A local film took the top spot of the South Korea box office for the first time in two months as Lee Joon-ik’s Anarchist From Colony (박열) opens in first place.
Accounting for 48.9% of box office revenue over the weekend, the biographical drama earned ₩9.11 billion (US$7.96 million) from 1.18 million admissions over its first five days on release. It is the first local film to top the box office since The Mayor (특별시민) debuted in first place in late April.
Distributed by Megabox, the film is about the love story between colonial-era anarchist Park Yeol and his rebellious Japanese lover Fumiko Kaneko. Lee Je-hoon and Choi Hee-seo co-star as Park and Kaneko, respectively. The film is Lee’s second consecutive work to explore South Korea’s colonial-era following black-and-white biographical drama Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (동주).
Crime actioner Real (리얼) was dead on arrival in third place, earning only ₩2.69 billion (US$2.35 million) from 373,000 admissions over its first five days on release. Distributed by CJ Entertainment, the Lee Jung-sub film is heartthrob Kim Soo-hyun’s first film starring role since Secretly Greatly (은밀하게 위대하게). He stars as a criminal world fixer whose life changes when he is approached by an investigative reporter.
Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (옥자) opened in fourth place, earning a solid, though unspectacular ₩809 million (US$706,000) from 106,000 admissions on about 100 screens over its first four days on release. The Netflix production has the highest per-screen average and admissions per screening average in the top ten.
Distributed locally by Next Entertainment World, Okja was only able to secure screenings from independent cinemas because of a boycott from the country’s three major cinema chains (CGV, Lotte, Megabox) over Netflix’s insistence on a simultaneous theatrical and global streaming release. The film was also released in a limited number of American cinemas, but Netflix has said that it will not release box office figures there.
In comparison, Bong’s previous film, Snowpiercer (설국열차), opened on 936 screens in South Korea in 2013.
American coming-of-age dramedy Edge of Seventeen opened in seventh place, earning ₩309 million (US$270,000) from 38,900 admissions over its first five days on release.
Transformers: The Last Knight took a steep week-on-week drop of 72.1% in its second weekend, earning ₩3.03 billion (US$2.64 million) from 356,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday for second place. The Michael Bay film has made ₩20 billion (US$17.4 million) from 2.42 million admissions after two weekends.
Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Day After (그 후) open this weekend.