The Korea Herald


Only six Korean films score 1m admissions in first half of 2024

By Kim Da-sol

Published : June 25, 2024 - 16:43

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“Exhuma” and “The Roundup: Punishment” (NEW, ABO Entertainment) “Exhuma” and “The Roundup: Punishment” (NEW, ABO Entertainment)

Despite the success of blockbuster films “Exhuma” and “The Roundup: Punishment” in the first half of this year, the majority of Korean films have struggled, with only six managing to surpass 1 million in admissions.

According to Korean Film Council data, six films -- "Exhuma,” “The Roundup: Punishment,” “The Birth of Korea,” “Citizen of a Kind,” “Following” and “Alienoid: Return to the Future” -- had attracted over 1 million moviegoers.

A total of 55 Korean films have been released in the first six months of the year.

Only four – “Exhuma” (11.9 million admissions) “The Roundup: Punishment” (11.4 million admissions), “The Birth of Korea” (1.1 million admissions) and “Picnic” (350,000 admissions) – have managed to at least break even.

“Alienoid: Return to the Future” (CJ ENM) “Alienoid: Return to the Future” (CJ ENM)

Star-studded casts have not been of great help in getting audiences into cinema seats.

“Alienoid: Return to the Future,” released in January, starred Kim Tae-ri, Ryu Joon-yeol and Kim Woo-bin. Its breakeven point was at around 7 million tickets sold. But the movie left theaters at just some 1 million sold.

Director Kim Tae-yong’s “Wonderland,” which features Tang Wei, Suzy, Park Bo-gum, Jung Yu-mi, Choi Woo-sik and Gong Yoo, has only attracted sold 610,000 tickets since opening June 5. The movie needs 2.9 million to break even.

Son Suk-ku’s “Troll Factory” saw 970,000 admissions, while its breakeven point was about double that, at 1.9 million. Gang Dong-won’s latest crime action flick, “The Plot” only filled some 520,000 seats, far short of breaking even at 2 million.

Such lackluster performance by the much-anticipated films contrasts with foreign films that have been doing slightly better in local cinemas.

“Wonka” and “Dune: Part 2” attracted some 3.5 million and 2 million admissions, respectively. Currently leading the local box office is Pixar’s new animated film “Inside Out 2,” which has already seen some 5 million admissions in about two weeks since the June 12 release.

Highly anticipated films in second half of 2024

For the high season at cinemas from late June to August, more blockbusters and lighthearted comedies are in store.

First in line is comedy action flick “Handsome Guys,” starring Lee Sung-min and Lee Hee-jun as two friends dreaming of a peaceful suburban life. The movie opens this week.

Action blockbuster “Project Silence,” a posthumous work from Lee Sun-kyun, opens on July 12. The movie was invited to last year's Cannes Film Festival in the Midnight Screening section.

“Pilot” (Lotte Entertainment) “Pilot” (Lotte Entertainment)

Jo Jung-suk returns to the silver screen after five years with “Pilot,” a lighthearted comedy, opening July 31. Jo plays Jung-woo, a retired pilot who disguises himself as a woman to get reemployed.

In August, more midsized films such as Hyeri’s “Victory,” Jo Jung-suk and Lee Sun-kyun’s “The Land of Happiness,” Go Ah-sung’s “Because I Hate Korea” and Jeon Do-yeon’s “Revolver, ” are scheduled to open.

Meanwhile, potential blockbusters “Veteran 2,” a sequel to the 2015 smash hit that sold 13.4 million tickets, and “Harbin,” featuring Hyun Bin as Korean independence activist An Jung-geun, are slated for release in September and December, respectively.