'The Tower' Rises Up at South Korean Box Office Over Christmas

The local fire disaster flick draws half-million viewers in just two days at home ahead of its U.S. release.

The Tower is drawing South Korean moviegoers at a towering speed, bringing in over half-a-million viewers in just two days during Christmas break.

According to the Korean Film Council, the homegrown fire disaster movie topped the box office as it swept a quarter of ticket sales on Christmas Day alone, hauling 431,759 admissions across 597 theaters. The film has sold 688,132 tickets as of Thursday.

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The Tower’s distributor, CJ Entertainment, emphasized that the movie's opening score of over 120,000 breaks the year’s record among midnight premieres, including that for The Avengers (78,327 admissions).

The box officec figure is particularly significant considering how The Avengers had a late-night opening across 653 theaters, which is almost twice as many as the 322 theaters that showed The Tower,” said CJ Entertainment. “We expect high ticket sales for The Tower to continue throughout the year-end and the New Year.”

Directed by Kim Ji-hoon, The Tower shows how a romantic Christmas Eve party at a glossy high-rise building turns into a nightmare when fire breaks out. The film is due to hit U.S. theaters on Jan. 11.

Meanwhile, Les Miserables also fared well at the holiday box office, coming in second. The musical brought in two million viewers in just a week in Korean theaters. Observers say this is not surprising in a country where musicals are a major form of entertainment and where Hugh Jackman is such a big star he was chosen as honorary ambassador for Seoul City.

The local romance Love 911 came in third, hitting one million admissions in a week since its premiere. In fourth was the latest installment of the homespun gangster comedy series Return of Mafia and in fifth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

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