Korean film MARINE BOY was the top film in the country last weekend, with a decent but hardly overwhelming 2.8 billion won (about $2.1 million).
(UPDATE: Sorry, but KOBIS and KOFIC have since updated their data. MARINE BOY did mediocre business, but not as bad as it looked a few hours ago).
The John Woo film RED CLIFF 2 came in second, with 1.81 billion won ($1.3 million), bringing its total thus far to 16.6 billion won. After just two weeks in release, RED CLIFF 2 has already done far better than the first RED CLIFF, which barely topped 11 billion won last summer.
SCANDAL MAKERS (Gwasok Seukaendeul) is still going strong, in third spot, having now earned over 51 billion won. With its 7.9 million admissions and still going strong, it looks like the film is going to top 8 million before it is done. Right now it is the 8th biggest film ever in Korea, with WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL, FRIEND and D-WAR getting closer and closer.
Is the Korean ox movie, OLD PARTNER (Wonang Sori) getting some traction? The film climbed to No. 4 last weekend, as distributor Indie Story puts it in more and more cinemas. In fact, over the three-day weekend, OLD PARTNER made more money than it did in the previous two weeks combined. I doubt it is going to explode like THE WAY HOME did in 2002, but still, kind of interesting to see such a small film doing okay.
New Korean release KITCHEN flopped badly, opening just in 10th, despite being on 228 screens.
For the record, half of the top 10 was Korean this week, and Korean movies so far in 2009 are taking in 45.9 percent of the box office. And the rest is not all Hollywood -- so far this year, European films have comprised 13.7 percent and Hong Kong/China has 12.5 percent, while Hollywood has 25.6 percent. Very safe to say those numbers will not hold up, once Hollywood started releasing its big guns, but an interesting way to start the year.
(NOTE: All numbers updated this afternoon. But the basic points of the post basically hold true).