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Box Office Reports
THE HIMALAYAS Climbs All Over STAR WARS in Debut
Dec 21, 2015
- Writerby Pierce Conran
One of Only Two World Markets Not Conquered by STAR WARS
The hotly anticipated new Star Wars, or Episode VII: The Force Awakens, was a global phenomenon this weekend, setting weekend records in the US, UK, Germany and Russia, among others, and powering to a USD 517 million bow worldwide, which is second all time behind Jurassic World. However, there was only two countries where it failed to open first or set any records. In Korea, the film debuted in second place, behind the latest blockbuster melodrama The Himalayas. It also opened second in Vietnam, behind CJ Entertainment's local-language remake of their 2013 hit Miss Granny.
Overall, 2.9 million viewers shuffled into theaters over the weekend, an 80% rise over last weekend, and Korean films, despite battling against the opening the year’s most hyped release, came out with a robust 66% market share.
With 1.1 million admissions (USD 7.5 million) over the weekend and 1.53 million (USD 10.13 million) in five days, mountaineering drama The Himalayas from LEE Seok-hoon proved to be another hit for production company JK Film (Haeundae, 2009; Ode to My Father, 2014), as well as leading man HWANG Jung-min, whose last two films (Ode to My Father, Veteran) are currently the number two and three all time performers in Korea. Based on a true story of courage and self-sacrifice, the melodramatic tale has garnered strong ratings from viewers and is poised to play well over the end of year period.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was no match for the local competition as it opened with 901,903 viewers (USD 6.7 million) and 1.07 million (USD 7.96 million) since its Thursday launch. Marketing was aggressive and the film benefited from strong local reviews but the property is still nowhere near as pervasive in the country as in Western markets or neighboring Japan.
Suffering against the duel of two blockbusters was PARK Hoon-jung’s period hunting epic The Tiger with CHOI Min-shik. With three major films going head to head without the benefit of a holiday, there was always going to be at least one casualty and, with an opening of just 483,603 spectators (USD 3.24 million) and 738,747 (USD 4.83 million) since Wednesday, The Tiger debuted in third place. Viewer scores are positive, but behind its competitors, which will put it at a significant disadvantage in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Inside Men slowed 63% in its fifth weekend for 220,742 admissions (USD 1.55 million) and a 6.46 million (USD 43.87 million) total and in fifth place, Pororo3 : Cyber Space Adventure added another 91,448 viewers (USD 582,977) following a 39% decline for a new total of 283,589 (USD 1.79 million). Outside of the top five, the second rerelease of Love Actually (2003) found 12,436 viewers (USD 86,497).
Next week, Hotel Transylvania 2 will open, hoping to drum up some business over the Christmas weekend.