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Korean movies dominate box office

Market share of homegrown movies rises to nearly 80 percent over the weekend

Korea’s homegrown films are doing better than ever at the box office, with its market share rising to nearly 80 percent in the past weekend.

The top four movies at the box office from Aug. 26 to 27 were local films, according to the Korean Film Council.

The films are director Kim Hwi’s thriller “Neighbors”; Kim Joo-ho’s period comedy “The Grand Heist”; Choi Dong-Hun’s star-studded blockbuster “The Thieves”; and Kim Dong-won’s action drama “R2B: Return to Base.”
“Neighbors ” (Lotte Entertainment)
“Neighbors ” (Lotte Entertainment)
“The Thieves”(1st Look)
“The Thieves”(1st Look)

Korean films’ sweeping performance started off with “The Thieves,” which became the third best-selling Korean film of all time, beating 2002 drama “Taegukgi” as of Aug. 15. It drew more than 12,095,094 viewers as of Saturday, according the Korean Film Council data. It ranked third at the box office in the past weekend.

Kim Joo-ho’s period drama “The Grand Heist,” on the other hand, drew 4 million viewers in just 19 days after its release, becoming the seventh homegrown movie to achieve the feat so far this year.

Kim Hwi’s thriller “Neighbors,” which opened last week, drew 1 million viewers in the first five days after the release, topping the box office chart during the weekend.

The homegrown films’ market share rose to 77.2 percent during the past weekend, from 57.7 percent recorded last month. 
“The Grand Heist” (1st Look)
“The Grand Heist” (1st Look)

The market share of the local films hit 60.4 percent in 2006, with the box-office triumph of Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host.” The film, which drew 13,020,000 viewers, remains the bestselling locally made film of all time in Korea’s film history.

Local movies’ market share dropped to 42.1 percent in 2008, rose to 48.8 percent in 2009, and but dropped to 46.5 percent again in 2010.

Many small- to mid-scale local films drew a significant number of viewers ― each about 4 million ― in the first half of this year, including “Architecture 101,” “Dancing Queen,” “All About My Wife,” “Unbowed” and “Deranged.”

These movies, diverse in genre and style, contributed to the increase in the market share of the homegrown movies in the first half of the year, according to the Korean Film Council.

More highly anticipated Korean films are to be released soon. CJ Entertainment, one of the biggest film producers in Korea, is scheduled to release its highly anticipated period drama “Masquerade,” which stars mega hallyu star Lee Byung-hun, next month. Kim Ki-duk’s “Pieta,” competing at the Venice Film Festival, as well as Sin Jeong-won’s drama “Ghost Sweepers” starring Kim Su-ro and Lee Je-hoon, are also to be released next month.

By Claire Lee (