[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2018.03.02 - 2018.03.04

Homegrown dramas dethrone Marvel's "Black Panther"...

For the past two weekends, the latest dimension in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ("Black Panther") has ruled proceedings, but Hong Chang-pyo's debut feature, "The Princess and the Matchmaker", and Yim Soon-rye's "Little Forest" both arrived last Wednesday and denied "Black Panther" a third straight weekend at the top of the Korean box office.


"The Princess and the Matchmaker" is a romantic comedy set during Korea's Joseon era and stars Shim Eun-kyung and Lee Seung-gi. This is Hong's first solo directing gig, but he has been involved in the directing department for four films prior to this one, including "The Huntresses" (2013) and "Portrait of a Beauty"-both of which were also period films. From 965 screens, "The Princess and the Matchmaker" topped the chart with 489,702 admissions (29.13%).

Not too far behind Hong's debut was "Little Forest", Yim's eighth feature film. Based on Daisuke Igarashi's original manga series of the same name, the film followers a young girl (Kim Tae-ri as Hye-won) as she moves back to her hometown to escape the intensity of modern city life. Its first weekend out yielded 375,394 admissions (22.27%) from 832 screens around the country. Together the top two films managed to captured just over 51% of the total sales.

Last weekend's number one, Marvel's blockbuster "Black Panther" (starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan), was unable to secure another weekend at the top of Korea's box office, but its total tally thus far makes it the highest-grossing foreign film of the year ahead of "Coco". Currently, "Black Panther" has grossed $40.9 million from 5.1 million admissions, $2 million came from this past weekend; worldwide, "Black Panther" has made almost a billion dollars, which is about five times its production cost.

The Norwegian dystopian thriller "What Happened to Monday" by director Tommy Wirkola fell two places during its second weekend out. With just 17 fewer screens, Wirkola's sci-fi film claimed 187,874 admissions (11.79%), bringing its total tally in Korea now to 762,730, or $5.8 million. The Oscar-winning romantic sci-fi drama "The Shape of Water" by Guillermo del Toro remained unmoved in fifth with 62,375 admissions (3.88%). At the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, "The Shape of Water" won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. Since its release in Korea on 22 February, "The Shape of Water" has grossed a total of $2.5 million from 327,724 admissions. Another Japanese adaptation was next.

Ryuichi Hiroki's "Miracles of the Namiya General Store" (based on Keigo Higashino's 2011 novel of the same name) was allocated 502 screens for its opening weekend and attracted 59,995 admissions (3.54%). It was followed by "Red Sparrow", an American spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence. (Like this weekend's number two and Hiroki's magical drama, "Red Sparrow" is also based on literary work.) "Red Sparrow" arrived in seventh with 42,051 admissions (2.55%), narrowly outplaying Shin Jai-ho's 92-minutes comedy crime drama, "Gate", starring Jung Ryeo-won, Im Chang-jung, Jung Sang-hoon, and Lee Kyung-young. "Gate" is Sin's ninth film to date (his filmography includes "100 Days with Mr. Arrogant", "Wedding Scandal", and "Untouchable Lawmen") and during its opening weekend, the film banked $321,858 from 40,058 admissions (2.48%).

The penultimate spot went to the Oscar-nominated "Post" (Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks) by director Steven Spielberg. This timely drama was produced for $50 million and has already grossed triple that sum worldwide. In Korea, and from 266 screens, the film earned $301,465 (2.33%) from 38,945 admissions. Closing out the top ten was the final instalment in the "Fifty Shades" series of films: "Fifty Shades Freed". Director James Foley's erotic romance fell four places from sixth; with the 24,087 admissions the film claimed over the weekend, its total tally in Korea now stands at 191,205 ($2013,896).


Korean Box Office - Admissions for the Weekend 2018.03.02 - 2018.03.04 (www.kobis.or.kr)

# Films Release date Week-end Total
1 "The Princess and the Matchmaker" (궁합) 2018/02/28 179 562 923 880
2 "Little Forest" (리틀 포레스트) 2018/02/28 139 683 686 339
3 "Black Panther"   89 925 5 195 907
4 "What Happened to Monday"   65 565 762 732
5 "The Shape of Water"   21 674 327 724
6 "The Miracles of the Namiya General Store" (ナミヤ雑貨店の奇蹟)   20 395 157 317
7 "Gate" (게이트) 2018/02/28 15 897 75 432
8 "The Post"   14 136 77 269
9 "Red Sparrow"   14 113 81 279
10 "Fifty Shades Freed"   7 158 191 205
Korean movies only  
  "Detective K: Secret of the Living Dead" (조선명탐정: 흡혈괴마의 비밀) 2018/02/08 4 981 2 441 122
  "Golden Slumber" (골든 슬럼버) 2018/02/14 4 802 1 382 380
  "SECHSKIES Eighteen" (젝스키스 에이틴) 2018/01/18 668 45 059
  "Heung-boo: The Revolutionist" (흥부: 글로 세상을 바꾼 자) 2018/02/14 535 414 350
  "In Between Seasons" (환절기) 2018/02/22 482 5 309
  "Yes, PyeongChang!" (예스 평창! ) 2018/03/08 401 595
  "Keys to the Heart" (그것만이 내 세상) 2018/01/17 351 3 416 008
  "Parallel" (우리는 썰매를 탄다) 2018/03/07 270 839
  "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" (신과함께-죄와 벌) 2017/12/20 165 14 410 544
  "The Remnants" (공동정범) 2018/01/25 147 10 009

– Christopher Wheeler