'The Attorney' Hits 10 Million Admissions Mark in South Korea

The legal drama became the ninth local movie to pass the box office milestone, and did so in fewer days than 'Avatar,' the highest grossing film ever in Korea.

SEOUL — Local legal drama The Attorney crossed 10 million admissions at the South Korean box office on Sunday. It is the ninth homespun film here to ever reach the box office milestone, in the country that has a population of 50 million.

The film reached the number after just 32 days in theaters, according to its distributor Next Entertainment World (NEW). It passed the mark a week faster than Avatar, which took 38 days and remains the most watched film in the country with 13.3 million admissions. Avatar is also the only non-Korean film to cross 10 million, in a market that has become dominated by homegrown fare. Korean films accounted for 58.7 percent of the market share here in 2013.

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The film, which cost only $7.2 million (7.5 billion won) to make, also enjoyed large profit margins by earning nearly $70 million in the box office. The tally is particularly impressive as the film has been hit by online piracy. A copy of The Attorney surfaced on file-sharing sites on Jan. 11, and though NEW has managed to halt paid website users from downloading the film, private sharing cannot be controlled.

The Attorney marks the directorial debut of web cartoonist Yang Woo-suk and is inspired by the life of the late former Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. Song Kang-ho plays the lead role of a tax lawyer in 1980s Korea who sacrifices his personal interests to defend a young man who is falsely accused by the government of being a North Korean spy.

The Attroney is Song's third consecutive film to cross 9 million admissions here, following 2013's The Face Reader and Snowpiercer. It is the second film distributed by NEW, a relatively young and small company, to haul in 10 million admissions following last year's Miracle in Cell No.7.