Virus Fears Further Slow Korean Box Office

Fear of the coronavirus increased its impact on the South Korean cinema industry. Films were cancelled and box office revenues dropped for a second weekend.

Ticket sales fell by some 10%, compared to the previous weekend, which itself followed an already depressed previous session and a slow January.

That caused Megabox to delay its Jeon Do-yeon- and Jung Woo-sung-starring crime thriller “Beasts Clawing at Straws,” from Feb. 12 to Feb. 19. Ukrainian animation “The Stolen Princess,” which had been scheduled to release on Feb. 5, is indefinitely halted.

CJ Entertainment’s “Closet” managed $5.04 million from 681,000 admissions in five days to open on top. Showing on 1,192 screens nationwide, the local mystery drama accounted for 48% of the total weekend box office. Starring Ha Jung-woo (“Ashfall”) and Kim Nam-gil (“The Shameless”), “Closet” is the story of a father who engages an exorcist to help find his missing daughter.

Another Wednesday opener, “Birds of Prey” landed in second. The Warner Bros. release earned $1.98 million over its opening five days.

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Incurring a week-on-week drop of 68%, Showbox’s modern history drama “The Man Standing Next” fell to third place. It earned $1.2 million for a total of $33.6 million after three weekends. Lotte Cultureworks’ “Hitman: Agent Jun” also took a steep 72% dive on its way to fourth. The action comedy earned $702,000 for a three-weekend total of $17.0 million.

Korean animation “Miniforce: Deeno the King of Dinosaurs” debuted on Thursday and took fifth place. The children’s movie earned $281,000 over four days. “Jojo Rabbit” opened in sixth place, earning $266,000 between Wednesday and Sunday.

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