'Gravity' Takes No. 1 at the South Korean Box Office

The sci-fi flick is the first Hollywood import to do well in months in a market dominated by homespun films.

SEOUL -- Gravity topped the South Korean box office for the weekend of Oct. 18-20 with a whopping 45.1 percent of the market share, or more than 714 admissions. This is the first time in months that a Hollywood import has had a promising opening weekend in a market heavily dominated by homespun fare.

The film grossed $7.1 million (7.6 billion won) on 636 screens, 34 percent ahead of the opening for Life of Pi, with its 3D version representing 50 percent of the box office. 

The sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock was followed by four Korean films. Coming in second was Hwayi, a noir drama that had a successful debut the previous weekend despite being rated 19 and over, and which has since attracted 1.9 million admissions.

In third place was Hope, a drama about child sexual abuse that had successful sales at the Asian Film Market (2.28 million admissions so far). Next up were Fasten Your Seatbelt, a comedy that marks the directorial debut of popular actor Ha Jung-woo (182,546 admissions total), and Queen of Night (171,726 admissions).

The Face Reader, a period epic starring Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer) and other A-listers, remains strong through its sixth week in theaters. It is the third-highest-grossing film released in the country this year, with more than 9.1 million admissions so far.

Though Now You See Me briefly took the No. 1 spot in the box office Aug. 30-Sept. 1, a string of successful homegrown films have long dominated the Korean box office. Eight of 10 top grossing films this year so far are Korean; Iron Man 3 and World War Z are in third and 10th place, respectively.

Local films also sold 100 million tickets at the box office for the second year running as of Oct. 5, according to the Korean Film Council.