KIM Tae-yong’s Late Autumn (Man Chu) has become the highest grossing Korean film released in China to date, taking in more than $9.5 million over two weeks.
Released in Chinese theaters on March 23, Late Autumn earned 25 million yuan (approx. $4 million) at the box office only in three days, setting a new record for opening-weekend gross by a Korean film in mainland China. According to leading Chinese internet portal SINA.com, the film earned more than 60 million yuan (approx. $9.5 million) through the end of Qingming holiday (April 2 to 4), which makes it the most successful Korean film at the Chinese box office thus far.
Set in Seattle, Late Autumn is a lyrical and enchanting story of two misfits whose chance meeting evolves into an unlikely love. Starring Chinese actress TANG Wei as a prisoner who is given a three-day parole to attend her mother’s funeral and Korean heartthrob HYUN Bin as a gigolo on-the-run, the film has succeeded in attracting the Chinese audience with its romantic appeal.
The success of the romantic drama Late Autumn at the Chinese box office, along with that of A Simple Life (a.k.a. Sister Peach) by veteran Hong-Kong director ANN Hui, which also has taken in more than 60 million yuan, is encouraging for art-house film, especially with the growing popularity of comedy and action genres in recent years, relative to the performance of Hollywood blockbusters in China.
Previously, comedian-turned-filmmaker SHIM Hyung-rae's 2007 fantasy action film D-War and the 2011 3D sci-fi thriller Sector 7 were co-record holders among Korean film screened in China, each having taken in roughly 30 million yuan (approx. $4.8 million). With the number of Late Autumn’s screenings per day staying as high as 1,600 as of April 8, the film is expected to add even more ticket sales to its record-setting total.