South Korea Box Office: Cannes Title 'The Wailing' Tops 'Captain America'

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Korea
'The Wailing'

The out-of-competition pic dominated market share and marked the biggest opening weekend of all time in the country for Fox.

South Korean thriller The Wailing topped the local box office over the weekend, marking the biggest opening weekend of all time for Fox in the country.

The stellar debut of the Cannes out-of-competition title, which has been presold to the U.S., among other territories, ended Captain America: Civil War's two-week reign on top.

The third feature film by Na Hong Jin (The Chaser, The Yellow Sea) to be invited to the French festival, The Wailing swept 64.1 percent of the three-day market share, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database. The third local production by Fox International Productions Korea, the horror-thriller has earned a cumulative $16.8 million on 1,467 screens, according to the company.

In addition, The Wailing had the third-biggest opening in South Korea so far in 2016, as well as the eighth-biggest opening weekend ever for a local title. In terms of admissions, by which local industry observers measure a film's performance, the pic, locally known as Gokseong, crossed 2 million in just five days — making it the fastest local film opening in May since Bong Joo Ho's Mother in 2009 to hit that mark.

The Wailing, which is set to screen Wednesday in Cannes, is about a series of horrific murders in a rural town following the arrival of a mysterious stranger. A local cop risks his life to save his daughter from suffering the same fate. The film has been noted for merging themes of Korean shamanism and Catholic exorcism.

It has been presold to about a dozen territories, including the U.S. (Well Go USA Entertainment), China (Infotainment Media) and French-speaking territories (Metropolitan Filmexport). Finecut handles international sales for the pic.

The Wailing's success pushed Captain America: Civil War into the No. 2 spot. The Marvel franchise accounted for 19.2 percent of the weekend box office, down from the previous week's 64.8 percent. It has now earned about $60.1 million overall, according to Disney.

In third place was the local actioner Phantom Detective, which hit a share of 7.8 percent. The CJ Entertainment title retained its ranking from the previous week for cumulative revenue of $1.6 million as it showed on 519 screens

Next up was The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which debuted on 392 screens to finish fourth. Handled by Joy N Cinema here, the sci-fi adventure took 2 percent of the market revenue for a cumulative total of $522,919.

In fifth place was a second CJ title, the children's animated feature Hello Jadoo, which opened May 4 ahead of Children's Day in South Korea. Showing on 320 screens, the film's gross has reached $276,761.

May 16, 7:15 p.m. Updated with total box-office gross for The Divergent Series: Allegiant from the studio. A previous version of this story cited the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database.

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