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Jan 21, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Box Office Warms Up for Lunar New Year

In the weekend before the Lunar New Year holiday, a pair of new titles launched that will hope to keep the turnstiles spinning throughout the holidays, even as new competition prepares to launch. Admissions were down slightly, with 1.49 million viewers recorded over the weekend, while local films claimed a thin majority with a 50% share of sales.

Director SON Jae-gon’s latest film, the high-concept comedy SECRET ZOO, debuted in first place with 574,000 entries (USD 4.29 million) over the weekend and a total of 813,000 sales (USD 5.94 million) recorded since its Wednesday bow. The critical reception has been warm but it’s unclear if the film has connected with audiences yet and whether it will be able to survive the incoming wave of holiday titles expected in the coming days.

The long-in-the-making Hollywood sequel Bad Boys for Life kicked off its run in second place with 290,000 viewers (USD 2.33 million) counted over the weekend, and 403,000 spectators  (USD 3.15 million) in total over its first five days. This pales in comparison to its massive debut in America, and is also a drop compared to the local performance of Bad Boys II, which recorded 1.45 million admissions over its run, an impressive total for 2003.

Sliding to third place in week two after a 62% drop was Dolittle as it added 271,000 sales (USD 1.99 million), raising its total in the Korean market to 1.45 million admissions (USD 10.52 million).

Fourth place was claimed by the local hit ASHFALL (2019), which slowed 63% to 97,000 sales (USD 738,000) as it continued to wind down its run, which has now reached an impressive 8.2 million admissions (USD 59.75 million).

After its disappointing start, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker crashed 82% in its sophomore weekend. It filled 48,000 seats (USD 386,000) over the weekend, giving it a meagre total of 485,000 entries (USD 389,000 million) to date.

With the Lunar New Year holiday hitting this coming Saturday, most of the local releases timed for the holidays are being launched on Wednesday. Showbox’s period political drama The Man Standing Next is poised to claim the top spot, while action-comedy HITMAN: AGENT JUN and crime comedy MR. ZOO: THE MISSING VIP will also be looking to drum up sales.
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