‘Knight’ tops Korean box office

Film's cume is $23.3 million to date

SEOUL – “The Dark Knight” took top spot at the Korean box office – again – but it was other openers that grabbed the headlines.

“Knight” took weekend honors for the fourth consecutive frame — a first for foreign films released in Korea — adding a further 300,000 admissions or some $2 million from 503 screens. Having opened on Aug 7, the pic has now cumed $23.3 million from 3.7 million admissions to date.

Although they do not officially open until Thursday the preview sessions of two other movies were strong enough to make this weekend’s chart.

Distributor CJ Entertainment held paid-for previews for its historical epic “The Divine Weapon,” on 405 screens on only two days and scored $1.4 million from 230,000 admissions – enough to put it in second place. Industry observers now expect it to top the box office until the Chusok (Korean thanksgiving) holiday season (13-15 Sept.)

Also performing brightly was “Mamma Mia!,” which officially releases this coming weekend and is also targeting the holiday auds. Pic ranked at No. 3 with a $920,000 gross from 146,000 admissions during two days of previews on 272 screens.

Released at the same time as “Knight,” Pixar’s “WALL-E” held on in fourth place with 86,200 admissions or $540,000 and took its cume to $6.4 million. Behind it, local release “Death Bell” has been the summer’s surprise hit and edged its cumulative gross up to $9.9 million gross from a surprising 1,580,000 admissions for distributor SK Telecom.

Chinese funny-man Stephen Chow’s “CJ 7,” slipped to seventh place with a disappointing 59,700 admissions or $370,000 in its second frame and a $1.8 million cume after two weeks. Pic, handled in Korea by CJ Entertainment, was released at the beginning of the year in Chinese-speaking parts of Asia.

Japanese helmer Kitamura Ryuhei’s horror “Midnight Meat Train” ranked at No.8 has now grossed $1.6 million after nearly three weeks in cinemas.

At No.9, CJ Entertainment’s local sensation, “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” added 49,000 admissions (or a further $300,000) on 284 screens, and is now edging towards the seven million admissions mark.