Next Entertainment World (NEW) has topped South Korea’s weekend box office with debut director Huh Jung’s horror thriller Hide And Seek.

Released Aug 14, the film has quickly clocked up more than 2 million admissions and $13.5m.

Starring Son Hyun-ju (Secretly Greatly), Chun Mi-sun (Memories Of Murder) and Moon Jung-hee (Deranged), the film features two fathers trying to protect their families from mysterious apartment complex squatters.

Without the kind of conglomerate backing that investor/distributors like CJ E&M or Lotte Entertainment have, the comparatively younger and smaller N.E.W. has been attracting industry attention with recent mid-sized budget hits out of left field such as Hide And Seek as well as Miracle In Cell No. 7, Cold Eyes and New World.

Released the same day, Kim Sung-su’s airborne virus thriller The Flu took second place with 1.85 million admissions and $11.75m.

The film’s post-production ran over past its originally scheduled June release date and, faced with a box office calendar packed with rivals such as Snowpiercer and The Terror Live, the film’s production company i Love Cinema announced less than 10 days ahead of its release that it was going to distribute the film itself. They deemed the film’s original distributor CJ too busy with Snowpiercer.

After fully financing the $40m budget of Bong Joon Ho’s first English-language thriller, CJ did see Snowpiercer this weekend go over the 8 million admissions mark to pick up an accumulated $52.5m. The film, starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt, was released July 31 and this past weekend slipped from the second to third slot.

Also released July 31, Lotte Entertainment’s The Terror Live took thefourth spot this weekend and has so far clocked up 5 million admissions and $32.2m. Starring Ha Jung-woo as a radio show host with a call-in terrorist blowing up Seoul landmarks, the film originally was part of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan)’s 2009 It Project market. It played that same fest last month as the closing film.