South Korea's mid-summer season is proving to be quite competitive at the box-office, with four local pictures and two Hollywood films waging an intense competition for screens and viewers.
Korean feature Singles currently sits atop the Seoul charts in its second week, having drawn 95,000 admissions over the two-day weekend on 49 screens, making for a healthy $10,000 screen average. The comic drama about late-twenties romance, based on a popular Japanese TV series, has drawn female viewers in force and earned $7.4m in its first 10 days. It also marks the second hit in a row for local distributor Big Blue Films, which has earned $16m to date on horror title A Tale Of Two Sisters.
Meanwhile Mutt Boy, the fifth film by director K.T. Kwak (who holds the local box-office record for 2001 hit Friend), opened strong in second position with 90,000 admissions on 39 prints for a screen average of $11,900. Far more popular among male viewers, this story of a small-town gangster has racked up $3.4m in its first five days. Mutt Boy is the first release for new distributor Show East, and is sold internationally by Cineclick Asia.
The highest screen average of the week belongs to Bruce Almighty, which spent its second week in third place earning an average $12,800 on its 30 prints for BVI. Animated feature Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas also continues a strong run in fourth place with a $9,200 screen average in its second week.
Two big-budget local features round out the top six, with swordplay epic Sword In The Moon earning an impressive screen average of $11,500 on a mere 22 prints. Although likely to earn back very little of its $6m budget, the film has proven more popular than expected with male viewers after being panned by critics.
The even more expensive animated feature Wonderful Days managed to secure only 28 screens in Seoul on its debut weekend, ultimately drawing 47,000 admissions and a $8,600 screen average. Although this vaults the film over a low bar to become the strongest opening local animated film ever, the visually groundbreaking work was expected to do better, and will have to rely on international sales to avoid steep losses.
Next week marks the debut of Terminator 3 for distributor Cinema Service. With reserved tickets selling at a furious rate (though less than that of The Matrix: Reloaded earlier this year), the film is expected to post massive numbers.