South Korean cinema audiences turned out to see “The Batman” but little else over the weekend. That activity put “The Batman” firmly on top of the weekend box office chart, but it left overall business at deeply depressed levels.
“The Batman” earned $2.01 million between Friday and Sunday according to data from the Kobis data service operated by the Koran Film Council (Kofic). Over its full five-day opening period since Wednesday the film earned $4.24 million. That included the year’s biggest opening day (Wednesday) when the film sold over 190,000 tickets.
Over the weekend proper “The Batman” enjoyed a 67% market share, which points to a nationwide weekend aggregate of just $3.02 million, one of the slowest weekends of 2022.
The cinema business in Korea continues to be held back by extreme caution in response to high coronavirus infections, strong competition from streaming video and a dearth of local films arriving in cinemas. On Monday, Korea reported over 200,000 new COVID infections for the fourth consecutive day, as the omicron variant propels a massive surge in case numbers.
Fractionally better than the first two months of 2021, January and February this year show a weakening trend as the effect of December-released smash hit “Spider-Man: No Way Home” waned and the Lunar New Year holidays failed to provide more than a few days of stimulus.
Aggregate nationwide revenue in February 2022 of KRW30.9 billion or $24.7 million (KRW23 billion in February 2021) showed a steep drop compared with January’s KRW55.6 billion ($44.5 million).
Even well-regarded films are not able to hold strongly. “Uncharted,” which topped the chart on the previous two weekends, endured a precipitous drop of 74% between its second and third weekends. Over the latest session, “Uncharted” earned just $298,000 for third place lifting it to a 19-day cumulative of $5.49 million.
Second place over the latest weekend was “Jujutsu Kaisen: Zero,” the Japanese hit which enjoyed more than two months as number one in its home market. In Korea, it earned $298,000 for $3.00 million after 18 days.
Aside from “The Batman” no other new release title penetrated the Korean top ten over the latest weekend.
“Antebellum” earned $84,500 in fourth place for a $640,000 cumulative after 12 days. The weekend’s top Korean film was “Serve the People,” which took $55,000 for a $513,000 cumulative after 12 days.
“Spider-Man” remained in top ten. It added $35,000 for sixth place and extended its cumulative since Dec. 15, 2021, to $61.3 million. “Nightmare Alley” earned $37,700 in seventh place for a 12-day total of $273,000.
Korean-made franchise film, “The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure” earned $15,000 over the weekend for a cumulative of $10.2 million since its Jan. 26 release.
“Octonauts: Octonauts and the Caves of Sac Actun” earned $14,100 in ninth place for a three-weekend total of 156,000. Korean political thriller “Kingmaker” took $14,000 for a $5.99 million total earned over seven weekends.
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