri did win the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best newcomer at Venice in 2002 for another Lee Chang-dong film, OASIS).

Anyhow, SECRET SUNSHINE opened at No. 2, with 350,000 admissions nationwide. Much better than Lee's OASIS did was back in the summer of 2002, which opened with 200,800 admissions. OASIS eventually pulled in about 1.2 million admissions when its run finished, about two months later. The Korean film market is a very different place than it was back then, but I still hope SECRET SUNSHINE does well.

No. 3 for SPIDER-MAN 3. Of course PIRATES 3 was going to devastate its numbers, but, wow, what a one-week drop. From 627 screens around the nation to just 290 ("just" 290), and a 75% drop in admissions. I am sure SHREK 3 will do much the same to PIRATES 3.

In fourth we have the first Korean horror film of the summer, THE EVIL TWIN (a revival of THE LEGENDARY TOWN television series).

The Japanese film TEARS FOR YOU made it over 100,000 admissions, a fairly rare occurrence for Japanese films. Good for TEARS.

MARIE ANTOINETTE made the top 10, despite appearing in just two theaters. In general, PIRATES gutted the rest of the top-10 this week.

This WeekTitle........................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Attendance (Seoul only)Total Attendance
1.Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End5.23912474,5002,713,300
2.Secret Sunshine5.2326673,300350,000
3.Spider-Man 35.0129031,1004,830,100
4.The Evil Twin5.2320229,700240,400
6.Unstoppable Marriage5.1023821,4001,135,100
7.Tears for You5.17553,000111,300
9.Marie Antoinette5.2321,4005,900
10.The Reaping4.19181,200705,600
(Source: Film2.0)

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