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THE MAN STANDING NEXT Edges Out HITMAN in Busy Lunar New Year Weekend

Jan 29, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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MR. ZOO: THE MISSING VIP Trails in 3rd

Business shot up 150% as the Lunar New Year celebrations got underway, with 3.72 million admissions counted over the three-day weekend, with business spilling over into Monday, which is also a holiday. With three major local releases launched for the festivities, the domestic industry accounted for a roaring 91% of all sales.

WOO Min-ho’s political drama The Man Standing Next gave LEE Byung-hun his second consecutive major hit, following ASHFALL (2019), as it opened to a stellar 2.01 million entries (USD 15.63 million), with 2.64 million seats (USD 19.77 million) filled over its first five days. With little immediate competition, it should have no trouble notching a few other milestones in the coming days and weeks.

Also impressing in its debut was the local action-comedy HITMAN: AGENT JUN, the third film headlined by KWON Sang-woo in as many months, following Love, Again (2019) and The Divine Move 2: The Wrathful (2019). Despite little built-up interest the film has turned into a crowd-pleaser and claimed second place with a robust 929,000 admissions (USD 7.17 million), with 1.15 million sales (USD 8.76 million) recorded since Wednesday. The film is well positioned to add significantly to that total going forward.

The only misfire among the new trio was the talking animal crime-comedy MR. ZOO: THE MISSING VIP with LEE Sung-min (who also stars in The Man Standing Next). The film had a lackluster debut with 289,000 viewers (USD 2.2 million) over the weekend and 394,000 spectators (USD 2.87 million) counted in its first five days.

Meanwhile Will SMITH was back in theaters in the animation Spies in Disguise, which opened with a middling 175,000 sales (USD 1.27 million), with 234,000 entries (USD 1.67 million) counted since its midweek debut.

Last year’s chart-topper SECRET ZOO, another Lunar New Year hopeful, was unable to build into the holidays as it crashed a hefty 77% in its sophomore frame, with 131,000 new admissions (USD 981,000) counted. The film has now amassed a soft 1.13 million sales (USD 8.09 million) and should be wrapping up its run very swiftly.

Meanwhile, the acclaimed French drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire claimed its second weekend win on the limited release chart, which translated into an eighth-place rank on the main chart after dipping just 28%. The film added 16,000 viewers (USD 127,000) to bring its total to an impressive 73,000 entries (USD 532,000) to date, making Korea the film’s third best market so far, behind France and the Netherlands.

The biggest release this week is actually a re-release of Christoper NOLAN’s beloved Inception but the top of the chart should once again be controlled by this year’s local Lunar New Year hits.
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