Social Distancing Restrictions Dampen Cinema Admissions
Despite the entry of a major new local film, the exhibition market contracted yet again as Korea grapples with its most serious spike in COVID cases to date, as daily infections rose over 1,000 during the weekend. Weekend admissions were down to 147,000, with 71% of tickets being sold to domestic products.
Arthouse director KIM Jong-kwan made his long-long-awaited commercial film debut with Josée, a remake of the Japanese cult classic Josée, the Tiger and the Fish. Starring NAM Joo-hyuk and HAN Ji-min, the film welcomed only 56,000 viewers (USD 478,000) over the weekend, with 79,000 spectators (USD 653,000) recorded over its first four days. Owing to its unique situation as the final film to be distributed by Warner Bros. Korea before it leaves the market at the end of the month, Josée was unable to delay its release.
Slowing 59% and dropping one spot on its third weekend was the local political dramedy Best Friend. The film filled another 26,000 seats (USD 204,000), raising its total to 381,000 entries (USD 3 million) to date.
Still a threat in its sixth weekend on the charts was the crime caper Collectors, which slowed 44% and clinched 15,000 sales (USD 113,000). The film has now reached 1.45 million viewers (USD 12.13 million).
US thriller Run slipped one spot and 48% in its third weekend, as it sold 11,000 tickets (USD 87,000). The sophomore film from Searching director Aneesh CHAGANTY has filed 256,000 seats (USD 2.15 million) to date.
Closing out the top five was the Chinese war epic The Eight Hundred, a massive hit in its native market. On limited release in Korea, it reached 6,000 viewers (USD 48,000) over the weekend, with 8,000 admissions (USD 66,000) counted since Thursday.
With no major releases until Wonder Woman 1984 on December 23, Josée should be able to hang on for a second weekend on top of the charts, but business is likely to remain depressed for some time.