Admissions in South Korean cinemas bounced back over the weekend of June 12-14, coming close to levels seen before cinemas began emptying out due to the MERS scare three weeks ago.
Jurassic World led the charge and the weekend box-office ranking with a cumulative $14.4 million.
This may partly be attributed to an announcement on Friday that the virus hasn’t spread outside hospitals. Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Korean medical community also strongly advised the 2,000-odd schools nationwide that had shut down to resume classes.
According to the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS database on Monday, total theater admissions for the weekend reached 2.19 million, close to the 2.4 million garnered for the May 22-24 timeframe.
The first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was diagnosed in South Korea on May 20. As of Monday, 16 have died, while 150 are confirmed to be infected and 5,216 are quarantined, making South Korea the country hardest hit by MERS apart from Saudi Arabia, where the lethal virus was first discovered in 2012. As public alarm grew, theater admissions dropped by about 20 percent each week, hitting an all-time low of 1.55 million for the June 5-7 weekend.
Jurassic World and other Hollywood films topped the box office in South Korea this weekend as a couple highly anticipated homegrown titles pushed back release dates amid concerns over MERS.
Jurassic World dominated to draw 71.7 percent of the weekend’s box-office revenue. In terms of admissions, by which local industry observers measure a film’s performance, the Universal Pictures International Korea film garnered an impressive 1.8 million as of Monday.
The successful debut of Jurassic World toppled San Andreas, which finished second with 12.3 percent of the market share. The disaster actioner handled by Warner Bros. Korea has so far brought in $11.2 million.
Mad Max: Fury Road and Spy also dropped one spot each, finishing third and fourth, respectively. The apocalyptic actioner by George Miller (Warner Bros. Korea) accounted for 6.1 percent of the revenue to grow its gross total to $28.3 million, while the spy thriller (20th Century Fox Korea) took 5.5 percent for a cumulative $15.74 million.
The Treacherous, the erotic costume drama distributed by Lotte Entertainment, was the only local film to finish among the top batch. In fifth place, it accounted for 1.4 percent of the box office to gross a cumulative $7.81 million.