Korea Box Office: ‘San Andreas’ Wins Weekend Shaken by MERS Concerns

BUSAN – Fears over the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome had a significant impact on the South Korean box office. But the chart was nevertheless topped by a disaster movie, “San Andreas.”

According to the KOBIS box office tracking service, ticket sales at 1.55 million between Friday and Sunday were the lowest in seven weeks. The figure also represented a 21% drop on last week and a nearly 50% drop compared with the holiday weekend last year.

Post-apocalyptic “San Andreas” marked a strong debut, earning $7.18 million from between Wednesday and Sunday. The Warner Bros. release is Dwayne Johnson’s best ever opening in Korea.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” dropped 54% and slipped to second. It earned $2.07 million between Friday and Sunday. The Warner release has amassed $26.4 million after four weekends.

With a week-on-week drop of 45%, U.S. chart-topping comedy “Spy” earned $1.84 million. That expanded its total to $14.1 million since May 21.

Both Warner and Fox said they were pleased with the results given the MERS scare. But local firms were more cautious.

Distributor NEW postponed the June 10 release of “Northern Limit Line (a.k.a. “Battle of Yeonpyeong”) to June 24, and cancelled its planned VIP premiere. “Considering the recent public situation and national sentiment, we are obliged to reschedule,” said NEW. The Busan Film Commission’s Asian Film Policy Forum, scheduled for June 19—21, was postponed indefinitely.

To date, six people have died and 86 have been infected by MERS in South Korea. Yonhap news agency reports 2,508 people in quarantine.

Local film “Perfect Proposal” opened fourth, underperforming with $679,000 between Thursday and Sunday. CJ Entertainment’s “The Shameless” also tumbled by 80%. The Cannes crime drama has made $2.63 million in two weeks. It will be in competition at next week’s Shanghai film festival.

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