Park Chan-wook's THIRST (Bakjwi) opened strong last weekend, easily taking the No. 1 spot with 5.61 billion won ($4.4 million). THIRST had 821,000 admissions over the weekend (and 1 million since Thursday), far surpassing the 472,000 for I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OKAY, and just slightly less than the 870,000 for LADY VENGEANCE.
In second is the second week of MY GIRLFRIEND IS AN AGENT (7 Geup Gongmuwon), which made 3.50 billion won ($2.7 million) to bring its 10-day total to 10.4 billion won ($8.1 million).
WOLVERINE opened only in third, but it was a relatively good opening for the franchise -- 3.40 billion won ($2.7 million) for WOLVERINE versus 3.66 billion won for X-MEN 3 ($2.9 million).
INSADONG SCANDAL opened in fourth, with 2.38 billion won over the weekend for a total of 2.89 billion won ().
With Korean films taking in three of the top four spots at the box office, looks like they will not tank as badly as they did last May, when Korean movies accounted for a paltry 8 percent.
Something else I found interesting is how many screens are now available for movies. A few years ago, when THE HOST opened on over 800 screens, a lot of people complained about big movies "monopolizing" the theaters. But this week, even though THIRST was on over 600 screens, AGENT and WOLVERINE had over 500 and INSADONG had over 400. Even the rest of the top-10 films all had plenty of screens.
So how well will THIRST do? Well, it's biggest competition in the coming weekend is the new STAR TREK film -- which, while it looks good, has never been a strong franchise in South Korea. But the following week, the competition will really ramp up. If I were to venture a guess, THIRST might squeak over 3 million admissions, but it is going to be tough.
One interesting sign, though -- when I look at the movie ticket reservation chart, as of Tuesday morning, AGENT is ahead of THIRST, 22.64% to 22.63%. Not a lot, but it suggests that AGENT is getting stronger word of mouth and could do better over the long haul.