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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.19 ~ 2016.08.21


Local literary adaptations take the top spots...

Kim Seong-hun's action thriller "Tunnel" retained the top spot over the weekend and moved its total admissions count now to over 5 million. "Tunnel", based on So Jae-won's novel of the same name, was released on 10 August and shot to number one during its first weekend out with almost 2 million admissions. The foot traffic has tapered off since last weekend, but Kim's claustrophobic thriller was still able to maintain a clear lead by attracting more than double the stubs of its nearest competitor, another local literary adaptation.

The historical melodrama "The Last Princess" (aka Princess Deokhye) by director Heo Jin-ho accumulate 501,431 admissions to once again secure second place. Son Ye-jin plays princess Deokhye, the Joseon Dynasty royal who had the misfortune of being the daughter of Emperor Gojong. Like "Tunnel", "The Last Princess" is also a literary adaptation, this time by author So Jae-won. Since being released earlier this month, "The Last Princess"'s total tally has grown to 4.8 million.

Third last place on the podium went to a foreign newcomer: Justin Lin's "Star Trek Beyond". Made for an estimated $185 million, the film, the thirteenth in the "Star Trek" saga, has already grossed $231.1 million worldwide (it premiered in Sydney on 7 July and was released in America later that month). The film's first weekend out in Korea yielded 493,283 admissions, just over 8,000 admissions less than Heo's period piece.

Illumination Entertainment's "The Secret Life of Pets" claimed 223,427 admissions to help push its total now to 2.2 million, followed by last weekend's number four, "Operation Chromite", with 193,223. "Operation Chromite" is director John H. Lee's fifth to date after "A Moment to Remember", "Sayonara Itsuka", "71-Into the Fire" and "The Third Way of Love"), and his latest dramatize a true story from the Korean War. The film stars Leo Jeong-jae, Lee Beom-soo, Jin Se-yeon, as well as the America actor Liam Neeson as General McArthur. "Operation Chromite" was released in Korea late July and has since attracted 6.7 million admissions and is currently the fifth highest-grossing film released in Korea in 2016.

Undoubtedly the summer's most success film was up next in sixth: Yeon Sang-ho's zombie thriller "Train to Busan" broke "Captain America: Civil War"'s record for the highest single-day count, and it's the only film of the year so far to break 10 million admissions. Over the weekend, its fifth since its release on 20 July, "Train to Busan" added 180,514 admissions to bring its total now to 11.2 million.

Although a little out of season given the recent Rio Olympics, "Run-off", Kim's fourth film as director ("Mr. Gam's Victory", "My New Partner" and "Little Girl K"), is inspired by the formation of South Korean women's national ice hockey team. Kim Jong-hyeon's new drama (which stars Soo Ae, Oh Dal-soo, Oh Yeon-seo, Ha Jae-suk and Kim Seul-gi) slipped from sixth to seventh after attracting 68,139 moviegoers, but it's still short of a million admissions (currently 645,585).

Next was Yeon Sang-ho's animated zombie prequel to massively successful "Train to Busan": "Seoul Station", starring Ryu Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung and Lee Joon. This is Yeon's third animated feature after the hard-hitting "King of Pigs", "The Window" and "The Fake", and its first weekend out in Korea attracted 67,481 admissions.

The top ten for the second-last weekend of August was rounded off by DC's "Suicide Squad" and the 2D computer animation "Ratchet & Clank". Based on the anti-heroes from the DC comic universe, "Suicide Squad" follows a band of imprisoned supervillians who accept a black ops missions to save humankind in exchange for a lower sentence. Worldwide, "Suicide Squad" has grossed an estimated $572.7 million (it was made for $175 million), and in Korea 1.8 million filmgoers have come out in support (22,771 admissions of which came from this past weekend). "Ratchet & Clank", based on the popular video game of the same name by Insomniac Games, has struggled to get in the black having only recuperated $12.6 million of the $20 million it took to produce. Over the weekend in Korea, "Ratchet & Clank" banked 22,259 admissions to take tenth.


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2016.08.19 - 2016.08.21 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "Tunnel" (터널) 2016/08/10 1 119 005 5 084 841
2 "The Last Princess" (덕혜옹주) 2016/08/03 501 431 4 832 474
3 "Star Trek Beyond"   493 283 678 290
4 "The Secret Life of Pets"   223 427 2 245 893
5 "Operation Chromite" (인천상륙작전) 2016/07/27 193 223 6 761 627
6 "Train to Busan" (부산행) 2016/07/20 180 514 11 222 966
7 "Run-off" (국가대표2) 2016/08/10 68 139 645 585
8 "Seoul Station" (서울역) 2016/08/17 67 481 121 465
9 "Suicide Squad"   22 771 1 882 720
10 "Ratchet and Clank"   22 259 34 489
Korean movies only  
  "Power Battle Watchcar: Blazing Race" (파워배틀 와치카 미니카 배틀리그: 불꽃의 질주) 2016/08/17 18 085 21 282
  "Kai - Animation" (카이 : 거울 호수의 전설) 2016/08/17 11 685 18 555
  "Bling" (슈퍼 프렌즈) 2016/08/10 3 320 84 286
  "Worst Woman" (최악의 하루) 2016/08/25 1 631 2 579
  "The World of Us" (우리들) 2016/06/16 815 43 928
  "The Eunuch" (내시, 1968) - Re-release   327 3 847
  "The Handmaiden" (아가씨) 2016/06/01 315 315
  "The Starting Point" (원점, 1967) - Re-release   198 198
  "Single Determination" (일사각오) 2016/08/18 184 93 484
  "The Handmaiden" (아가씨) 2016/06/01 127 4 287 569

 - Chris Wheeler

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