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SOUL Brings Korean Box Office Back to Life

Jan 25, 2021
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
  • View1643
Business Climbs 300% Despite 9pm Closures in Greater Seoul

After two consecutive all-time lows at the box office, business in Korea came roaring back thanks to the debut of Disney-Pixar’s latest animation. Business soared 300% to 363,000 admissions, the best weekend figure since late November. This happened despite social distancing restrictions that mandate that all cinemas in the greater Seoul region must be shut by 9 pm. On the other hand, with no major new Korean films for weeks, the local market share crated, with domestic product accounting for only 1.2% of all sales.

The highly anticipated Pixar animation Soul entered the marketplace with rave reviews and was met with similar adulation from viewers. Accounting for 84% of all sales over the weekend, the film sold 303,000 tickets (USD 2.57 million) over the weekend and has reached 408,000 viewers (USD 3.41 million) since its Wednesday launch. For most films, the current 9 pm theaters closure restrictions have been devastating, but Soul was able to offset that part with its family crowds. The film should continue to drum up strong business but will face some direct competition when this week’s number two opens wide later this week.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, the anime hit that became the most successful film of all time at the Japanese box office despite opening in the middle of a pandemic, held previews in Korea over the weekend. Those advance screenings welcomed 10,000 spectators (USD 95,000), a number that is expected to rise significantly this coming weekend.

Debuting in third place was the US horror-thriller Come Play, which filled 7,000 seats (USD 59,000) over the three-day frame and recorded 11,000 entries (USD 91,000) over its first five days.

Still hanging in there in fourth place was Wonder Woman 1984, which was down 72%, with 4,000 new tickets (USD 36,000) sold. The Warner Bros tentpole has now accumulated 544,000 admissions (USD 4.45 million) in Korea.

Closing out the top five was the re-release of WONG Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love. The classic film eased 49% with 3,500 viewers (USD 30,000) snatching up tickets, giving it a total of 96,000 entries (USD 763,000) so far.

It’ll be a big animation showdown this coming weekend as the well-liked Soul goes head-to-head with Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train on its first weekend of wide release, which is currently leading the reservations chart.
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