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Interstellar topped the South Korean box office for the third consecutive week from Nov. 21-23, accounting for 54.8 percent of the revenue in spite of much anticipated titles such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Fury opening over the last week.
The Christopher Nolan film distributed by Warner Brothers Korea has so far been seen by over 7 million of 50 million Koreans, becoming the fifth best film of 2014 so far in terms of both admissions — which Korean offices primarily use to measure box-office performance — and gross. Interstellar has earned over $50.5 million; making the relatively small Asian country the third most successful for the film following the giant markets of the U.S. and China.
With IMAX screenings on weekends sold out for weeks, major Korean theaters have seen the emergence of scalpers. Critics have pointed out how the sophisticated technology and family values featured in the film have resonated strongly with tech-savvy, Internet-friendly Koreans.
Fury and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 came in close for second and third places, respectively. In terms of gross the Brad Pitt WWII film took in 16.4 percent of the share according to the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS database (cumulative earning $3.265 million), while the latest installment in the fantasy game franchise grabbed 16.1 percent (total gross $3.296 million). In terms of weekly admissions the two films’ positions were reversed, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 coming in second.
Cart (Little Big Pictures), a Korean drama about the rights of part-time workers, stepped down to fourth place after debuting second last week. Debuting fifth was Dad for Rent (Redrover), a local family comedy about a daughter who decides to ‘rent out’ her unemployed dad to those in need of temporarily hiring a father figure, which turns into a surprisingly lucrative business.
The strong performance of Hollywood films over the weekend marks an unusual success in a market usually dominated by local fare. For the first time in years, the market share of U.S. films (47.1 percent) came close to the 48.7 percent occupied by Korean works as of Monday (for the period of Jan. 1-Nov. 23, 2014). In 2013 the figures were 36.8 percent and 58.7 percent, respectively.
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