Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Korea Weekend Box Office - Feb. 20-22

It has been a long, steady climb, but at last, six weeks after being released, the low-budget documentary OLD PARTNER (Wonang Sori) is the No. 1 film in the land. OLD PARTNER pulled in nearly 3 billion won ($1.5 million ... yikes, what an exchange rate) over the weekend to bring its total box office to 9.4 billion won ($6.3 million).

Not bad for a $70,000 film that opened on just seven screens.

Additionally, Korean movies took in three of the top four spots on the chart this week, with HANDPHONE (Haendeupon) opening in third and THE SCAM (Jakjeon) in fourth.

Must be rather disappointing for HANDPHONE, making just 1.7 billion won ($1.2 million) despite opening on 443 screens; even with its great surge, OLD PARTNER is still on only 276 screens).

THE SCAM has now pulled in over 870,000 admissions and 5.8 billion won ($3.9 million).

Just one other Korean film on the chart this week, as SCANDAL MAKERS (Gwasok Seukaendeul) landed in ninth, bringing its total revenue to 52.9 billion won ($36 million). According to KOBIS, SCANDAL MAKERS is now at 8.1 million admissions, but remember that KOBIS does not track every theater in the nation, so SCANDAL MAKERS has probably done slightly better than that. The film is almost certainly now ahead of FRIEND to become the sixth-biggest movie ever in Korea.

The biggest non-Korean, non-Hollywood film, RED CLIFF 2, fell to 13th. In five weeks the John Woo epic pulled in 2.7 million admissions and made 18 billion won ($12 million).

Oh, and MARINE BOY is nearly done, too, landing in 12th, with 24,000 admissions to bring its total to 825,000 admissions.


gordsellar said...

Reputedly Lee Myung Bak, on being shown the film (or told about it?) said of Wonang Sori, "And how much money have you made this this film?" or something like that, as if every film has to be a big budget action thriller with explosions and maybe a bit of nudity.

Yet even this is a pretty good profit for this film. Would that he could learn from the fact that huge expenditures on mega-projects isn't always the solution to every problem.

Wow, did I just turn a box office discussion political? Well, at least I didn't swear about Lee. (I'm told the Blue House has declared cussing about Lee "not allowed.")

Mark Russell said...

Hi Gord:

Thanks for the comment.

I'm sorry, but I do not see how LMB asking about how well OLD PARTNER has done correlates with explosions and nudity (btw, very little nudity to be found among Korea's top blockbusters).

Certainly LBM is a pretty unimpressive politician, with a bass-ackwards approach to governance (and life in general, as far as I can tell). But these LBM-as-Satan ideas floating around seem rather over-the-top for me. He is not interesting enough to be evil.

But the bigger point, that less is often more, is a good one for many people, not just LBM. The movie industry in Korea (and around the world) gets reminded of that lesson with some regularity. After all, it does not matter how hard or fast you march if you march in the wrong direction.