South Korean Box Office: Local Film 'Ode to My Father' Tops Final 'Hobbit'

'Ode to My Father' - H 2014
Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

The modern historical family drama pulled in $11 million and is expected to continue to be a popular film over the holiday

South Korean drama Ode to My Father debuted at No. 1 at the local box office from Dec. 19-21, topping the latest Hobbit film.

The film, distributed by CJ Entertainment, took 34.8 percent of the weekend box office, earning an impressive $11 million. In terms of admissions, the primary measure for box-office performance used in Korea, it attracted 1.13 million viewers over the weekend, according to the Korean Film Council's KOBIS database.

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As of Tuesday, Ode to My Father, which debuted in theaters on Dec. 17, had earned a cumulative $12.4 million from more than 1.76 million viewers. On Monday alone, Ode to My Father earned $1.38 million, or 41.2 percent of the box-office revenue. It is expected to cross 2 million admissions in the days to come, particularly during Christmas break, when theater attendance generally goes up.

On Sunday, newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Mark Lippert made headlines for tweeting that he saw the film with the heads of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (a new joint military operation). Ode to My Father begins as the Korean War (1950-53) breaks out and features a U.S. army general helping locals in what is now a North Korean village flee to the southern port city of Busan, South Korea.

The film is directed by JK Youn — who also helmed the 2009 tsunami blockbuster Haeundae, a.k.a. Tidal Wave, one of Korea's top 10 grossing films of all time — and is a generational epic about making sacrifices for one's family as South Korea experiences rapid development from an aid-receiving country to an aid-giving one. Lost actress Yunjin Kim plays the role of a devoted wife.

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Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies debuted in second place with $7.72 million over the weekend. It has garnered a total of $10.32 million from 1.32 million admissions, according to KOBIS figures, which may differ from those of the distributor.

Homegrown film My Love, Don't Cross That River (CGV Movie Collage), which surprised everyone by climbing up to the top spot last week, fell back to third place. Nevertheless, the documentary about an elderly married couple has earned $17.84 million as of Tuesday and crossed 2 million admissions to become one of the year's most successful indie titles.

Interstellar continues to perform strongly, finishing fourth to bring its cumulative total to $72.14 million as of Tuesday. Pororo, The Snow Fairy Village Adventure (Ocon Studios), the theatrical version of the internationally popular Korean animated TV series for children, rose past Fox's Exodus: Gods and Kings to take fifth place. Total earnings are $690,000 for Pororo and $11.26 million for Exodus.