In the first two weeks of February, Korean films from the Lunar New Year holiday in late January kept going strong. <Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time>, which opened Feb. 2, clocked up 918,000 admissions in its first week and has in two weeks gathered 2.5 million admissions in total to land at the #1 ranking of this chart.
For director YOON Jong-bin (who debuted in 2005 with the Cannes entry <The Unforgiven>), this is a comeback after nearly four years since <Beastie Boys> (2008) with HA Jung-woo.<Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time> stars CHOI Min-shik and Ha Jung-woo in a film noir set in Busan in 1982.
Corrupt customs officer CHOI Ik-hyun (Choi) finds a methamphetamine shipment and partners with the harbor city’s biggest crime organization boss, CHOI Hyung-bae (Ha), to make money off it. They eventually find out they are distant relatives. With his unique wit and ability to make people like him, Ik-hyun borrows Hyung-bae’s power to take over Busan.But their golden days are numbered. In 1990, the ROH Tae-woo administration declares a war on crime and a rift gradually occurs between the two men and in their organization. With a “Teenager restricted” rating and a rather long running time of 133 minutes, the film has elements working against it for box office success. Despite that, “the return of” Choi Min-shik melded with top-rated actor of the day Ha Jung-woo is impressive. The two actors’ presence is backed up by a solid supporting cast, giving the film a distinct flavor of a gangster classic.
As of Feb. 14, the film has a high reservation rate at 27.3% and no particular competitors, and so <Nameless Gangster> is expected to keep performing well at the box office.
Lunar New Year’s box office leaders <Dancing Queen> and <Unbowed> have both passed the 3 million admissions marker.
Korean 3D animation <Speckles: The Tarbosuarus> sold 360,000 tickets in its first week and has of Feb. 14 clocked up a total of 800,000 admissions. With more than KW8 billion (US$7.1 million) invested over three years, the animation clocked up unexpectedly high box office thanks to the spring break and families coming out to cinemas in a body.
On the weekend of Feb. 3 – 5, Korean films took the top five spots in the box office chart - <Nameless Gangster>, <Unbowed>, <Dancing Queen>, <Speckles: The Tarbosuarus>, and <Papa>, in that order from #1 to #5. Much anticipated films <War Horse> and <Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy>, which opened Feb. 9, took in 470,000 and 420,000 admissions respectively in their first week.