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Box office, Dec. 14 - 27

Dec 29, 2011
  • Writer by Darcy Paquet
  • View7429

Late December and early January is peak box office season in South Korea, and in past years major hits such as <Silmido>, <King and the Clown>, <200 Pound Beauty> and <Woochi> (to say nothing of <Avatar>) have been propelled to commercial success during this lucrative period. This year, all eyes have been turned to the blockbuster-scale war movie <My Way> by director KANG Je-gyu, who was responsible for such past record-breaking hits as <Shiri> (1999) and <Taegukgi> (2004).
With Korea’s highest ever budget of US$25 million and a cast including major Asian stars JANG Dong-gun, ODAGIRI Joe and FAN Bingbing, <My Way> was expected to dominate the theaters in the weeks following its Dec. 21. The film is jointly released by leading distributor CJ E&M and IT media company SK Planet.
However, it appears that <My Way> may be more vulnerable than many assumed. First of all, <Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol>, released on December 15 by CJ E&M, has emerged as a box office force with more than 4 million tickets sold in just 12 days. The film has easily held onto the top box office spot, selling 60% more tickets than <My Way> over the Dec. 22 - 25 weekend.
The unexpected strength of this rival movie has surely dented <My Way>'s returns, but it also appears that many viewers have been disappointed with the film. Popular Internet portals such as Naver and Daum show the film getting average viewer ratings in the 6 - 7 range, which is worryingly low for a film that needs to sell 10 million tickets just in order to break even. <Mission: Impossible>, by contrast, is scoring average viewer ratings of 8 - 9 out of 10.
Although this bodes ill for <My Way>'s investors, it is potentially good news for another Korean film that opened on Dec. 21. <Perfect Game> is a baseball movie based on two legendary real-life pitchers, CHOI Dong-won and SEON Dong-yeol. Although the film’s opening score was comparatively weak, ranking only fifth on this latest chart, <Perfect Game> is generating positive word-of-mouth for the nuanced performances of actors CHO Seung-woo and YANG Dong-geun. With no other major releases scheduled for the next couple weeks, <Perfect Game> will have plenty of time to build its audience and perhaps sell more tickets than it might have done if it had been released during another time of the year.
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