In a triumphant display of its cinematic prowess, the locally-produced fantasy drama “Sleep” has once again reigned supreme at the Korean box office, securing the top spot for the third consecutive weekend. However, the overall box office landscape appeared to be in a state of slumber as it awaited the arrival of major releases timed perfectly for the upcoming Chuseok holiday season.
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According to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council, “Sleep” garnered a commendable $1.06 million in revenue between Friday and Sunday. This impressive haul accounted for a significant 27.5% market share. With 19 days of theatrical presence, the film’s cumulative earnings have now reached an impressive $9.50 million.
The sustained dominance of “Sleep” atop the box office charts can be attributed to a combination of low-powered competition and a month-long decline in cinema attendance. In fact, the nationwide box office aggregate for the latest weekend was a meager $3.85 million, marking it as the quietest box office weekend of 2023.
Coming in at second place was the Korean comedy drama “Marrying the Mafia Returns,” which was released on Thursday. Over its inaugural four days in theaters, it managed to amass $684,000 in total earnings, with a substantial $523,000 generated over the weekend.
Hollywood’s import, “Gran Turismo,” revved its engines rather slowly. Premiering on Wednesday, the film earned $585,000 during its opening five days, with a weekend tally of $413,000.
“Oppenheimer,” a standout release during the weakening August-September period, held firmly to fourth place with $258,000 in revenue during its sixth weekend in theaters. The film’s cumulative earnings now stand at an impressive $25.3 million, securing the tenth-best score of the year to date.
In its second weekend, “A Haunting in Venice” accumulated $215,000 in earnings. Since its release on September 13, the film has now collected a total of $1.41 million.
The French animation title “Epic Tails,” also known as “Argonuts,” hit theaters on Thursday and earned $191,000 over the weekend, with a total of $264,000 over its first four days.
Meanwhile, the Korean-produced “Honeysweet” added $121,000 to its coffers over the weekend, extending its cumulative earnings since August 15 to a commendable $9.99 million.
Japanese animation, “The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes,” earned $110,000 for a cumulative total of $478,000 after two weekends of release.
“Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman,” which is currently in previews ahead of its Wednesday release, sneaked into the ninth place with $98,000 from just 16 screens. Its pre-release total now stands at $145,000.
The disaster action film “Concrete Utopia,” also representing Korea’s Oscar aspirations, earned $85,000 over the weekend. Since its release on August 9, the film has garnered a total of $28.0 million.
Expectations are running high for the Korean box office in the coming two weeks as it gears up to take full advantage of the multi-day and extended Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok. “Dr. Cheon” is expected to expand its reach and, in terms of pre-sales, looks poised to emerge as the winner.
However, formidable competition is on the horizon. Patriotic period sports drama “Boston 1947,” directed by the hit-maker Kang Je-gyu, is set to make a grand entrance. Also, “Cobweb,” a film set in the 1980s within a film, directed by Kim Jee-woon, promises to captivate audiences. Furthermore, the imported horror title “The Nun II” is expected to send shivers down the spines of moviegoers.
The following week will witness the release of the Korean rom-com “30 Days” and the AI action adventure film “The Creator,” directed by Gareth Edwards. As the Chuseok holiday season approaches, Korean cinema enthusiasts can anticipate an exciting lineup of releases to keep them entertained.