Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 24-26

The disaster epic HAEUNDAE opened strong last weekend, with 1.5 million admissions over the weekend, and 2 million including its Thursday opening. Not record-breaking numbers, but not bad.

HAEUNDAE is playing at the CGV Yongsan with English subtitles, incidentally.

Otherwise, nothing too amazing to report. HARRY POTTER is doing okay, with 2.5 million admissions over the past couple of weeks. Like the last few Potter films in Korea, it will top 3 million but not 4.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is poised to become the biggest foreign film ever in Korea, beating the first TRANSFORMERS. But not by much. Like most Hollywood blockbusters here, it just cannot sustain as long as the local hits do. Looks like the film should top 7.5 million admissions, but not 8 million.

UPDATE: The box office chart should get interesting for the next few weeks. Pixar's UP opened already, on Wednesday. I'm interested in how it will do, as Pixar films usually struggle to pull in 1 million admissions in Korea.

And the week after UP is released, GI JOE hits the theaters, starring Korea's own Lee Byung-hun.

Btw, also opening this weekend is the Japanese film FISH STORY. I saw it in Udine in April and quite enjoyed it. I doubt it will have English subtitles in the theaters, but if I hear otherwise, I will let you know.

Also, Cine 21's website is saying NEW MOON, the Twilight sequel, will open in Korea on Dec. 10. This is apropo of nothing... I just thought some random Twilight comment might help boost my hits.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 17-19

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 7.158298.2111.47
2.Chaw 7.155313.644.85
3.Transformers 2 6.245712.1948.17
4.Bronze Medalist (Kingkongeul Deulda - Korean) 7.013901.247.29
5. Running Turtle (Geobuki Dallinda - Korean) 6.113570.6820.20
6.Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur 2006 7.151790.480.51
7.Juon 7.092080.271.96
8.Five Senses of Eros (Ogamdo - Korean) 7.093530.262.72
9.Arthur and the Invisibles 7.091920.0680.77
10.Haeundae - Korean (preview) 7.23190.0460.071
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 98% of nationwide box office)

Monday, July 20, 2009

From a Nappeun Namja to a Nappeun Gajok

Okay, this is one of the stranger things I have read about in some time -- the Chosun Ilbo is reporting that when Rain performed a concert in Macau at the end of June, in the audience was Kim Jong-il's grandson.

That makes me wonder if he was also on-hand for the filming of BOYS OVER FLOWERS, when they had those Macau episodes. Maybe Kim Jong-il's grandson was an extra? Oh Korean Wave, is there anything you can't do?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bloody Good Fun

So why didn't anyone at Wild Side Films or Park Chan-wook's company send me one of these?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 10-12

Okay, this box office chart is a week late. Many apologies.

As you can see, TRANSFORMERS 2 is still king of the mountain here in Korea, although it is finally slowing down a little -- "just" 900,000 admissions last weekend to bring its total to 6.6 million, or 44.63 billion won ($35.1 million). I do not think the new HARRY POTTER film is going to do very well in Korea (not in comparison to its North America numbers), but it should still be strong enough to send TRANSFORMERS 2 into second place.

The next three films were all Korean, so there is some robustness for local films, despite this being the middle of Hollywood's best season.

And CHAW, the comic-horror film, was in 10th, despite not officially opening until the 16th.

And a fairly international crop this week, as we have the latest JUON (Japan) film in fifth, ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (France) in sixth, and MISSING LYNX (Spain) in eighth. The Italian film THE UNKNOWN WOMAN was 12th, followed by France's LET IT RAIN.

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Transformer 2 6.248736.2444.63
2.Bronze Medalist (Kingkongeul Deulda - Korean) 7.014631.905.19
3.Running Turtle (Geobuki Dallinda- Korean 6.113791.6418.89
4.Five Senses of Eros (Ogamdo - Korean) 7.094031.591.96
5. Juon - Here We Go Again 7.092081.121.34
6.Arthur and the Invisibles 7.092850.590.65
7.Blood Pledge (Yeogo Goedam 5 - Korean) 6.182090.184.07
8.Missing Lynx 6.241030.0850.76
9.Night at the Museum 2 6.04850.08312.39
10.Chau - Korean 7.15380.0310.059
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 98% of nationwide box office)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

A fun story in the New York Times about the "unearthing" of city rivers... citing Seoul and the Cheonggyecheon as a prime example.

Actually, I thought Seoul modeled its restoration of the Cheonggyecheon on San Antonio... but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Apologies for the lack of updates, but I am really swamped at the moment. I hope to have something interesting up in a couple of days...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 3-5

TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN continued its assault on the Korean box office (not to mention on eardrums, sanity, etc.), accounting for a huge 66 percent of all movie ticket sales last weekend. Michael Bay's robot film pulled in another 9.86 billion won ($7.8 million) on the weekend to bring its total to 35.28 billion won ($27.8 million) -- that is ahead of the opening of Bong Joon-ho's THE HOST, depending on how you count these things.

The blockbuster has now had over 5.2 million admissions in 12 days, making it by far the biggest foreign opening ever in Korea. Could TRANSFORMERS 2 be the first foreign film to make it to 10 million admissions? Possibly. I do not see any huge films on the calendar for the next couple of weeks (HARRY POTTER on the 15th, then HAEUNDAE on the 23rd). Although traditionally Hollywood films do not sustain at the box office as well as Korean films do.

After TRANSFORMERS, the next three films on the chart were all Korean, so I guess that is kind of good news. RUNNING TURTLE continues to hold up, landing in No. 2 with 1.84 billion won to bring its total to 16.18 billion won ($12.7 million).

The uplifting tale of some scrappy women overcoming the odds to compete in an unpopular sport FOREVER THE MOMENT BRONZE MEDAL had to be a disappointment -- despite a big advertising push and a big opening on over 500 screens, the weightlifting drama made just 1.78 billion won ($1.4 million) over the weekend (barely 251,000 admissions).

This WeekTitle............................................Release DateScreens NationwideWeekend Revenue (bil. won)Total Revenue (bil. won)
1.Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 6.2410769.8635.28
2.Running Turtle (Geobuki Dallinda- Korean) 6.114021.8416.18
3.Bronze Medalist (Kingkongeul Deulda - Korean) 7.015291.782.27
4.Blood Pledge (Yeogo Goedam 5 - Korean) 6.183520.523.66
5. Night at the Museum 2 6.042540.2512.25
6.Missing Linx 6.242040.210.65
7.Mother (Madeo - Korean) 5.282200.1219.79
8.Terminator: Salvation 5.211180.08429.60
9.The Unknown Woman 7.02210.0660.093
10.Drag Me to Hell 6.11230.201.82
(Source: KOBIS - Figures represent 98% of nationwide box office)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Escaping North Korea, on The Daily Show

Mike Kim, author of ESCAPING NORTH KOREA, was on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Wednesday. You can check out the interview below.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mike Kim
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

It makes me wonder how North Koreans learn Calculus using dead Americans...

There was also a short but interesting article on Mike Kim in the Japan Times.