End-Of-Year Peak Season Scores by HWANG Hee-yun / Jan 08, 2019
Box Office Results of Korean Films Released in December over the Last 5 Years
December is one of the most profitable periods for Korean films, along with summer. Blockbusters with huge production costs flood the market and reap large box office takes on par with their impressive budgets. The period that saw the all-time biggest commercial successes is indeed December. One only need look at a list of the Korean commercial hits of the last five years that were released in December to get a sense of how crucial this period can be. The Attorney (2013), Ode to My Father (2014) and Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) all managed to get some legs and were still running in the following month, selling over 10 million tickets. In that respect, this year’s slate of December releases, namely The Drug King (Dec. 19), Swing Kids (Dec. 19) and Take Point (Dec. 26), was eagerly anticipated by moviegoers. Add to that the fact that the first two marked the return of SONG Kang-ho and HA Jung-woo, two of the most bankable actors, while the third one was the latest from Sunny (2011) director KANG Hyoung-chul. However, now that the December peak season is behind us and the figures are in, it appears these three movies have performed rather poor. Released a week earlier than Take Point (2018), The Drug King (2018) welcomed 1.86 million viewers while Swing Kids (2018) took in 1.43 million admissions. Take Point, which opened on December 26, also had a rough time as it only sold 1.6 million tickets. Considering that all three movies had production budgets of over KRW 14 billion (USD 12.5 million), this is seen as a major disappointment by people within and outside of the film industry. Because of this box office slump, it was the first time since 2011 that the December admission figures for Korean movies were way behind those for foreign films.