South Korea Box Office: 'Unbroken' Debuts in Fourth Place

Courtesy of HANSUNGHEE
'Ode to My Father'

Homegrown hit 'Ode' ranks first again and nears 10 million admissions as family movies dominate

South Korean drama Ode to My Father topped the local box office for the fourth consecutive week, reaping 42.9 percent of weekend sales for the Jan. 9-11 period.

The CJ Entertainment release has earned a total of about $70 million, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database. Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie's Unbroken came in fourth in its first weekend.

Ode to My Father, a family drama starring Lost actress Yunjin Kim, is expected to break 10 million admissions in the coming days, as 9.69 million tickets had been sold by the end of the weekend.

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It will be JK Youn's second title to reach the milestone since his 2009 tsunami blockbuster Haeundae (aka Tidal Wave). He will be the first Korean filmmaker to have two titles attract 10 million admissions here, or a fifth of Korea's population of 50 million. Only a dozen films, including Avatar, have crossed the record in Korea, where offices mainly use admissions to measure a film's performance. 

The generational epic about a man making sacrifices for his family will have its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama section next month.

Meanwhile, Taken 3 and The Penguins of Madagascar defended their second and third places, respectively. The Liam Neeson actioner distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Korea took 14.1 percent of the weekend revenue, grossing a total $13.1 million. Penguins, also handled by CJ Entertainment, accounted for 10.8 percent of sales and has so far earned about $9.6 million.

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Unbroken debuted in fourth place with box-office revenue of about $1.47 million. The Universal Pictures International Korea title has been making headlines here for its portrayal of Japan's wartime cruelties, which remains a sensitive issue in Korea, a former Japanese colony (1910-45).

Paddington landed in fifth place during its first weekend in Korean theaters. Distributed by Lotte Entertainment, the family film grossed a total of $1.35 million.

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