Seen in Jeonju

Archive for the 'Box Office' Category

Korean Box Office: March 23-25

26th March 2012


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Korean Box Office: March 16-19, 2012

19th March 2012


When I saw this weekend’s box office results, I expressed surprise that Helpless had remained in the first ranked position for the second week in a row. It’s not that it was a bad film, but I did not think he had that kind of staying power, let alone being able to take more than a third of the box office total after this week.  A friend with me snarkily replied “what else was there to watch?” but my remark was not meant to be cynical. I had hope that Gabi would have done better than it did. Instead, the film about the Coffee Pot Plot to murder King Gojong came in at a disappointing fourth place  behind Chronicle and John Carter. Nameless Gangster fell to ninth and will likely fall out of the top ten before reaching five million viewers, Love Fiction came in sixth and another Korean film, Architecture 101 was given a test release ahead of its official release date on March 22. A trailer of that movie and other new Korean releases, will be posted tomorrow.

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Korean Box Office: March 9-11

12th March 2012


With the start of the new semester and my new position at the university, I really hope I do not fall too far behind on posting.  This one is about seven hours later than I would have liked to have it up  But here it is.  Helpless did pretty well… I would say attendance was exceptional but it was enough to land the mystery in the number one spot.  Another new movie, John Carter, landed in second and the pair of these films pushed the former number one movie, Love Fiction, down to third.  With this weekend, Dancing Queen reached just over four million viewers but won’t get too many more as it drops out of the top ten, while Nameless Gangster still has a chance to reach five million.

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Korean Box Office: March 2-4

5th March 2012

Well, the new semester has started and my free time seems to have evaporated.  I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with my usual posting schedule, but it may be difficult, especially on Tuesday… but I think I will be able to handle it once I am in a routine.  Anyway, below we have this weeks box office which contains quite a few changes.


Love Fiction, a film starring Ha Jeong-woo and Kong Hyo-jin, bumped Nameless Gangster out of first and, because of the second place film This Means War, the former number one movie landed in third place though it may yet reach five million viewers before it fades from the box office charts. Even though it is in number 1, a close friend warned me away from Love Fiction saying that it starts out just fine for a romantic comedy but goes much too long. He mentioned that by the middle of the films 120+ minute running time he and his girlfriend were bored and many people in the theater had started taking out their phones and were texting. Romantic comedies are not usually films I am interested in anyway but I would have considered seeing it because of Ha Jeong-woo before I heard my friend’s review. I will save my pennies until later in the week when Helpless opens.  More on that and the other films opening in theaters this week in tomorrow’s post.

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Korean Box Office: February 24-26

27th February 2012

I finished this post several hours later than I usually do. That is because, for the last two days, I have been in Seoul for a live radio broadcast about this blog. It was the second time this winter. The first interview was about the articles in the Independent. The more recent one was about classic Korean films, particularly from the 1960s. But it is a long trip to Seoul and I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open while typing. I am just going to show the box office listings below with no further comments.

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Korean Box Office: Feb. 17-19

20th February 2012


It was a tough call as to which movie would take the highest rank in this weekend’s box office charts and the result, when looking at percentages, was a virtual tie. However, when counting tickets sold over the weekend, Howling managed to beat back the former number one movie, Nameless Gangster, taking over the top spot.  That was not the only percentage-war that took place this weekend. The fight for the number four and five spots was also very close with just 2,000 tickets sold separating the two films, the Icelandic animation Thor and the US film The Grey

I really have to wonder why it was decided that Ghost Rider 2 received so many screenings.  The first film did not do very well in Korea– did someone think the 3D gimmick would lure people into the theaters in droves?  It didn’t work. If you look at the MEQ (Met Expectation Quotient– I babbled on about MEQ last week in the box office report)– you see the Ghost Rider 2 fell well outside the standard deviation, earning a score of only 45.7.  Woman in Black did not fare much better with a score of 52.2 and Papa just missed the lowest range of what is acceptable with a score of 62.8. 

Tomorrow:  The movies opening for this coming weekend—

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Korean Box Office: February 10-12

13th February 2012


The upper regions of this past weekend’s box office doesn’t look too much different from the previous week with two exceptions. Dancing Queen and Unbowed once again swapped positions  with the latter falling to Number 3. The other difference is the appearance of an animation from Iceland that took over the fourth place spot. That was no doubt helped by the fact that Thor was dubbed into Korean for the young audience it was intended for.  Nameless Gangster stayed came in on top once again and now has gathered nearly 2.5 million viewers in just two weeks. 

There is another change though.. this one in the information I am reporting in the image above. For the past several years, I had been showing the number of screens any given movie was being shown on. However, the source of this data, KOFIC, is now providing the number of screenings a movie gets over any given period of time.  This makes a big difference. For example, if you were to look at the number of screens Dancing Queen was released on (427) and compare it to the number Unbowed had (378) you might easily draw the conclusion that Dancing Queen came in ahead of Unbowed because it was on more screens. But, from the information we have now, we can see that Unbowed was actually screened more times over the same three day period and thus must have had fewer people at each show.

How does a movie get more screens but less showings?  That is easy. Very often a film shares a screen. Movies for young viewers often show in the morning or afternoon hours but their screenings are reduced at night and replaced by movies that adults would prefer. Or films that are on their way out may get only one or two showings a day, and the remainder of the time the screen is used for more popular movies.

Using the new information, I worked out something I have been calling MEQ (Met Expectations Quotient)– calling it to myself anyway because I have not talked about it with anyone. First I divide the number of showings a film received by how much it made in a given period (weekend–NOT the total number since opening data I show above). This yields a very small number which I multiply by a thousand so I can work with it more easily. I take that result and subtract it from one hundred giving me MEQ.  The closer to 100, the better.  For example, Nameless Gangster had 9550 screenings and was seen by 830,027 people this weekend. Dividing the latter into the former and I get .011505 which I multiply by a thousand to move the decimal point to 11.505.  Subtracting this from 100 gives me a MEQ of 88.49 which is quite good.  In fact, going back and calculating all the MEQs since the beginning of the year, I find a mean of 77.9 and a standard deviation of 11.97 which I will call 78 and 12 for convenience.  Basically, any MEQ falling between 90 and 66 is acceptable, maybe not economically but statistically.  What does it mean– I mean besides the fact that I seem to have too much time on my hands… Higher than 90 means it could have been screened a few more times and still made money. Lower than 66 means some buyers over-estimated how popular a film would be and gave it too many showings.

Here are what the MEQs look like for this week…  Nameless Gangster- 88.49, Dancing Queen- 81.65, Unbowed- 77.26, Thor- 84.54, Tarbosaurus- 84.70, Papa- 67.57, Star Wars- 67.81, War Horse- 58.72, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy- 58.78, Happy Feet 2- 69.43

Since starting these calculations, the lowest MEQs I have seen was 42.1 on last week’s I Don’t Know How She Does It followed Neverending Story which in its second week of released only earned a 43.0.  The movie with the highest MEQ so far is Nameless Gangster. During its opening weekend last week it scored 90.23

I don’t know if I will continue posting these numbers as they really only show how well the buyers plan. I just find it fun to play with the numbers.

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Korean Box Office: Feb. 3-5

6th February 2012


This was a very good week for Korean films. The top five movies in the box office chart were all Korean movies.   The new film, Nameless Gangster, bumped everything down at least one place as it took the top spot away from UnbowedDancing Queen, Tarbosaurus and Papa filled out the top five.  After earning more that 7.5 million viewers, Mission Impossible dropped to number 10 and will probably drop out of the top ten list next week. 

One thing I like about the new KOFIC website is that it now shows the number of screenings a film has within a given time period which is actually more useful than just the number of screens.  I have been playing with those numbers a little and may have some interesting things to show later this week.

Tomorrow I will post the trailers for the new Korean movies and a list of the international films opening in Korean theaters this week.

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Korean Box Office: January 27-29

30th January 2012


Dancing Queen and Unbowed continue to jockey for position but this time there was a reversal and Unbowed wound up on top. Another Korean film came in a distant third. On its opening weekend, the animated Tarbosaurus had just over 360 thousand viewers and earns the distinction of being the only newly opened film appearing on the charts this week.

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Korean Box Office: January 20-22

22nd January 2012

Happy New Year! It is now the Year of the Dragon… The Water Dragon to be precise. Here are the characteristics of anyone born in this year: 

THE WATER DRAGON 1952 AND 2012: Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another


“New” would be the word to describe this weekend’s box office. There were a lot of new films that did quite well.. and will continue to do well for the next two days as the holiday runs through Tuesday. Taking the top is the political romantic comedy Dancing Queen. The former number one film, Puss In Boots, fell to number four in the face of so many new movies, landing behind Ahn Seong-gi’s Unbowed and the all-ages adventure film Lost World….. oh, wait a minute… I realized I just translated the movies title from Korean to English and wrote that in the above list (it translates as The Lost World). But a quick check just confirmed that the title is The Mysterious Island.  I will remember that for next week when I do the chart. Mission Impossible has been doing very well and now has over 7 million viewers.

 oh– I should give credit to wikikaiju (yes there is such a thing) and artist Matt Frank for the rendition of Manda the Water Dragon from the film Atragon (1963)

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