A great case this weekend of how much stronger hit Korean films still are in Korea, even compared to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN took about 48 days to become the biggest foreign film ever in Korea, with about 7.4 million admissions. HAEUNDAE beat that mark in just 18 days.
Yes, everybody's favorite tsunami HAEUNDAE is still kicking butt in the theaters, taking in another 9.2 billion won ($7.5 million) over the weekend to bring its total to 53.0 billion won ($43.1 million). That is about 7.46 million admissions, making it the ninth-biggest movie ever in Korea and rising fast.
It looks certain to me that HAEUNDAE has the strength to top 9 million admissions and become the fifth-biggest Korean film ever. Even 10 million is pretty doable. But getting over 11-million and contesting with the big-four (SILMIDO, TAEGUKGI, THE KING AND THE CLOWN and THE HOST)? Possible, but much more difficult.
The Korean ski-jumping film TAKE OFF (Gukga Daepyo) landed in No. 2, with 5.5 billion won, to lift its total so far to 17.2 billion won ($14.0). So TAKE OFF looks like it is also a solid, if more middling, hit.
Very close behind is Lee Byung-hun's Hollywood debut, the action blockbuster GI JOE, with 5.4 billion won over the weekend -- or 7.1 billion won ($5.8 million), including Thursday and previews.
Surprisingly, I thought GI JOE was much less terrible than you might expect. In fact, I rather enjoyed myself (thanks in part to diminished expectations, but still...). A solid popcorn film for the lazy days of August.
The Survivor-meets-Battle-Royale film 10 OK (One Million) did not fare so well, opening only in fourth with 1.5 billion won. Or just 2.0 billion won ($1.6) since Thursday.
Pixar's UP is doing about what you would expect in its second week -- 1.4 billion won more for a total of 6.1 billion won ($5.0 million). It looks like yet another film will squeak past 1 million admissions (it is currently at 833,000), but not do much more.
The only other Korean film on the top-10 was CHAW, with added another 433 million won to bring its boxoffice to 12.3 billion won ($10 million).
KOFIC chart to come as soon as the nice people at the Film Council update their website.
UPDATE: Okay, here is the early-release chart up on the KOFIC site. The numbers do not match with my report yet. Hopefully I will be able to fix this is a couple of hours.