A paragraph about Merciless director Byun Sung-hyun’s social media mishap and its effect on the film’s box office has been added.
Note: US$ rate is based on exchange rate at time of writing
Despite opening with moderate expectations, Get Out emerged as the surprise winner of the South Korea box office last weekend.
The Hollywood horror thriller initially opened on 531 screens on Wednesday, earning ₩703 million (US$629,000) from 92,100 admissions – only 3,150 admissions less than CJ Entertainment’s The Merciless (불한당: 나쁜 놈들의 세상).
Cinemas began allocating additional screenings for the film as the weekend progressed, and it remained at the number one spot for the rest of the weekend, earning ₩8.34 billion (US$7.47 million) from 1.003 million admissions over five days, making it the best debut for a horror film this year. The film accounted for 39% of total box office revenue between Friday and Sunday.
The Merciless opened in second place, earning ₩4.61 billion (US$4.12 million) from 563,000 admissions over its first five days on release, excluding early screenings. The Byun Sung-hyun crime drama, about a rookie cop who goes into prison to capture a gangster who rules over the inmates, will have its international premiere in Cannes as a midnight screening on the 24th.
However, Byun’s Cannes attendance is now in doubt after controversial remarks that he made on his Twitter came to light last Thursday. According to the Korea Herald, Byun complained on Twitter that he could not promote his film due to the presidential by-election on May 9th. He also made sexist remarks such as, “No woman with a big butt has a bad personality.” Byun has since deleted those tweets, replacing it with an extended apology explaining that he thought his Twitter was his personal space. The tweets reportedly played a significant role in the film’s declining box office performance over the weekend.
CJ Entertainment told media on Monday that Byun’s attendance at the festival is “still under discussion”.
The Merciless co-stars Sol Kyung-gu and boy band member Im Si-wan (A Melody to Remember 오빠 생각, The Attorney 변호인).
In 2012, Byun’s raunchy romantic comedy Whacha Wearin’ (나의 P.S. 파트너) earned ₩8.28 billion (US$7.41 million) from 1.1 million admissions.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opened in third place, earning ₩2.23 billion (US$1.99 million) from only 272,000 admissions over its first five days on release, excluding early screenings last weekend. However, it has already surpassed the total South Korean gross of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (₩846 million (US$758,000) from 108,000 admissions).
Suffering a week-on-week drop of 74.6%, Alien: Covenant dropped to fifth place, earning ₩1.14 billion (US$1.02 million) from 134,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday. The sci-fi horror film has made ₩10.3 billion (US$9.19 million) from 1.24 million admissions.
The Boss Baby suffered the lowest week-on-week drop in the top ten – 44.8% – earning ₩1.54 billion (US$1.38 million) from 194,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday. The Dreamworks Animation film has made ₩17.1 billion (US$15.3 million) from 2.21 million admissions.
The Sheriff in Town (보안관) has made ₩20.3 billion (US$18.2 million) from 2.51 million admissions. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has made ₩22.9 billion (US$20.5 million) from 2.66 million admissions.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and local documentary Our President (노무현입니다) open this weekend.