South Korea Box Office: Local Thriller 'The Phone' Topples 'Martian'

Next Entertainment World
'The Phone'

Homespun films reclaimed charts as the popularity of 'The Martian' and 'The Intern' tapered.

The Martian's two-week reign on top of the South Korean box office came to an end with the opening of uncanny homespun thrillers over the Oct. 23-25 weekend.

The Phone debuted at No. 1, garnering 31.8 percent of the market share during this time frame to earn a cumu $5.1 million, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database. Unlike the bitingly realistic and noir quality of most blockbuster Korean thrillers, the new Kim Bong-joo film introduces a twist of fantasy, which remains a very minor genre here. The film, about a man who gets a second chance to save his wife who was murdered a year before, will be getting a Chinese-language remake as part of NEW's latest co-production pact with China's Huace.

The Martian stepped down to second place as it took 29.5 percent of the box-office sales. The market share for the film dropped considerably from the two previous weeks, when it accounted for close to half of the revenue. Korea has been one of the world's largest markets for the film, which topped the charts for two straight weeks for gross earnings nearing $30 million. In terms of admissions, by which local industry observers measure box-office performance, the 20th Century Fox Korea film has drawn nearly 4 million to become the 11th best film of the year.

In third place was another new local thriller, The Exclusive: Beat the Devil's Tattoo. The Lotte Entertainment title brought in 16.2 percent of the market share during its first weekend, for total earnings of about $2.8 million. Directed by Roh Deok, the thriller brings a comic twist to its story of a TV news blooper concerning a major serial homicide case.

The Intern came in next at No. 4, bringing in 11.2 percent of the revenue. The gross total for the Anne Hathaway-Robert De Niro film comes down to more than $22 million. Warner Bros. Korea handles the film here.

In fifth place was Collective Invention, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival before hitting local screens. The Filament Pictures film earned roughly $508,000 during its first weekend in theaters. Directed by Kwon Oh-kwang, Collective Invention is a hilarious social satire about a hapless mutant's rise to celebrity.

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