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Box Office : August 4 – August 17 , 2014

Aug 19, 2014
  • Writer by CHOI Hyeon-ji
  • View9427

The Admiral: Roaring Currents
is dominating the film scene in Korea, and has been rewriting history since its release on July 30th. It is not merely just the number of tickets sold (14,622,611), but the rate that the tickets are being bought that broke records. It only took 18 days to reach a new record. It is only a matter of time until it attracts over 15 million viewers, and it seems possible to sell over 17 million if it runs long enough.

Although it might look humble compared to The Admiral: Roaring Currents, The Pirates is also noteworthy. Selling 1,454,725 tickets in the second week, it has exceeded 4 million in ticket sales. Its selling record so far is ahead of Masquerade, the 4th biggest hit of all time in Korea, by 4 days.

As for The Pirates, ticket sales hit its peak on the first week with 479,135 viewers on that day, and on August 15th (Sat) even more moviegoers with 492,505. Since the size of audiences gradually increased, it is predicted to make a long run. What's more interesting is that The Pirates marks a higher audience share when compared to The Admiral: Roaring Currents. While the audience share of The Admiral: Roaring Currents started decreasing after hitting 10 million, audience share of The Pirates has not decreased. The Pirates beat The Admiral: Roaring Currents by audience share as of August 11th (Mon) and the gap has been growing since. Considering the pace, The Pirates is predicted to attract 5 million viewers within first 3 weeks.

Third most watched Korean film is Haemoo. Haemoo, released on August 13th has been viewed by 931,765 people so far. It was produced by Bong Joon Ho and directed by SHIM Sung-bo, who wrote the script of Memories of Murder. One of  Korea's top actors, KIM Yun-seok and a member of boy group JYJ PARK Yoo-chun play the lead roles. Based on a tragic true story that happened in the middle of the sea, it gained positive criticism for the quality, also when it was made as a play. Direction, acting and mise-en-scène are all done well, but it the film has some disadvantages compared to The Admiral: Roaring Currents and The Pirates because it is rated 18+.

Fourth most popular film this summer is How to Train Your Dragon 2, and following in fifth is Guardians of the Galaxy, a new Marvel film. About 790,000 viewers watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 during the week, selling around 2,910,000 tickets. Guardians of the Galaxy, the space version of The Avengers, was released on July 31th. It gathered 620,000 watchers and has been viewed by 120,000 thus far. Guardians of the Galaxy was a big hit earning 175.9 million dollar in North America, where the brand power of Marvel worked, but couldn’t beat The Admiral: Roaring Currents, The Pirates and Haemoo in the Korean market.

KUNDO : Age of the Rampant has dropped to the 7th. It ended up collecting 4,760,000 admissions, much fewer than its initial target of 10 million, but it exceeded the break-even-point at least.

The eighth and tenth are occupied by Hollywood made romance films. The Fault in Our Stars (20th Century Fox) released on August 13th and sold 220,000 tickets, while Can a Song Save Your Life? released on the same day gathered 100,000 viewers. Can a Song Save Your Life? directed by John Carney, who also directed Korean moviegoers’ beloved film, Once (2006), attracted many music film fans. However, a portion of audiences chose the romantic love story of a girl suffering an incurable illness instead of the beautiful music film.

The fast pace of The Admiral: Roaring Currents is furious. Yet it is not that surprising compared with the market tendency of 2013. The Terror, LIVE and Snowpiercer released in 2013 attracted 5.5 million viewers and 9 million respectively, which make 14.5 million if added up. In the summer of 2012, The Thieves alone gathered 12 million viewers. This means the summer market of Korean films has already grown big enough to bring nearly 15 million film fans to theaters. It is also a fact that The Admiral: Roaring Currents made the summer box office even bigger. Now, what influences the long run of the historical epic will have on the market during the Chuseok season in September draws attention.
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