South Korean Box Office: 'Exodus' Debuts in First, 'Interstellar' Becomes Third Best Foreign Film Ever

Interstellar Still 1 - H 2014
Melinda Sue Gordon

Interstellar Still 1 - H 2014

Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic is nearing the 10-million admissions milestone

Interstellar now trails only Avatar and Frozen as the third most successful foreign film of all time in South Korea.

The film may have ceded first place to Exodus: Gods and Kings (Twentieth Century Fox Korea) over the weekend of Dec. 5-7, but Interstellar's phenomenal popularity doesn't seem to be dying down.

The Christopher Nolan space drama has so far drawn over 9.1 million admissions, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database, nearing the 10-million milestone. Korean offices primarily use admissions to measure box-office performance, and only 10 titles have reached 10 million. Interstellar has become the 13th most successful film of all time and the third among imports, after Avatar (13.3 million admissions) and Frozen (10.3 million admissions).

In financial terms, the film now ranks as the 10th highest-grossing film ever, with a cume of $72.8 million. It is also the most successful Warner Bros. film and Hollywood 2D title in South Korea.

The phenomenal success of Interstellar in South Korea — which has even seen the emergence of scalpers at key Seoul theaters as it topped the Korean box office for four straight weeks — has led to a historical low for local fare. According to a monthly box-office report released on Monday by the Korean Film Council, the market share of Korean films fell to 21.4 percent during the month of November. Korean films earned about $25 million less compared to November 2013, while imports earned $43 million more.

Read more Global Box Office: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' Delivers $23 Million in Early Foreign Launch

Hollywood titles are expected to continue doing well in this market usually dominated by Korean films. Exodus: Gods and Kings took 34.4 percent of the weekend share with $6.2 million, marking the most successful opening to date for Ridley Scott. Fury also remained among the top titles, finishing fourth with a cume of $8.5 million.

Meanwhile the star-studded Korean actioner Big Match (Next Entertainment World) stepped down to third place, nearing 1 million admissions with a rough total of $7 million, while My Love, Don't Cross That River (CGV Movie Collage) rose up to fifth from last week's sixth place. The local indie documentary about an old married couple who has been very much in love for 76 years is proving to be a sleeper hit with over 240,000 admissions — an impressive score because the 10,000 admissions mark is considered a blockbuster performance for indie titles here.