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‘Collectors’ Wins Korea Box Office Weekend as Coronavirus Alert Level Is Raised Again

Collectors
Siren Pictures

Treasure hunt film, “Collectors” held on to top spot at another depressed Korean box office. The film earned $1.32 million with a 36% market share, ahead of U.S. film “Run,” which debuted in second place with $964,000.

After nearly three weeks on release “Collectors” has passed the $10 million mark, finishing Sunday with $10.6 million, according to data from the Korean Film Council’s Kobis system. “Samjin Company English Class,” a previously top-placed film, took third place with $428,000 for a cumulative of $12.3 million since release on Oct 20.

“The Day I Died: Unclosed Case,” a Korean drama film, was the only other title of the weekend to exceed $100,000. Earning $302,000 to add to its opening week total, it now has a $1.77 million running total.

The continuing weakness is taking tis toll on Korea’s cinema operators. Last week, number two chain Lotte said that it would close 20 of its directly operated cinema sites, out of a total of 99 with 711 screens, over the next two years. In the near future, it will try to maximize revenue from the current trickle of patrons by increasing its ticket prices by KRW1,000 (a little less that a dollar) across the board. In both measures it follows a pattern previously set my market leader CJ-CGV, and it follows the smaller Megabox in raising prices.

The company recently revealed that, due to fixed costs and revenues down by some 70% this year, it is losing KRW15bn ($13.4m) a month.

On Monday, after the latest weekend results, Korean authorities announced a raising of the coronavirus alert level in the greater Seoul area from Tuesday. The region accounts for approximately half of the nation’s cinemagoing.

In recent weeks, the alert system has been at Level 1.5 meaning that a vacant seat must be left between every group of spectators in a theater. At the new Level 2, every other seat must be left empty.