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Hollywood Sidelined in Korea’s Bumper Aug B.O.

“Snowpiercer,” “Terror” “Flu” drive all-time record month

HONG KONG – South Korean films are enjoying their biggest ever month at their home box office. They dominate Hollywood by a ratio of more than four to one in August.

For the first time ever, more than 20 million tickets in a month were sold for Korean titles, according to national B.O. data service KOBIS.

KOBIS shows 20.7 million tickets were sold in the Aug 1-25 stretch, giving Korean titles a 78.7% market share, ahead of 4.88 million haul for US movies and an 18.6% market share. In cash terms Korean films earned $131 million in Aug, compared with $29.8 million for Hollywood.

The record market share for Korean films was October 2006, when they achieved 85.3% and revenue of $129 million at current exchange rates. In the intervening years the popularity of Korean cinema plunged and has since recovered.

For the year to date, Korean films have enjoyed a 59% share of ticket sales, compared with 37% for the U.S. and 1% for Japanese titles. South Korea is the world’s eighth largest B.O. territory with a gross of some $1.3 billion last year.

While August is often a strong month for Korean film, this year it has been exceptional. The chart is headed by “Snowpiercer” with over 8.8 million tickets sold, “The Terror Live” with 5.4 million, “Hide And Seek” on 4.7 million and 14 Aug release “The Flu” (pictured) on 2.7 million.

In the most recent weekend “Hide And Seek” retained its top spot, seeing off the new release of “Now You See Me” and the continuing runs of “The Flu,” “Snowpiercer” and “Terror.”

“Epic” took sixth place and a cumulative total of 945,000 tickets, worth $5.54 million, while CJ Entertainment’s “Turbo” held ninth place and took its cumulative up to 1.91 million tickets. “R.I.P.D” managed 74,200 tickets and Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” 51,200 admissions.

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