Going on release just two weeks after its Out of Competition bow at the Cannes Film Festival, NA Hong-jin’s latest film THE WAILING has drummed up a storm of rave reviews and opened to strong numbers in North America, where it is currently screening in a limited run. The film initially opened in the CGV Cinema in Los Angeles’ Korean town, generating USD 77,892, and after expanding to 32 theaters across the United States and Canada, wound up at 17th on the weekly chart with a robust USD 218,520.
After 10 days the film’s total now stands at USD 296,812 and distributor Well Go USA will be looking to add significantly to that total as they roll out to an additional 20 or 30 locations over the coming weeks. With a rare 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is generating stellar word of mouth, allowing it to crossover to wider audiences in the country, not just Korean expatriates.
From the director of The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010), THE WAILING follows an investigation in a small rural town, when a rash of strange and gruesome deaths begins to plague the area. A local cop grows suspicious of Japanese stranger and enlists the help of a shaman when his daughter begins to show odd symptoms. The film stars KWAK Do-won, HWANG Jung-min, CHUN Woo-hee and Japanese actor KUNIMURA Jun.
Meanwhile, in Korea, the film has crossed 6.5 million admissions (USD 45.42 million) after a month on release, making it the biggest hit in director NA’s career. The top performing Korean film of all time in the United States, if we exclude English-language productions such as D-War (2007) and Snowpiercer (2013), is the period naval epic Roaring Currents (2014), which made USD 2.59 million in the market.
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