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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.12.27 ~ 2013.12.29


Song on song as "The Attorney" rounds out a stellar year…

The Korean box office has ended its record-breaking year on a massive high as Yang Woo-seok's "The Attorney" and Won Shin-yun's "The Suspect" dominated the final weekend. This year's remarkable ticket sales indicate that Koreans are some of the most active filmgoers in the world, with an average of 4.1 trips in 2013 (the U.S. sits on 4.3). Support for local flicks has, indeed, been incredible this year, and the encouragement continued right up until the very end as "The Attorney" and "The Suspect" closed proceedings for the home team in emphatic style.

Yang Woo-seok's "The Attorney" was released on the 19th where it opened its account with a hefty haul of 1.3M admissions; the highest since "The Face Reader" back in September. The local drama packed on an additional 1.5M (45%) this past weekend to volt Yang's drama to 4.8M admissions ($33.6M); a phenomenal performance that makes it the ninth most popular local flick of the year, and marks actor Song Kang-ho's third titanic success of 2013. Its recent success means it has shoved past Park Hoon-jung's "The New World" (4.6M), and now has Jo Eu-seok's "Cold Eyes" (5.5M) clearly in its sights. Its star, the devastatingly popular Song Kang-ho, now has three blockbusters in this year's top ten: the dynastic "The Face Reader" (9.1M) and the French-inspired adaptation "Snowpiercer" (9.3M). 

Won Shin-yun's "The Suspect" auspiciously entered proceedings last week ahead of its official release, and has come true here with 801,237 (23.9%) seasonal stubs. This, Won's fourth feature, is also actor Gong Yoo's first action outing as he takes the role of an estranged North Korean agent seeking answers in the South. Gong is accompanied onscreen by Park Hee-soon ("Gabi", "The Scent"), Jo Sung-ha ("Commitment", "A Millionaire on the Run"), and Yoo Da-in ("Iron Dae-oh: The Nation's Iron Bag!") in some thrilling espionage action. Richard Curtis's romantic comedy "About Time", starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, took bronze with 258,617 (8%). "About Time" took first place at the beginning of the month when it was released, and has thus far amassed 2.7M admissions ($18.9M). In fourth place came the computer-animation "The House of Magic" with 181,505 (5%), followed closely by Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" on 165,807 (5.4%). Mr. Baggins and his adventurers claimed less stubs than the animated newbie, but its 3D gloriousness has a premium price attached and so its coffers where a little more stuffed. Peter Jackson's second instalment of "The Hobbit" trilogy has scored $15.2M in Korea so far; not terribly impressive, but the local hits have really come out firing and soaked up the crowd's cash. In fact, the only foreign flick to crack Korea's overall top ten was "Iron Man 3" with its 9 million admissions.

Pang Eun-jin's drama "Way Back Home", which was released on the eleventh, took sixth (122,260 – 2.6%) over the weekend to advance its total tally to 1.7M admissions ($11.4M). This is the actress/director's fourth, and most profitable, feature; her previous efforts include "Suspect X" (2012), "If You Were Me 4" (2008), and "Princess Aurora" (2005). Her dramatic love tale was stalked by the prehistoric presentation "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D" (97,531 – 3.2%) and Lee Hyun-jong's "Catch Me" (46,195 – 1.2%). Lee's racy romance entered the chart last week with 210,784 (a haul good enough for sixth), but suppressed here down to eighth. "Catch Me" is Lee's debut film and stars Kim Ah-joong and Joo Won; but the hot duo have thus far failed to steam the screen, attracting just 467,850 ($3M) cold Koreans thus far. Sony Picture's "Planes" (193,130) and the sci-fi flick "Ender's Game" (32,033) rounded out the list, bringing a close to the final weekend of a landmark year for Korea's film industry.


Last weekend's report: [HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.12.20 - 2013.12.22

What films made Korea's Top Ten? --> [HanCinema's Film News] Korea's Top Ten Most Popular Films of 2013


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2013.12.27 - 2013.12.29 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "The Attorney" (변호인) 2013/12/19 1 504 745 4 896 977
2 "The Suspect" (용의자) 2013/12/24 801 237 1 825 772
3 "About Time"   258 617 2 730 803
4 "The House of Magic"   181 505 344 711
5 "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"   165 807 2 048 591
6 "Way Back Home" (집으로 가는 길) 2013/12/12 122 260 1 718 266
7 "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D"   97 531 463 379
8 "Catch Me" (캐치미) 2013/12/19 46 195 467 850
9 "Planes"   36 175 193 127
10 "Ender's Game"   32 033 38 348
Korean movies only  
  "Marriage Blue" (결혼 전야) 2013/11/21 2 933 1 212 699
  "Plan Man" (플랜맨) 2014/01/09 2 393 3 443
  "I Like Fake Sex" (거짓말 섹스가 좋아) 2013/__/__ 1 620 3 390
  "Lazy Hitchhikers' Tour de Europe" (잉여들의 히치하이킹) 2013/11/28 1 424 20 879
  "A Clear Night" (청야) 2013/12/26 1 162 1 845
  "SHIVA, Throw Your Life" (시바, 인생을 던져) 2013/12/19 600 2 470
  "Did You Hear She Sings??" (그녀가 부른다) 2013/12/26 400 1 956
  "Hello Orchestra" (안녕?! 오케스트라) 2013/11/28 371 13 928
  "President Lee Pa-tong (이주일의 리빠동 사장, 1980) - Re-release"   312 491
  "Black Gospel" (블랙가스펠) 2013/11/14 199 50 921


- C.J. Wheeler (

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