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PAWN Dominates Chuseok Holiday Weekend

Oct 06, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Admissions Up 150% as Cinemas Welcome Back Crowds

Thanks to the Chuseok holidays, the Korean box office came roaring back to life in early October. Business shot up 150% from last week’s session, which had already started to show signs of recovery after the late summer COVID spike with a 30% rise from the previous week. With new local titles occupying most of the top five, the domestic market share was a robust 77% of the 1.1 million tickets sold over the three-day weekend. Sales for the entire five-day holiday period stood at 1.81 million, on par with the best three-day weekend we’ve seen during the COVID Era, when DELIVER US FROM EVIL opened in early August.

Claiming the top spot among the new holiday offerings was CJ Entertainment’s Pawn, the latest film from hit production company JK Films (Ode to My Father, 2014). The family comedy-drama, featuring HA Ji-won’s first role in a Korean film in four years, was a convincing number one with a 44% market share, selling 509,000 tickets (USD 3.85 million) over the three-day weekend and filling a total of 821,000 seats (USD 6.09 million) during the entire holiday period.

Crime-comedy The Golden Holiday with KWAK Do-won, which was originally scheduled for a late August bow, debuted in second place with 182,000 entries (USD 1.37 million) over the weekend. The Showbox title has welcomed 449,000 spectators (USD 3.22 million) since its Tuesday bow.

The top foreign competition was the new Gerald BUTLER disaster film Greenland, which sold 130,000 tickets (USD 992,000) over the weekend and drew 239,000 viewers (USD 1.76 million) during its first six days. Owing to COVID-19 concerns, the film is skipping a theatrical launch in North America, where it will go straight to HBO Max, but has steadily been opening across international territories.

After topping the charts for five weeks on the trot, Christopher NOLAN’s Tenet finally ceded the throne to new blood and although it dropped three spots, it only lost 26% of its audience. With 68,000 sales (USD 557,000) counted over this latest frame, the Warner Bros title has now accumulated 1.83 million admissions (USD 14.44 million).

Closing out the top five was another new local title, the sci-fi comedy Night of the Undead with LEE Jung-hyun, which had a tough start with 35,000 entries (USD 254,000) over the three-day weekend and a total of 88,000 viewers (USD 621,000) since its Tuesday bow.

Pawn will look to stay in first over the coming weekend though it should face some competition from the Russell CROWE thriller Unhinged, which opens on Wednesday.
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