Korean fare takes big bite out of H’wood

Local pix dominated box office

PUSAN — Local films soared to a new high in Korea while Hollywood films sank to a new low during September.

According to a report by exhib chain CGV, Korean pics amassed a record 82.7% market share in the month, powered by a string of chart-toppers including CJ Entertainment’s “Between Love and Hate,” Prime Entertainment’s “Maundy Thursday,” Showbox’s “Marrying the Mafia 3,” and CJ’s “Tazza: The High Rollers.”

Figure topped the previous high of an 81.8% share set in February 2004 after the release of “Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War.”

Meanwhile, six Hollywood pics in release, including “The Sentinel,” “Flight 93” and “The Lake House” — a remake of the Korean drama “Il Mare” — limped to a 5.4% market share, a new low. In the year to August, U.S. films had accounted for 39% of admissions.

Surprisingly, even Japanese pics outperformed Hollywood in Korea in September with a 7.3% market share, powered by disaster pic “The Sinking of Japan” and an unusually strong arthouse perf by Miwa Nishikawa’s “Sway.”

Total admissions for the month were down 22.6% on the previous year.

‘Trade’ tops in Japan

In Japan, “World Trade Center” started strong, topping the Japanese box office following its Oct. 8 bow.

In its first two days, the Oliver Stone film grossed 400 million yen ($3.34 million) on nearly 350 screens, beating hit domestic weeper “Namida Soso.”

The B.O. forecast for “World Trade Center” is between 1.5 ($12.5 million) and 2 billion ($16.7 million) yen.

Another recent UIP release with a similar impact — and B.O. results — was “United 93.” Released on 200 screens, “United 93” earned 900 million yen ($7.5 million).

Hong Kong biz

In Hong Kong, “The Departed,” Hollywood’s take on local hit “Infernal Affairs,” opened moderately.

The Martin Scorsese gangster pic brought in $497,547 on 38 screens over three days on its opening weekend.

It followed laugher “Rob-B-Hood” starring Jackie Chan, which has dominated the box office since it opened Sept. 29.

“Rob-B-Hood’s” cumulative box office as of Sunday for 10 days was almost $2.2 million in Hong Kong and more than $6.3 million in China.

Media Asia, shingle that produced “Infernal Affairs,” didn’t have figures for “Departed” in Taiwan due to a long public holiday. China preem also hasn’t yet been set.

(Mark Schilling and Vicki Rothrock contributed to this report.)

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