‘Partner’ draws buzz in Korea

'Benjamin' tops country's box office

SEOUL — “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” topped the Korean box office chart with $2 million from 462,000 admissions. But a small documentary, “Old Partner,” has been drawing all the attention.

After being introduced to the U.S. audiences at the World documentary section of the Sundance Film Festival last month, “Old Partner” has been credited as the biggest hit indie documentary in the Korean film history.

Last weekend, pic ranked at No. 4 with $1.2 million from 268,000 admissions on 217 screens handled by Indiestory.

Only a total of $142,000 budget has been put into the production and distribution of the documentary. But the story of a crippled farmer and an old cow that has lived with him for over 30 years has been collecting more and more audiences.

Opened only on seven screens on Jan. 15, pic has grossed more than $3.1 million from 700,000 admissions for five weeks, being gradually expanded screenings nationwide due to good words of mouth.

On Sunday, it heated local media that even President Lee Myung-bak visited an arthouse theater in Seoul to watch the film and had lunch with the filmmakers.  

Meanwhile, “The Scam,” a local heist movie about stock price manipulation debuted at No. 2 with $1.9 million from 450,000 weekend admissions on 484 screens for distributor Showbox, responding to the current economic recession in South Korea.

Helmer Ken Kwapis’ “He’s Just Not That Into You” opened at No. 3, grossing $1.7 million from 377,000 admissions on 450 screens handled by distributor NEW.

After dominating the chart last week, CJ Entertainment’s actioner “Marine Boy” stepped down to No.5 in its second weekend, cuming $3.3m from 745,000 admissions.

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