Korea Bucks Global Box Office Trend as ‘Himalayas’ Beats ‘Star Wars’

"The Himalayas"
Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

Local survival drama “The Himalayas” opened on top of the Korean box office, comfortably beating “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Opening on 1,009 screens nationwide, the CJ Entertainment release earned $10.1 million from 1.53 million admissions between Wednesday (Dec. 16) and Sunday, according to data from the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS service. Opening on 940 screens on Thursday (Dec. 17), “The Force Awakens” took second place, earning $7.96 million from 1.07 million admissions over four days.

“The Force Awakens” momentarily triumphed on its Thursday opening day when it sold fewer tickets than “Himalayas,” but enjoyed higher revenues, due to its 3D, IMAX and 4DX premium tickets. But from Friday through Sunday, when families turned out strongly, “Himalayas,” with emphasis on human interest rather than sci-fi, outperformed “Star Wars.”

“Himalayas”’ score was slightly lower than director Lee Seok-hoon’s 2014 “The Pirates,” which opened with $11.8 million and went on to accumulate $56.32 million.

The 2005 release of “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” earned $7.92 million from 1.46 million admissions, after opening with $2.9 million in four days.

Another local newcomer, “The Tiger” opened softly in third, making $4.83 million between Wednesday and Sunday. The CGI-heavy period drama is the second film that teams “New World” duo, director Park Hoon-jung and actor Choi Min-sik.

Previous leader, “Inside Men” dropped to fourth, earning $1.55 million between Friday and Sunday. It now stands at a total of $43.9 million after five weekends on release. Local animated feature “Pororo 3: Cyber Space Adventure” slipped to fifth, earning $583,000 between Friday and Sunday for a total of $1.79 million after two weekends.

Rereleased Christmas romantic comedy, “Love Actually” debuted in sixth, earning $1.28 million between Thursday and Sunday. Japanese auteur Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Cannes entry “Our Little Sister” opened in seventh, making $123,800.