South Korean Box Office: Keira Knightley's 'Begin Again' Rises

Begin Again Still - P 2014

Koreans love a good music drama, boosting the John Carney film in its sixth week of release

South Korean action film Tazza 2 reigned atop the country's box office for the second consecutive weekend, while Begin Again climbed to the second spot for the Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 period.

Tazza 2, the sequel to a popular 2008 Korean gambling film, continued its box-office success from the previous holiday weekend, during which it scored 2 million admissions. The Lotte Entertainment film accounted for 26.8 percent of tickets sold over the latest weekend and has so far garnered 3.1 million admissions and box-office revenue of $24.2 million, according to data from the Korean Film Council. Korea primarily uses admissions for box-office rankings.

Begin Again came in second for the weekend after ranking in the top 10 during the five weeks since opening on Aug. 13 via Pancinema. This makes the music drama starring Keira Knightley one of the year's most popular "diversity films," a Korean phrase used to describe nonblockbuster foreign titles as well as local/imported indie and art house movies.

Begin Again has so far drawn a total of 1.86 million admissions, and its success can be attributed in part to the success of Once, the previous film by director John Carney, which was favorably received when it opened in Korea in 2006. Once sold 230,000 tickets in a market where admissions of more than 10,000 are considered blockbuster performances for independent films. Musicals and music-heavy films are popular in Korea, which also helped Disney's Frozen earlier this year.

Into the Storm (Warner Brothers Korea) debuted in the third spot this weekend with 10.6 percent of market share and box-office revenue of $13.9 million. Lucy, starring Korean actor Choi Min-sik opposite Scarlett Johansson (distributed by UPI), dropped to fourth from last week's second place, followed by one of the year's most watched films, the local maritime action film The Pirates (Lotte Entertainment) in fifth.

CJ Entertainment's local blockbuster The Admiral: Roaring Currents (aka Roaring Currents) also continued to do well, finishing eighth in the box-office rankings with a total of 17.5 million admissions ($127.84 million).