Korea was one of the few territories in the world were FAST & FURIOUS opened and was not the No. 1 film last weekend. Instead, audiences flocked to the new release of local film SHADOW KILL (Geurimja Salin), giving the film 3.2 billion won ($2.4 million) over the weekend, for a total of 3.7 billion won.
FAST & FURIOUS 4 came in a distant second, making 1.4 billion won ($1.1 million) over the weekend, for a total of 1.6 billion won.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE slipped to third, making 982 million won ($744,000), for a three-week total of 5.5 billion won ($4.2 million).
Except for the No. 1 film, there was not a lot of Korean films at the box office last weekend. Next came MISSING (Siljong) way down in eighth with 304 million won ($230,000) to bring its three-week total to 3.9 billion won ($3.0 million).
A SADDER STORY THAN SADNESS (Seulpeum-boda Deo Seulpeun Iyagi) came in 10th with 85 million won ($64,000), for a total of 4.7 billion won ($3.6 million).
Beneath the top 10, OLD PARTNER (Wonang Sori), the cow documentary, was in 13th with 42 million won, for a total of 18.8 billion won ($14.2 million).
OVERSPEED SCANDAL (Gwasok Seukaendeul) is still in a few theaters, good enough for 19th, making 7.2 million won for a total of 53.7 billion won ($40.7 million).
TOKYO SONATA, down in 29th, never took off in Korea. It earned just 3 million won last weekend for a three-week total of 18 million won ($18,000).
SHORT BUS, now in 31st, by contrast has made 121 million won ($91,600) over its four-week run.
DAYTIME DRINKING never took off either, coming in 33rd. It made 1.7 million won for a two-month total of 170 million won.
According to KOBIS, Korean films are at 45.1% of the boxoffice for the year.
But KOBIS is not the only boxoffice game in town. The latest monthly numbers from CJ CGV just came out, too. For the first quarter of 2009, CGV says that the boxoffice numbers are very similar to 2008 -- 35.74 million admissions so far in 2009 compared to 35.79 million last year.
Korean film attendance is still down, though, with 46 percent of tickets going to Korean movies so far in 2009. Last year at this point it was around 55 percent, about the same in 2007, and it was over 70 percent at this point in 2006.
Most years Korean movies start out strong, then get pummeled by Hollywood in May and June, before bouncing back later in the summer and the year. Last year, the Korean film industry basically rolled over and played dead from April to June (with the low point coming in May when Korean movies had just 8 percent of the boxoffice).
This year, however, could be very different, with films by Park Chan-wook coming at the end of April and Bong Joon-ho at the end of May.