Note: US$ amount follows exchange rate at time of writing
Despite a strong opening, The Prison (프리즌) failed to stop the power of Disney at the South Korea box office.
With a market share of 38.8% over the weekend, the Showbox release earned ₩10.4 billion (US$9.31 million) from 1.24 million admissions over its first four days on release – including ₩8.25 billion (US$7.41 million) from 967,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday.
The directorial debut of screenwriter Na Hyun, The Prison marks the best opening for star Han Suk-kyu since 2013’s The Berlin File (베를린), which opened with ₩12.4 billion (US$11.1 million) from 1.69 million admissions over four days for a total of ₩52.2 billion (US$47 million) from 7.17 million admissions. Co-starring Kim Rae-won, The Prison is about an undercover cop who infiltrates a prison to investigate crimes committed by a kingpin among the inmates.
Taking a small 27% week-on-week drop, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast earned an additional ₩8.7 billion (US$) from 1.03 million admissions between Friday and Sunday. The fantasy romance has now made ₩25.9 billion (US$23.3 million) from 3.1 million admissions after two weekends and has already made five times the South Korean gross of Disney’s Cinderella in 2014.
Indie drama Ordinary Person (보통 사람) opened in third place, earning ₩2.3 billion (US$1.82 million) from 255,000 admissions over four days. Distributed by Opus Pictures, which recently scored a hit with New Trial (재심), the Kim Bong-han film stars Son Hyon-joo as a police detective caught in a conspiracy by an intelligence officer (played by Jang Hyun) in 1987 South Korea.
Opening on only 128 screens, Hong Sang-soo’s On the Beach at Night Alone (밤의 해변에서 혼자) managed an eighth-place opening, earning ₩162 million (US$145,000) from 20,100 admissions over four days. This marks Hong’s best opening weekend since 2006’s Woman on the Beach (해변의 여인), which opened with ₩646 million (US$581,000) from 101,000 admissions over four days.
In addition to winning the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale, On the Beach… has been in the spotlight due to the affair between Hong and star Kim Min-hee. Earlier this month, the pair, whose extramarital affair was revealed by the media last summer, appeared at a press event – their first public appearance together in South Korea since the scandal broke out – where they admitted their relationship.
In 2015, Hong’s Right Now, Wrong Then (지금은맞고그때는틀리다) – also starring Kim – opened with ₩156 million (US$140,000) from 18.500 admissions over four days for a total of ₩664 million (US$597,000) from 80,700 admissions. However, that film opened on only 59 screens with a better per-screen average.
Opening on 448 screens, Hidden Figures earned ₩1.15 billion (US$1.03 million) from 139,000 admissions over its first four days on release.
Ghost in the Shell and local caper One-Line (원라인) open this weekend.