South Korean Box Office: 'Big Hero 6' Debuts Second Behind Local Action Film 'Gangnam Blues'

Disney/Screengrab
'Big Hero 6'

The Disney toon featuring the voice of popular Korean actor Daniel Henney and homespun actioner toppled seasonal blockbuster 'Ode to My Father.'

South Korean drama Ode to My Father ended its long reign at the top of the box office, as local actioner Gangnam Blues and Disney's Big Hero 6 respectively made big debuts last week.

Gangnam Blues, starring Asian superstar Lee Min-ho, took 26.9 percent of the weekend revenue during this period (Jan. 23-25). The film distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex has so far earned $7.6 million and is expected to reap more sales as it opens across 13 Asian countries.

In addition to its successful pre-sale to neighboring countries, the film will make its official market debut at the European Film Market during the Berlin Film Festival next month. Gangnam Blues is about the friendship and betrayal between two ambitious young men during Korea's tumultuous 1970s economic development, as they become involved in the real estate business of Seoul's posh Gangnam area (yes, as in "Gangnam Style"). The film marks the third in director Yoo Ha's noir "street trilogy" following Spirit of Jeet Keun Do (2004) and A Dirty Carnival (2006). 

Next came Big Hero 6, which trailed close behind in second place by taking 24.6 percent of sales and a cumulative gross of $6.32 million. The robot hero story follows in the unprecedented success of last year's Frozen, which became one of the highest grossing films in Korean box office history. Both films are handled by Walt Disney Company Korea. Big Hero 6 also drew a lot of attention here for featuring the the voice of regionally popular star Daniel Henney, an American model-turned-actor of Korean descent.

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Homespun family drama Ode to My Father toppled down to third place after dominating the box office for five consecutive weeks, but still accounted for 18.4 percent of tickets sold. The CJ Entertainment film has so far brought in a total of $86.27 million or over 12 million viewers — topping Haeundae (a.k.a. Tidal Wave), another record-breaking blockbuster directed by JK Youn. In terms of admissions, by which local theaters primarily measure a film's performance, Ode to My Father is now the eighth most watched film in Korean cinema history.

Homegrown romantic comedy Love Forecast, stepped down to fourth place from last week's second. Another CJ Entertainment release, the film grabbed 10.2 percent of sales with cumu earning of $11.37 million.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb fell down to fifth place after debuting in third last week. The Twentieth Century Fox Korea title brought in 6 percent of sales over the weekend, with total earnings amounting to $6.2 million since opening on Jan. 14.

Homegrown family drama Chronicles of a Blood Merchant (Showbox/Mediaplex) came in sixth while John Wick (Joy N Contents) starring Keanu Reeves debuted at seventh (2.2 percent of sales or a total $690,000). American Sniper finished eighth, slipping down three spots from last week's fifth. The Warner Bros. Korea has so far earned about $1.2 million.

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