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TENET Almost Reverses Box Office Decline in Debut

Aug 31, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Viewers Wary Once More as Korea Jumps to Social Distancing Level 2.5

Despite growing concerns from spectators amid a steady rise in local COVID-19 transmissions, as well as the government’s decision on Friday evening to raise the country’s social distancing level to 2.5, which includes restrictions on the operations of restaurants and cafes and the outright closure of several spaces likes fitness centers, business was almost flat this past weekend, thanks to the opening of the first major Hollywood release of the pandemic era. 470,000 tickets were sold over the frame, slowing just over 1% from last weekend, with the local market share falling down to 19%.

Christopher NOLAN’s hotly anticipated time-bending new thriller Tenet saved the box office from crashing completely as it launched with 353,000 sales (USD 2.9 million) over the weekend. Including last weekend’s previews, the film has now filled 660,000 seats (USD 5.06 million). While this is a far cry from what might normally be expected from such a tentpole, the film’s performance proved that some viewers are willing to brave theaters for the right film, even in the midst of a new COVID-19 surge. As is typical for NOLAN films in Korea, audience reactions are on the strong side and with little in its way over the coming weeks, the film may develop long legs, particularly in specially formats like IMAX.

After lording over the charts for three weeks, the local action-thriller DELIVER US FROM EVIL relinquished its throne as it shot down 71%. In second place, the film added 53,000 viewers (USD 412,000), boosting its total to an impressive 4.25 million admissions (USD 31.92 million) to date, the highest total of any film during the COVID-19 era.

Down 79% in its third weekend was OK! MADAM, which filled another 22,000 seats (USD 168,000). The local comedy has now amassed a decent 1.2 million entries (USD 9.12 million).

In fourth place was the Japanese animation Crayon Shin-chan: Honeymoon Hurricane ~The Lost Hirochi~ which was down 71% as it accrued 14,000 admissions (USD 103,000) in its sophomore frame, with 94,000 tickets (USD 650,000) sold to date.

Closing out the top five was Peninsula, which was down only 46% and up one spot. With 3,000 additional sales (USD 15,000), the zombie blockbuster boosted its total to 3.81 million admissions (USD 28 million).

Tenet is unlikely to be pushed off the top spot just yet, but the local comedy Oh! My Gran will be opening this week and may pull in some decent crowds as counterprogramming.
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