South Korea box office experienced a year-on-year drop of 22%, according to the latest numbers from the Korean Film Council.
Total box office for the month of September was ₩101.5 billion (US$88.9 million) from 12.7 million admissions, down from ₩130.2 billion (US$114 million) from 16.2 million admissions during the same period last year.
The most likely cause is that this year’s Chuseok holiday landed in October instead of September. Last year’s September box office revenue was boosted by the Chuseok holiday releases, led by Kim Jee-woon’s spy thriller Age of Shadows (밀정). The Warner Brothers Korea release alone earned ₩58.5 billion (US$51.2 million) from 7.16 million admissions, accounting for 44.9% of total box office for the month.
The market share of domestic films was also down from 71.5% in August to just 47.1% in September. August saw the box office dominated by three major domestic heavy hitters: A Taxi Driver (택시 운전사), Midnight Runners (청년경찰), and Battleship Island (군함도).
Showbox’s Memoir of a Murderer (살인자의 기억법) was the top film for the month, earning ₩20.9 billion (US$18.3 million) from 2.59 million admissions. The thriller accounted for 20.5% of total box office revenue.
With just four days on release, Kingsman: The Golden Circle was in second place, accounting for 13.3% of total revenue. Local comedy I Can Speak (아이 캔 스피크) was in third, The Hitman’s Bodyguard was in fourth, and Hollywood horror hit It was in fifth.
Total box office should get a healthy bounce in October, thanks to the robust performance of Kingsman, local war epic The Fortress (남한산성), and local action film The Outlaws (범죄도시) during the ten-day Chuseok holiday, as well as Blade Runner 2049 and local thriller RV: Resurrected Victims (희생부활자) coming out the weekend after.