Korea Box Office: Comatose Weekend Sees ‘Sleep’ Walk to Third Session Win

Locally-made fantasy drama “Sleep” headed the Korean box office charts for the third successive weekend. But theaters were comatose ahead of bigger new releases timed for the Chuseok holiday season.

“Sleep” earned just $1.06 million between Friday and Sunday, with a 27.5% market share, according to data from Kobis the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council. Its cumulative after 19 days in cinemas now stands at $9.50 million.

The film’s three weekends at the top of the chart have coincided with low power competition and a month-long decline in cinema attendance. The nationwide box office aggregate for the latest weekend was worth just $3.85 million. That was the quietest box office weekend of 2023.

Korean comedy drama “Marrying the Mafia Returns” released on Thursday and took second place. Over its opening four days it managed $684,000, with $523,000 of that over the weekend proper.

Hollywood import, “Gran Turismo” also revved slowly. It opened on Wednesday and earned $585,000 over its opening five days, with $413,000 between Friday and Sunday.

“Oppenheimer,” which had been one of the few standouts of a weakening August-September period, held on to fourth place with $258,000 in its sixth weekend of release. Its cumulative is now $25.3 million – the tenth best score of the year to date.

“A Haunting in Venice,” in its second weekend, earned $215,000. Since releasing on Sept. 13, it has accumulated $1.41 million.

French animation title “Epic Tails” (aka “Argonuts”) released on Thursday and earned $191,000 over the weekend, and $264,000 over its opening our days.

Korean-produced “Honeysweet” took $121,000 over the weekend, extending its cumulative since Aug. 15 to $9.99 million.

Japanese animation, “The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” took $110,000 for a cumulative of $478,000 after two weekends of release.

“Dr Cheon and the Lost Talisman,” doing previews ahead of a Wednesday release, sneaked into ninth place with $98,000 from just 16 screens. Its pre-release total now stands at $145,000.

“Concrete Utopia,” a disaster action film that is also Korea’s Oscar contender, took $85,000 over the weekend. Its cumulative since Aug. 9, is $28.0 million.

More firepower is expected to be brought to Korean cinemas over the next two weeks, aiming to take advantage of the multi-day and extended Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok) holidays. “Dr Cheon” will be opened wider and in terms of pre-sales looks to be the winner.

Competition will come from: patriotic period sports drama “Boston 1947,” from hit-making director Kang Je-gyu; “Cobweb” a 1980s-set film within a film from Kim Jee-woon; and imported horror title “The Nun II.”

The following week will see releases of Korean rom-com “30 Days” and Gareth Edwards AI action adventure film “The Creator.”

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