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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.16 ~ 2016.09.18


"The Age of Shadows" looms large in the wake of the Chuseok festivities...

Kim Jee-woon's historical action flick, "The Age of Shadows", Korea's official submission to the Oscars, retained pole position over the weekend and moved its total tally passed the 6 million admissions mark. South Korea recently celebrated one of its biggest national holidays, the harvest festival Chuseok, and over 2 million filmgoers (38.6%) came out to see Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo, and Han Ji-min feature in Kim's latest outing. Last weekend, "The Age of Shadows" captured 41% of the box office pie, and with the weekend's admissions added, the film's new bottom line pushes it to number seven in the list of the country's highest-grossing films.

The holiday prompted a few strategic releases as distributors sought to capitalize on the festivities. The American historical epic "Ben-Hur" and Antoine Fuqua's "The Magnificent Seven" (a remake of John Surges' 1960s classic) both arrived on Korea's cinema scene on Wednesday and attracted 591,308 and 391,031 admissions respectively to take second and third place. "Ben-Hur" has already had its theatrical run in America and the results there were not impressive: the film was produced for an estimated $100 million, but so far it has only managed to gross just over $80 million worldwide.

Kang Woo-seok's period piece "The Map Against the World" tells the tale of one of Korea's first cartographers (Kim Jeong-ho played by Cha Seung-won) and how he crafted Joseon's first nationwide map. The film arrived two weeks ago and claimed second place last weekend with 18% of the sales going its ways. Week two for Kang's seventeenth film (Kang's other films include "Silmido", "Moss" and "Fist of Legend") was less productive. The film lost around 200 screens compared to its first weekend and from them attracted 297,463 (9.4%) admissions to move its total admissions count now to 852,143.

James Bobin's iteration of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass", "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (produced by, most notably, Tim Burton; the film is the sequel to the 2010 film "Alice in Wonderland"), also fell two places with the 134,182 it claimed. The Chinese-American animated film "Rock Dog" by Mando Pictures (another new release) wasn't too far behind with 118,981 admissions (3.8%), followed by Kim Hyun-ju-I's animation, "Moonlight Palace" (with voices by Lee Honey, Kim Seul-gi, Kwon Yool and Kim Su-an) whose second weekend out attracted 48,033 admissions (2.1%) to bring its total tally now to 137,984.

The Belgian-French 3D animation "Robinson Crusoe", directed by Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen, and the Spanish animation "Underdogs" (aka "Foosball") took eighth and ninth place respectively with 42,399 (1.3%) and 42,281 (1.7%) admissions. The final place in the weekend's top ten went to the Japanese animation "Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shout wo MoracchaimaShow!" (based on the popular television anime) with 37,424 admissions.


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2016.09.16 - 2016.09.18 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "The Age of Shadows" (밀정) 2016/09/07 2 060 794 6 048 158
2 "Ben-Hur"   591 308 894 076
3 "The Magnificent Seven"   391 031 679 445
4 "The Map Against the World" (고산자, 대동여지도) 2016/09/07 297 463 852 143
5 "Alice Through the Looking Glass"   134 182 447 520
6 "Rock Dog"   118 981 168 538
7 "Moonlight Palace" (달빛궁궐) 2016/09/07 48 033 137 984
8 "Robinson Crusoe"   42 399 114 812
9 "Foosball (Metegol)"   42 281 131 235
10 "Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shout wo MoracchaimaShow!" (アイカツ!ミュージックアワード みんなで賞をもらっちゃいまSHOW!)   37 424 61 336
Korean movies only  
  "Tunnel" (터널) 2016/08/10 15 228 7 117 170
  "Operation Chromite" (인천상륙작전) 2016/07/27 12 519 23 861
  "The Last Princess" (덕혜옹주) 2016/08/03 11 747 5 591 945
  "Worst Woman" (최악의 하루) 2016/08/25 4 050 75 797
  "Train to Busan" (부산행) 2016/07/20 3 477 11 563 794
  "The Handmaiden" (아가씨) 2016/06/01 1 167 10 285
  "Memories of Murder" (살인의 추억) 2003/04/25 709 2 338
  "Hwa-Nyeo Village" (화녀촌, 1985) - Re-release   449 449
  "The Queen of Crime" (범죄의 여왕) 2016/08/25 393 43 167
  "The Witness - 2016" (나는 증인이다) 2016/09/14 283 440

 - Chris Wheeler

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