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Pixar's animated film 'Soul' first to top 1m admissions in S. Korea this year amid pandemic

This photo provided by Walt Disney Company Korea shows a scene from
This photo provided by Walt Disney Company Korea shows a scene from "Soul." (Walt Disney Company Korea)
"Soul," the latest animated film by Disney-Pixar, has become the first movie to top 1 million admissions here this year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, box office data showed Friday.

The fantasy comedy drama attracted over 30,000 viewers Thursday, surpassing the 1 million mark 15 days after its release on Jan. 20, according to the data compiled by the Korean Film Council.

The movie has stayed at the top spot on the South Korean box office for more than two weeks except for two days, jazzing up theaters that have been nearly empty due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in the winter.

Amid a monthslong drought of new releases and social distancing measures that mandated a one-seat-apart rule in cinemas, the country saw an all-time low of 10,000 daily admissions last month.

Only four films have managed to reach the 1 million threshold in South Korea since the country was gripped by the second wave of the coronavirus in mid-August. Those include Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" and three homegrown movies -- "Pawn," "Samjin Company English Class" and "Collectors."

Directed by Pete Docter, "Soul" is a story about Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher who finds out he has fallen into the afterlife, called the Great Beyond, on the day his dream to be a jazz pianist was to come true. He travels to Earth with a cynical soul and remembers that life itself is a blessing.

Meanwhile, Japanese animated film "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train," released on Jan. 27, came in second with 27,000 moviegoers on Thursday for a total of 307,000.

Action movie "Honest Thief," starring Liam Neeson, and the family comedy "The Farewell," featuring Asian American actress Awkwafina, have gathered a cumulative 20,300 and 3,330 admissions, respectively, since they hit South Korean screens earlier this week. (Yonhap)