South Korea Box Office: 'Transformers 4' Narrowly Beats Local Action Movie

"The Divine Move"

The star-studded South Korean action film "The Divine Move" grossed an impressive $7.66 million, just behind the Michael Bay blockbuster's $8.05 million.

SEOUL — Transformers: Age of Extinction topped the South Korean box office for the second consecutive week from July 4-6, but it was a close match against the star-studded local actioner The Divine Move.

Divine scored the most successful opening weekend for a South Korean film this year, grossing over 1.18 million admissions in just four days since opening on July 3. For the first three days of its release it topped Transformers 4, but the latter ultimately won the race — though with a difference of only some 35,000 admissions. The Michael Bay franchise recorded 960,618 admissions ($8.05 million), while Divine trailed closely behind at 925,672 admissions ($7.66 million).

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Korean offices use admissions as their primary measure, and Transformers 4 is cashing in its diverse format offerings here, including the more expensive IMAX, 3D and 4DX versions. Meanwhile Divine is fast selling tickets — topping Transformers 4 for advance ticket sales — in spite of being rated for audiences aged 19 and over. The rate is comparable to that of some of the highest grossing titles in Korean cinema history such as The Attorney.

Divine was followed by local horror flick Mourning Grave, Edge of Tomorrow and Korean crime action film A Hard Day, which ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively in the box office.

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Divine, starring a host of household names including the regionally popular Jung Woo Sung and veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, is about a professional "baduk" (Korean chess or "go") player infiltrating the local underground gambling scene to avenge his brother's death.

Director Jo Bum-gu said that the film's success may lead to launching a franchise, particularly since the open-ended finale strongly hints at the possibility of a sequel, and Jung expressed avid interest in taking part should one be made. Last year, Cold Eyes, also starring Jung, became one of the year's highest grossing films in spite of competition against successful imports such as World War Z and RED: The Legend. Divine is distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex.