Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 25-27

Sorry for not writing much these days (yet again). Been very busy with a bunch of fun and interesting projects. Might try to write about some of them some time soon.

But in the meantime, here is the latest Korean box office. As you can see, THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD is holding up nicely. Distributor CJ Entertainment says that the Manchurian Western has toppped 4 million admissions already, after 11 days in the theaters, which is quite solid.

If I were to guess, I might predict GBW will top 8 million admissions. But I doubt it will beat 10 million, unfortunately. Still, a very impressive, solid hit.

On the other hand, Lee Jun-ik's SUNNY did not excite many people. I have not seen it yet, but most people who have seem to think it is underwhelming (not a surprise, judging by the trailer).

For those of you who are concerned about such things, thanks to the latest PUBLIC ENEMY film, SUNNY and GBW, Korean films are now up over 40 percent of the box office for the year again. Yeah, Korean movies.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Joheun Nom, Nappeun Nom, Isanghan Nom - Korean) 7.178255.7024.58
2.Sunny (Nimeun Meon Geose - Korean) 7.245983.244.32
3.Red Cliff 7.103280.669.41
4.Nim's Island 7.172990.572.53
5. Doremon 7.171010.370.94
6.Space Chimps 7.172320.290.96
7.Public Enemy Returns (Gangcheoljung - Korean) 6.192150.3228.36
8.100 Feet 7.241680.240.29
9.Hancock 7.022430.2317.67
10.Wanted 6.262070.2519.14
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 97% of nationwide box office)

Still waiting for WALL-E, though...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 18-20

No surprise, THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD was the top film last weekend, pulling in about 2.2 million admissions since it opened on Thursday. That is good enough to be about the third-best opening for a Korean film ever (after D-WAR and THE HOST). It is also behind PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3 and SPIDER-MAN 3. Still, good company.

John Woo's RED CLIFF put up a valiant fight for its second weekend, adding about $1.57 million to bring its Korean total to $8.14 million.

Otherwise, not a lot of excitement in the box office at the moment. The big question will be how well THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD holds on in the future. Will it fizz out quickly or continue strong?

Next weekend will see another potentially big film opening, Lee Jun-ik's SUNNY, and after that WALL-E and THE DARK KNIGHT will be following closely, so the competition could be tough.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Joheun Nom, Nappeun Nom, Isanghan Nom - Korean) 7.1795411.0414.09
2.Red Cliff 7.103891.578.14
3.Nim's Island 7.173311.371.53
4.Hancock 7.024030.9517.12
5. Public Enemy Returns (Gangcheoljung - Korean) 6.193050.7027.53
6.Wanted 6.263400.6718.60
7.Space Chimps 7.172270.470.51
8.Doremon 7.171000.400.43
9.Kung Fu Panda 6.051740.2729.56
10.Crossing (Korean) 6.261440.175.43
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 97% of nationwide box office)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Qui Custodiet Custodies?

Oh my god. The trailer is out for WATCHMEN. You can have your DARK KNIGHT. You can enjoy your THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD. But this trailer for WATCHMEN is absolutely gorgeous. And it looks exactly like the comic book.

Now, if only someone would make MIRACLEMAN into a movie...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

If It's Raining, It Must Be PiFan

This year's Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) kicked off last night. So naturally it is raining now. Taking place during Korea's rainy season, PiFan is usually a pretty wet festival. Not that I mind -- anything to keep temperatures down makes me happy.

PiFan opened with the animated film WALTZ WITH BASHIR, which I quite liked, despite the depressing subject matter (about the war in Lebanon in the 1980s). In fact, I think it was the best opening film I can recall at PiFan.

Was 28 DAYS LATER an opening film? That is the only thing close I can think of.

I am going to be too busy this year to spend a lot of time at PiFan (unlike last year, when I was here the whole time). But I am looking forward to seeing a few movies at least -- especially the hwalgeuk films, international coproduction action films from the 1960s and 1970s.

The other fun thing I am looking forward to is some of the live concerts. Tonight there will be Kingston Rudieska and Windy City. Sunday is Crying Nut. But the most interesting show is defintely on Monday, as Sato Yukie and his Korea classic rock tribute band Gopchangjeongol will be playing.

More later. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 11-13

John Woo's epic RED CLIFF got off to a pretty good start last weekend, as it had the biggest opening weekend for any Chinese-language film ever in Korea. With over 800,000 admissions in its first four days, distributor Showbox thinks it might be able to make it to 3 million admissions before its run is over, which would make it the all-time biggest Chinese film in Korea.

Getting to 3 million is going to be tough, though, with THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD opening this Thursday. I have a feeling GBW is going to be on just about every screen on the peninsula... going to be a very tough weekend for the competition next weekend.

As for this weekend's movies... PUBLIC ENEMY RETURNS is still doing fairly well, and has not inched past the 4 million admissions mark. Looks like 5 million is pretty unlikely, but not a bad run.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Red Cliff 7.105684.315.10
2.Hancock 7.026053.9115.11
3.Wanted 6.264152.1417.04
4.Public Enemy Returns (Gangcheoljung - Korean) 6.193972.0025.99
5. Kung Fu Panda 6.053861.1729.12
6.Crossing (Korean) 6.263160.774.96
7.The Strangers 7.021870.311.40
8.Rec 7.101280.260.32
9.Santamaria (Jalmotdoen Mannam - Korean) 7.101890.190.22
10.Impy's Island 6.26640.0460.16
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 98% of nationwide box office)

Will Lee Jun-ik's SUNNY be this year's D-WAR to GBW's MAY 18? I.e., can Lee's film (which will be released July 24) piggyback off of GBW's excitement without being overwhelmed by the competition, similar to how D-WAR and MAY 18 both did well last year?. Still a couple of weeks ago from finding out.

Last year, the studios pretty much left August open for Korean films to do well. This year, however, we have WALL-E and THE DARK KNIGHT coming quickly, so there could be a lot more competition.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Weird -- Mini Review (Spoiler Free)

I have now seen THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD - twice! - and I can confirm that Kim Jee-woon's "eastern Western" is a heck of a lot of fun. Lots of great action from beginning to end (with three major action sequences that kick some serious butt), very few slow spots, plenty of laughs throughout -- everything you would want from a summer blockbuster.

On Sunday, I got to see the Cannes version of the film, then on Monday was the official press and VIP premiere at the Yongsan CGV. The new version of the film is only slightly different, with a small addition at the opening and an additional scene at the ending... nothing too huge, but they improve the movie, I thought. Especially the new ending.

As for the story itself, it is pretty basic (and well described in earlier reviews). Set in 1930s Manchuria, TGTBTW is the story of a hidden treasure map and the three guys hunting for it. Jung Woo-sung plays "The Good," and does a great job pulling off the action scenes and stunts (he apparently broke him arm filming the big action sequence in the middle of the film). Lee Byung-hun is the cool assassin, aka "The Bad," hired by the pro-Japanese businessman to get the man. And Song Gang-ho is suitably weird as "The Weird," a ball of chaotic energy who stumbles across the map early in the movie.

In addition, there are rival gangs, the Japanese authorities, the occasional opium dealer and more to add to the energetic mix.

Okay, it is not a perfect film... it does drag a little in a couple of places and there are several scenes that would not hold up to careful analysis or logic. But it is more than enough fun to compensate for those problems. Definitely raises the bar for Korean movies (at least for blockbusters).

Most amazingly for a Korean movie, TGTBTW has no annoying crying scenes, nor does it end in tears. Seriously, think about it. I cannot think of any movie in the Korean top 25 that did not end with a climatic weepy scene. Maybe D-WAR, but that film was an oddball in every way (plus I was laughing at the film so much, it is hard to remember what the director intended). TAZZA, perhaps... But THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD is all fun and totally worthwhile.

Hopefully CJ Entertainment will release the film with English subtitles, at least in a couple of locations.

UPDATE: Just got it confirmed from CJ Entertainment that TGTBTW will be showing at Yongsan CGV with English subtitles, starting July 17 (opening day). So check it out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 4-6

A good opening for HANCOCK in Korea, with a solid $6.5 million weekend. Koreans seem to like Will Smith (like pretty much everybody on the planet). I thought HANCOCK was okay... did not like Smith as the surly drunk (found it most unbelievable). But the movie from the big surprise to the climax was fun and interesting. Plus it has been quite a while since I was that surprised by a film.

Otherwise, not a lot going on in the top-10 this week. The top six films did okay, but the rest of the films barely pulled in small change. INCREDIBLE HULK was the biggest drop, falling from fifth to 13th. MY MIGHTY PRINCESS flopped from eighth to 15th (making just $170,000 since it opened).

FYI, the old Jeremy Irons/Robert DiNiro film THE MISSION is playing in Seoul on a couple of screens -- on the old Dream Cinema (beside Seodaemun subway station) and somewhere else. It has made about $20,000 since June 26... not bad for a 20-year-old movie.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Hancock 7.026866.648.75
2.Wanted 6.264643.3813.28
3.Public Enemy Returns (Gangcheoljung - Korean) 6.195232.6122.62
4.Kung Fu Panda 6.054261.5227.60
5. Crossing (Korean) 6.263740.953.68
6.The Strangers (aka "Knock") 7.022310.520.74
7.Crows Zero 6.261910.0700.094
8.Impy's Island 6.26700.0610.11
9.Planet Terror 7.031450.0550.077
10.Summer Days With Coo 6.26180.0330.15
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 97% of nationwide box office)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - June 27-29

Not much to say this week about the box office. PUBLIC ENEMY RETURNS is still doing well, up to 2.7 million admissions. KUNG FU PANDA is about to pass 4 million admissions and should become the biggest foreign film of the year shortly.

Oh and I should note how poorly Kwak Jae-young's MY MIGHTY PRINCESS did. Worse than DAISY. Ouch.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Wanted 6.266295.617.12
2.Public Enemy Returns (Gangcheoljung - Korean) 6.196694.8817.88
3.Kung Fu Panda 6.055242.6925.48
4.Crossing (Korean) 6.264021.572.07
5. Incredible Hulk 6.122740.306.31
6.Sex & the City 6.051290.206.97
7.Get Smart 6.192260.111.09
8.My Mighty Princess (Korean) 6.261990.0950.12
9.21 6.19890.0840.69
10.Summer Days with Coo 6.26270.0540.11
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 97% of nationwide box office)