Korean Box Office: Song Kang-ho Proves He's B.O. King with THE ATTORNEY

Contributor; Seoul, South Korea (@pierceconran)
Korean Box Office: Song Kang-ho Proves He's B.O. King with THE ATTORNEY
With the help of a homegrown offering's huge opening, business came booming back by soaring over the three million mark for the first time in months. The pre-Christmas weekend saw 61% of tickets got to local films.

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Attorney 12/18/13 45.20% 1,380,110 1,752,162 923
2 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (us/nz) 12/12/13 13.20% 381,794 1,644,072 466
3 About Time (uk) 12/5/13 11.40% 338,822 2,040,272 442
4 Way Back Home 12/11/13 8.80% 275,429 1,429,886 467
5 Steal My Heart 12/18/13 6.60% 210,784 300,916 517
6 Walking With Dinosaurs 3D (us/uk) 12/19/13 6.80% 187,907 199,973 463
7 Planes (us) 12/19/13 2.90% 90,496 103,399 408
8 Saving Santa (uk) 12/19/13 2.30% 81,134 94,942 297
9 Insidious: Chapter 2 (us) 12/5/13 0.60% 19,649 573,643 86
10 Like Father, Like Son (jp) 12/19/13 0.40% 10,530 15,385 41

Thumbnail image for 2013 - The Way Home (Poster).jpg
Song Kang-ho's third film of 2013, The Attorney, racked up a stellar 1,380,100 admissions in its debut weekend and looks to be in great shape going forward. With The Face Reader and Snowpiercer as well, Song's films have already amassed 20.25 million admissions this year, which may very well be a record for an actor in Korean cinema. The film has been very well received despite its controversial nature (its loosely based on the early years of former president Roh Moo-hyun as a human rights lawyer in the 1980s) but its debut may also have been bolstered by the current rail strikes and demonstrations in Korea. Both the film and event have opened up old protest wounds.

Dropping 55% in its sophomore spin on the chart was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as it drew in another 381,785 admissions. The film is quickly approaching the two million mark but the ongoing dispute with bet ween Warner Bros and local exhibs CGV and Lotte Cinema has stripped the film of significant earning potential in Seoul, thus likely softening its tally.

About Time fell just shy of 30% for 338,382 admissions and has now cleared the two million mark. The film has already surpassed its hauls in all but one other territory, the US, but it will likely eclipse that total as well. There's no denying the immense popularity of Working Title films in Korea.

2013 - Steal My Heart (Poster).jpg
Sliding to number four was Way Back Home with Jeon Do-yeon as it failed to keep its momentum and drew 275,429 viewers over the frame. The film seems unlikely to cross two million at this point, which is both a shame and perhaps a little worrying for the star actress and director Pang Eun-jin.

Opening at number five was Lotte Entertainment's Kim A-joong romcom vehicle Steal My Heart, with a lackluster 210,784 spectators.

As we head into Christmas week it seems that The Attorney will remain in first place while local action film The Suspect, with Gong Yu, looks to open strong as well, the film opens on Christmas Eve. The Korean film industry seems poised to finish a record-breaking year in style.
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