[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.12.20 - 2013.12.22

All others were found wanting this past weekend as Yang Woo-seok's "The Attorney" put up a feverish 1.3M (45.2%) admissions ahead of the Christmas celebrations. Last week Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was the flickering favourite, but the epic feature conceded defeat here as Yang's star-struck local drama made sure the year was to end on a local high. The other domestic disturbances to make notable headway were Lee Hyun-jong's racy romance "Catch Me", as well as an early favouring of Gong Yoo's first action outing: "The Suspect".

The second instalment of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" added 381,794 (13.2%) to bring its total tally now up to 1.6M ($12M); that's less than half of what it smuggled in last weekend as the legendary flick was pressured into second place by Yang's opening act. "The Attorney" outplayed Mr. Baggins and his traveling team of adventurers with a talented team of its own, employing the powerful prestige of Song Kang-ho (who has already stared in two massive successful blockbusters this year with "Snowpiercer" and "The Face Reader") alongside Kim Young-ae ("Confession of Murder"), Oh Dal-soo ("Miracle in Cell No.7") and Kwak Do-wan ("A Company Man"). "The Attorney" follows a civil rights lawyer (Song Kang-ho as Song Woo-seok) through a landmark human rights case during Korea's tumultuous 1980s; a perhaps strange Christmas flick, but one that Korean audiences have lavishly lapped up during its first weekend out. 

The British romantic comedy "About Time" by Richard Curtis kept the box office alive with love at three, scoring 338,699 (11.4%) admissions as it surpassed the 2 million admissions mark. At number four, and down two places, came actress-director's Pang Eun-jin's fourth feature "Way Back Home". Bang's family drama cleared 275,822 (8.8%) and has thus far amassed $9.4M since its release on the eleventh. "Way Back Home" (formerly known as "The Way Home - 2013" here on HanCinema) stars Jeon Do-yeon and Go Soo, along with the adorable Kang Ji-woo as well as Choi Min-chul.

Lee Hyun-jong's playful romantic comedy "Catch Me" was also released last week, and was rewarded with 210,784 (6.5%) admissions from the pre-Christmas crowds. That figure that was higher than the 187,907 (6.7%) "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D" put forth, but the latter's 3D expense meant that the prehistoric re-imagining walked away with slightly more cash. Disney Picture's high-flying "Planes" came into the fray as well, clearing 90,496 (2.9%) for seventh and staying ahead of another computer-animated effort in form of Tony Nottage and Leon Joosen's "Saving Santa" (81,134 – 2.3%). Less seasonally flavoured was James Wan's "Insidious: Chapter 2" in ninth with 19,671 (0.6%), which was followed by Won Shin-yun's spy-thriller "The Suspect" (10,454 – 0.3%). "The Suspect" is Gong Yoo's first action role, and although the film is only scheduled to be released this coming week, it did managed to find some promising support ahead of its official Christmas Eve release.

What's coming out next week in Korea? --> [HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound...

Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2013.12.20 - 2013.12.22 (www.kobis.or.kr)

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "The Attorney" (변호인) 2013/12/19 1 380 110 1 752 162
2 "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"   381 794 1 644 072
3 "About Time"   338 699 2 039 617
4 "Way Back Home" (집으로 가는 길) 2013/12/12 275 822 1 430 279
5 "Catch Me" (캐치미) 2013/12/19 210 784 300 916
6 "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D"   187 907 199 973
7 "Planes"   90 496 103 399
8 "Saving Santa"   81 134 94 942
9 "Insidious: Chapter 2"   19 671 573 665
10 "The Suspect" (용의자) 2013/12/24 10 454 18 964
Korean movies only  
  "Lazy Hitchhikers' Tour de Europe" (잉여들의 히치하이킹) 2013/11/28 1 571 17 228
  "Marriage Blue" (결혼전야) 2013/11/21 943 1 207 342
  "11 AM" (열한시) 2013/11/28 748 870 297
  "Black Gospel" (블랙가스펠) 2013/11/14 693 49 990
  "The Secret Studio" (비밀의 화방) 2013/12/11 540 4 630
  "SHIVA, Throw Your Life" (시바, 인생을 던져) 2013/12/19 540 1 221
  "Tumbleweed" (창수) 2013/11/28 300 429 060
  "Hello Orchestra" (안녕?! 오케스트라) 2013/11/28 293 13 126
  "Our Joyful Young Days" (기쁜 우리 젊은 날) 1987/05/02 238 697
  "Scenery" (풍경) 2013/12/12 230 1 256


- C.J. Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com@KoreaOnTheCouch)

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