South Korea Box Office: Local War Drama 'Northern Limit Line' Topples 'Jurassic World'

Northern Limit Line Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Next Entertainment World

Northern Limit Line Still - H 2015

The maritime actioner about a bloody battle between North and South Korean patrol boats recorded the fastest opening admissions rate for homegrown films this year.

Northern Limit Line debuted at No. 1 in the South Korean box office from June 26-28, stopping Jurassic World from dominating the charts for another consecutive week.

Distributed by Next Entertainment World (NEW), Northern Limit Line dominated 40.4 percent of the weekend market share, earning a total $9.9 million, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBS database. The maritime actioner also recorded the year's top opening weekend admissions score for homegrown films. Korean industry observers primarily measure a film's performance in terms of ticket sales, and Northern hit 1 million admissions at 7 a.m. on Sunday for a cumulative 1.43 million as of Monday. This tops the biggest opening scores for Korean films including Gangnam Blues (1.13 million) and The Classified File (1.17 million).

The film chronicles the 2002 Battle of Yeonpyeong that broke out between North and South Korean patrol boats in the Yellow Sea, which left 6 dead and 19 injured for the South and about 30 casualties for the North. Though the event is one of the most significant armed confrontations between the two Koreas, it had been largely eclipsed by the World Cup Games that South Korea was co-hosting with Japan. Thursday marked the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, and may have pushed ticket sales. Northern also made headlines for amassing a third of the $6-million budget from crowdfunding by more than 7,000 individuals.

The rise of Northern pushed down Jurassic World to No. 2. The global box-office hit, distributed here by Universal Pictures International Korea, took 26 percent of the revenue during the weekend. It had topped the Korean ranks for the two previous week and has amassed about $35 million in total.

The Classified File, a crime drama handled by Showbox/Mediaplex, stepped down one spot to take third. The film, like Northern, is an historical nonfiction film based on a 1980s true missing child case that was solved using help from a shaman. It took 18.9 percent of the share that added to cumulative earnings of $15.4 million.

Next, in fourth was another Korean film that has been linked to real-life events, Minority Opinion, which took 5.1 percent of the share during its debut weekend. The Cinema Service title is about a father who murders a policeman when his young son is killed during a conflict between police and the tenants being driven out so that their slum neighborhood could be redeveloped. The drama is thought by many to have been inspired by what has become known as the 2009 Yongsan disaster, where five evictees and one officer died.

Last, in fifth was a second Universal title, Ted 2. The comedy sequel took 2.8 percent of the share during its first weekend in the Korean box office, cashing in a total of about $654,000.