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  • NA Hong-jin’s THE WAILING Howls in First Place
  • by Pierce Conran /  May 18, 2016
  • Massive Debut for Critically-Acclaimed Thriller
     
     
    A week after it received a rapturous response from Korean critics, NA Hong-jin’s latest film, the Cannes Out of Competition thriller THE WAILING, bowed to huge numbers this past weekend. The thriller helped keep the box office brisk, as 2.85 million spectators visited multiplexes, with 75% of those opting for Korean films.
     
    With 1.83 million viewers (USD 13.08 million) over the frame and 2.32 million admissions (USD 16.26 million) since its Wednesday bow (a day earlier than planned), THE WAILING posted the third highest opening weekend of the year and was a record opening for 20th Century Fox in the market, which financed the picture. The big opening can be attributed to the film’s high curiosity factor, following glowing reviews and a strong marketing campaign, as well as the appearance of HWANG Jung-min in a supporting role, who has experienced a string of local hits, including Veteran (2015) and A Violent Prosecutor (2016).
     
    The film has already surpassed the lifetime total of NA’s previous film, The Yellow Sea (2010), and stands a good chance of catching up to his debut The Chaser, which drew 5.05 million admissions in 2008.
     
    After two weeks of lording over the charts, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War tumbled 66%, adding 527,630 viewers (USD 3.92 million) to its haul, which now stands at 8.24 million admissions (USD 58.77 million). At this rate, the film seems to have missed its chance at hitting the ten million admission mark.
     
    Dropping 56% in its second frame was local thriller Phantom Detective, which came in third with 226,181 spectators (USD 1.6 million). To date the film has brought in a respectable 1.2 million viewers (USD 8.32 million).
     
    Opening in fourth was Allegiant, the new installment in the young adult franchise Divergent. It bowed to a poor 59,705 viewers (USD 418,425), with 76,049 admissions (USD 523,083) overall, which represents less than a third of the original’s start in 2014.
     
    Local animation Hello Jadoo was in fifth place after dropping two spots in the sophomore weekend. The title fell 64%, adding 43,200 moviegoers (USD 276,855) for a new 263,613 viewers (USD 1.71 million) total.
     
    Opening with a disappointing 38,589 tickets (USD 269,643) in sixth place was the Korea-China co-production My New Sassy Girl, a sequel to 2001’s smash hit romcom My Sassy Girl.
     
    Jostling for a place on the chart this coming week will be foreign titles Sing Street and Hardcore Henry, as well as local drama Canola. Though it looks like THE WAILING’s hot buzz will keep it in the top spot.
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