Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Korea Weekend Box Office - Nov. 28-Dec. 1

Five out of the top-10 films this week were Korean, including the top two films. That is a surprisingly strong showing for them. Yeah, Korean movies. Who knows, maybe they can creep up over 45% of the box office for year (at the moment they are just under 42%). No, there is nothing super-exciting coming in the way of Korean movies, but the Hollywood competition looks even more underwhelming. In fact, I would not be surprised if Miyazaki's PONYO ON THE CLIFF BY THE SEA was the biggest hit of December.

Top film over the weekend was the adaptation of Kang Full's CARTOON ROMANCE comic book, retitled by MNFC as HELLO, SCHOOLGIRL. CARTOON ROMANCE was, of course, the online comic strip that made Kang famous (and went a long way to making online comics popular in Korea). Other movies made from his stories have not fared so well (APT, BA:BO), but I think it is safe to say that CARTOON ROMANCE is Kang's most loved series, so it is not surprising it had a built-in audience.

A strong pre-opening for OVERSPEED SCANDAL, the latest Cha Tae-hyun film. I have only seen the trailer so far, but I was pretty unimpressed. Especially considering how the biggest "joke" in the trailer was a PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES-esque sequence... but involving a potential father-daughter relationship. Two straight guys in bed together -- funny. A guy and a girl who might be father-daughter -- not funny. Just icky. Or maybe I am just an uptight fuddy-duddy. Who knows?

PORTRAIT OF A LADY is still doing quite well, with nearly $8 million so far. The new Bond film is doing all right, too, although it is definitely flagging. Oh, and ANTIQUE is not over the 1-million admissions point, which is always nice.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Hello, Schoolgirl (Sunjeong Manhwa - Korean) 11.274612.012.45
2.Portrait of a Beauty (Miindo - Korean) 11.134752.0412.10
3.Blindness 11.202961.043.40
4.Quantum of Solace 11.054221.0013.75
5. Antique (Seoyang Goldong Yanggwajajeom Antique - Korean) 11.133740.726.88
6.Overspeed Scandal (Gwasok Scandal - Korean) 12.042270.480.57
7.Max Payne 11.201940.281.46
8.Connected 11.202660.211.03
9.My Wife Got Married (Anaega Gyeolhonhaessda - Korean) 10.231660.1412.01
10.Lie With Me 11.13420.0680.41
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 98% of nationwide box office)

So I saw PORTRAIT OF THE LADY over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised. No, the film is not a classic. And the last hour or so is a hopeless simpa cryfest. But when the film is light and sexual, it is surprisingly fun and engaging. The sex is at once erotic and amusing (for the most part). These scene with the sex book and the dude calling out numbers was pretty daring, too.

The cinematographer needs to learn how to film Kim Min-sun, though. Sometimes she looked quite pretty, but other times she looked dreadful. Someone had no idea how to photograph her correctly.

Anyhow, funny to think how 10 years ago, people were all upset over Jang Sun-woo's LIES, a sexual film about a man's relationship with a high school girl. And now the top two films are all about sex and a man's relationship with a high school girl (although, since I have not seen SCHOOLGIRL yet, I don't know how much the filmmakers changed the storyline from the graphic novel).

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