[KOREA Box Office] Devastated Cinemas Overshadows No. 1 Crown For ‘Beasts Clawing at Straws’ Due To COVID-19

Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Jeon Gyeong Ju

The domestic theatres, which once seemed to revive from the fears of COVID-19 (the new Coronavirus), has become quiet again in a week because of its unexpected and frightening spread. The total weekend attendance of the Top 10 films in the box office is 680,000 viewers, which is equivalent to that of only one work, Honest Candidate, last weekend. The latest movies Beasts Clawing at Straws and 1917 (both were released on Feb. 19th) remained at No. 1 and No. 2 this weekend, but their popularities are so low that those rankings are meaningless. The aftermath of COVID-19 is expected to have a big impact on the upcoming releases as well. New Korean films such as Time to Hunt, The Wandering Chef and Innocence (all of these were originally scheduled to be released this Wednesday) has delayed their own release dates while Pixar’s brand-new work Onward, targeting children as its main audience, has also postponed it release to April. Currently, only the small-scale films, Parasite: Black & White Version, The Invisible Man and the 4DX re-release of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban are set to be released on Feb. 26.


1. Beasts Clawing at Straws (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( NEW )

_주간 박스오
Credit: Megabox Plus M

Weekend Attendance/Sales: 223,304 Viewers / KRW 2.043 Billion

Cumulative Attendance/Sales: 369,776 Viewers / KRW 3.239 Billion

Number of Screens: 991

Seating Rate / Market Share: 9.8% / 28.2%

No. 1 of the box office went to Beasts Clawing at Straws this weekend. It is a crime thriller, based on the same-titled novel written by the Japanese mystery writer Sone Keisuke, about the characters in desperate situations and their clashes surrounding a questionable money bag. The weekend attendance of this film (nearly 220,000 viewers) is quite poor as compared to its immersive storytelling and enthusiastic performances of the cast including Jeon Do Yeon, Jung Woo Sung and Bae Sung Woo. This is a pitiable result caused by the scary contagion of COVID-19 nowadays. The break-even point of Beasts Clawing at Straws is currently said to be 2.4 million viewers, and it’s expected that the movie will have a huge difficulty in attaining its break-even point if the bad situation continues. Looking at the result, the situation would have changed a little if the release date hadn’t been postponed. Well, who knew the aftermath of COVID-19, which seemed to subside last week, would have spread like this? “Only heaven blesses us with the box office hit”, the well-used phrase in Korean film industry, is likely to be heartbreaking for the cast and production staff of Beasts Clawing at Straws.


2. 1917 (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( NEW )

_주간 박스오
Credit: CJ Entertainment

Weekend Attendance/Sales: 170,246 Viewers / KRW 1.640 Billion

Cumulative Attendance/Sales: 282,787 Viewers / KRW 2.628 Billion

Number of Screens: 884

Seating Rate / Market Share: 8.8% / 24.0%

1917, the winner of three awards (Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Cinematography) at the latest Oscars, debuted in Korea with the second place. The movie was highly anticipated by Korean audiences even before its release. That’s because it dealt with World War I, a rare material in the genre of war movies, and the entire movie was directed like a long take. Most of all, it fiercely competed against Parasite at various film awards including the 92nd Academy Award this year. Just like the case of Beasts Clawing at Straws, however, COVID-19 has caused a major setback to 1917′s box office power on the first weekend, which is most important for every film. 1917 attracted only about 170,000 viewers to the cinemas for three days this weekend.


3. Honest Candidate (Released on Feb. 12, 2020) ▼ 2

_주간 박스오

Weekend Attendance/Sales: 142,006 Viewers (-79.0%) / KRW 1.268 Billion

Cumulative Attendance/Sales: 1,347,602 Viewers / KRW 11.378 Billion

Number of Screens: 962 (-217)

Seating Rate / Market Share: 8.0% / 22.1%

Honest Candidate, which kept its No. 1 spot last week, came two notches down to the third place. It was already expected that the film would be a bit far from the audience’s attention since the two new films were released, and the weekend attendance dropped nearly 80 percent versus the previous week due to the negative news about the spread of COVID-19. Its current cumulative attendance is nearly 1.34 million viewers. As usual, it would’ve reached its own break-even point (1.5 million viewers) within this week, as this Wednesday is the Culture Day (the last Wednesday of every month), but we have to wait and see how it will turn out forward as the present situation is in the dark. By the way, Hitman: Agent Jun is the only Korean film that has surpassed the break-even point this year.


4. Little Women (Released on Feb. 12, 2020) ▼ 2

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance ” 79,649 / 708,739

5. The Closet (Released on Feb. 5, 2020) ▼ 2

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance – 26,929 / 1,250,222

6. Parasite (Released on May 30, 2019) ▼ 2

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance – 13,298 / 10,277,249

7. Jexi (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( NEW )

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance ” 8,306 / 21,718

8. Sonic the Hedgehog (Released on Feb. 12, 2020) ▼ 3

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance ” 6,692 / 113,137

9. Jojo Rabbit (Released on Feb. 5, 2020) ▼ 1

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance ” 6,493 / 98,007

10. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( NEW )

Weekend/Cumulative Attendance ” 3,777 / 9,201

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