Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Jeon Gyeong Ju
There was no major change in the rankings of the Korean box office. Last week’s Top 3 works―The Invisible Man, 1917 and Beasts Clawing at Straws―wrapped up the latest weekend in the same order, but the theatres were so empty that the combined attendances of the three films was less than 200,000. Indeed, the Korean cinemas have been facing the new “worst moment” every weekend since the second round of COVID-19 (the new Coronavirus) spread. It is very regrettable nowadays that Korean movies are desperately struggling with this unexpected disaster as well as the foreign ones showing sluggish performances in Korea. This week, two of the new domestic films (The Nightmare and Yakiniku Dragon) and two of the new foreign works (Liam Gallagher: As It Was and Dark Waters) are released on March 11-12.
1. The Invisible Man (Released on Feb. 26, 2020) ( – )
Weekend Attendances/Sales: 85,171 Viewers (-21.5%) / KRW 0.782 Billion
Cumulative Attendances/Sales: 314,598 Viewers / KRW 2.739 Billion
Number of Screens: 702 (-40)
Seating Rate / Market Share: 7.4% / 22.6%
The Invisible Man has topped the weekend box office for two consecutive weeks. This horror easily kept the No. 1 crown thanks to its rival Onward, which postponed its own release until April, but its win doesn’t look that happy. Both the weekend attendances (more than 85,000) and the cumulative attendances (more than 314,500) are shabby enough to overshadow its title of “No. 1 for two straight weeks.” These figures just exemplify how depressed the Korean cinemas are right now.
2. 1917 (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( – )
Weekend Attendances/Sales: 60,568 Viewers (-19.3%) / KRW 0.588 Billion
Cumulative Attendances/Sales: 538,686 Viewers / KRW 4.967 Billion
Number of Screens: 599 (-58)
Seating Rate / Market Share: 6.8% / 17.6%
With no change in the rankings, 1917 finished second in the box office on the latest weekend. As the film attracted 60,000 moviegoers over the weekend, the accumulated attendances surpassed 538,600 mark on its third week of release and is likely to overtake those of Beasts Clawing at Straws on the upcoming weekend. Although there must be many other reasons for the blockbuster’s success, I guess the reason why this movie is doing well is because it’s constantly being shown at the IMAX theatres, which have a solid customer base.
3. Beasts Clawing at Straws (Released on Feb. 19, 2020) ( – )
Weekend Attendances/Sales: 30,391 Viewers (-48.2%) / KRW 0.280 Billion
Cumulative Attendances/Sales: 568,276 Viewers / KRW 4.930 Billion
Number of Screens: 491 (-188)
Seating Rate / Market Share: 5.1% / 11.6%
No. 3 in the box office is Beasts Clawing at Straws, which saw another huge decline in its attendances following the last week. It’s safe to say that this crime thriller has been most affected by the second round of COVID-19 contagion because the accumulated attendances until its third week of release are just more than 568,000 people. There is a regrettable hypothesis saying, “what it would’ve been like if the movie had been released on February 12, without a delay in its release?”, but it’s only a story of consequentialism.
4. Little Women (Released on Feb. 12, 2020) ▲ 1
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 18,758 / 813,021
5. Honest Candidate (Released on Feb. 12, 2020) ▼ 1
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 17,629 / 1,477,107
6. Brahms: The Boy Ⅱ (Released on Mar. 5, 2020) ( NEW )
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 10,157 / 14,781
7. The Wolf’s Call (Released on Mar. 5, 2020) ( NEW )
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 10,125 / 13,914
8. The Gentlemen (Released on Feb. 26, 2020) ▼ 2
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 8,902 / 71,329
9. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (Re-released on Feb. 26, 2020) ▼ 2
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 8,893 / 1,823,867
10. About Time (Re-released on Mar. 5, 2020) ( NEW )
Weekend/Cumulative Attendances – 8,883 / 3,418,443
12. Lucky Chan-sil (Released on Mar. 5, 2020) ( NEW )
Weekend Attendances/Sales: 5,698 Viewers / KRW 49.440 Million
Cumulative Attendances/Sales: 8,938 Viewers / KRW 75.348 Million
Number of Screens: 241
Seating Rate / Market Share: N/A
Lucky Chan-sil, the only brand-new Korean film in the box office, debuted as No. 12 in the rankings. As an autobiographical story of its director Kim Cho Hee, the movie depicts the daily life of a filmmaker who suddenly loses her job and faces a crisis in her life. The movie’s quality and fun have been somewhat guaranteed as it won the CGV Arthouse, the KBS Independent Film and the Directors Guild of Korea awards at the 24th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) last year. Nevertheless, it seems difficult for Lucky Chan-sil to shine since it’s an art film with fewer screens and was released during the worst time for the Korean movie industry.