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[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2017.02.24 ~ 2017.02.26


M. Night Shyamalan's Split breaks local films' reign...

For the first time this year since "Your Name", a foreign film has stepped up and claimed pole position in Korea's box office. Local delights have been dominating since mid-January ("Confidential Assignment", "The King", and "Fabricated City"), but M. Night Shyamalan's new film, Split (starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley), arrived last Wednesday and came out on top during its first weekend out.

Split, a psychological thriller-horror produced for just $9 million, claimed 33.64% of the weekend sales (698,867 admissions) from 952 screens around the country. The film was first screened at Fantastic Fest last September, but was only recently released in American and selected countries; worldwide, Shyamalan's latest has already grossed $221.2 million.

The film's initial popularity in Korea meant that last weekend's number one (Kim Tae-yoon's "New Trial") was nudged down one place to second. Kim's third film (his others include "A Cruel Attendance" and "Another Family") added 439,580 admissions (20.72%) from 767 screens to move its total tally now to 1.8 million ($13.2 million).

With the 190,036 admissions (8.89%) "Fabricated City" claimed over the weekend, Bae Jong's action-packed visual feast is now the fourth highest-grossing film of year with 2.3 million admissions ($16.8 million) behind "Your Name" ($25.5 million), "The King" ($38.3 million) and "Confidential Assignment" ($56.1 million).

The highest new local entry came in the form of Lee Zoo-young's debut film "A Single Rider" starring Lee Byung-hun. This mystery film, which Lee also wrote, follows a failed fund manager who heads to Australia where his wife and son are living but discovers that their lives are just fine without him. Lee's debut had 576 screens from which to pool from and claimed 7.3% of the box office pie (155,518 admissions).

"Trolls" remained unmoved in fifth (adding 132,516 admissions: 5.76%), followed by the second chapter in the "John Wick" series by director Chad Stahelski (and starring Keanu Reeves): "John Wick Chapter Two". His neo-noir opened its Korean account with 113,529 admissions (5.6%) from just 250 screens. Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge"-a biographical drama that documents the struggles of Seventh-day Adventists Christian Desmond Doss during WWII-also recently entered the Korean fray and captured the interest of 74,259 filmgoers (3.43%).

With over 7.7 million admissions since its release mid-January (50,707 of which coming over the weekend), Kim Seong-hoon-III's "Confidential Assignment" (starring Hyun Bin and Yoo Hae-jin) is the highest-grossing film of the year so far, foreign or domestic. The film is Kim's second film after the 2012 drama, "My Little Hero" (185,844 admissions) and helped set a positive pace for what is expected to be another great year for Korea's film industry.

The second local entry to secure a top ten finish was Kim Joon-seong-I's science fiction thriller "Lucid Dream" starring Go Soo. This mind-bending debut thriller tells the story of a father who searches for his kidnapped child through a mysterious dreamland; from 461 screens, "Lucid Dream" claimed 39,385 admissions (1.82%). The final place in the chart fell to Tomohiko Itō's film version of the popular "Sword Art Online" series, called "Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale". From just 124 screens, Itō's film attracted 37,007 admissions (1.6%).

Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2017.02.24 - 2017.02.26 (

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 Split   698 882 966 950
2 "New Trial" (재심) 2017/02/15 439 586 1 887 305
3 "Fabricated City" (조작된 도시) 2017/02/09 190 036 2 379 706
4 "A Single Rider" (싱글라이더) 2017/02/22 155 521 262 396
5 "Trolls"   132 518 467 123
6 "John Wick Chapter Two"   113 539 179 181
7 "Hacksaw Ridge"   74 261 121 698
8 "Confidential Assignment" (공조) 2017/01/18 50 708 7 796 392
9 "Lucid Dream" (루시드 드림) 2017/02/22 39 538 85 561
10 "Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale" (劇場版 ソードアート・オンライン -オーディナル・スケール-)   37 007 52 375
Korean movies only  
  "Miraculous" (레이디버그) 2017/02/22 17 141 25 494
  "A Stray Goat" (눈발) 2017/03/01 2 690 3 417
  "My Little Brother" (그래, 가족) 2017/02/15 1 067 43 771
  "Bluebeard" (해빙) 2017/03/01 863 1 264
  "The World of Us" (우리들) 2016/06/16 340 48 416
  "Worst Woman" (최악의 하루) 2016/08/25 335 81 089
  "The King" (더 킹) 2017/01/18 210 5 315 793
  "Obedience" (순종) 2016/11/17 190 58 339
  "Heukgwon" (흑권, 1973) - Re-release   180 592
  "Le Tour: My Last 49 Days" (뚜르: 내 생애 최고의 49일) 2017/02/01 134 27 315

- Chris Wheeler (

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