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‘Seobok’ Opens at Top of Korea Box Office Despite Simultaneous Online Launch

Seobok
Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

Hotly-anticipated thriller “Seobok” opened on top of the box office in South Korea over the weekend, despite also premiering on streaming video. It was comfortably ahead of second-placed film, another new release, “Detective Conan: The Scarlett Bullet.”

Together the top two films managed to return overall theatrical revenues back to the depressed range that they have been stuck in since the beginning of the year, but below which they dipped on the previous weekend.

“Seobok” earned $1.43 million over the weekend, and $1.81 million in the four days since its Thursday release. That gave it a 41% share of the weekend box office. “Detective Conan,” which released on Friday, took $674,000 for a $19% market share.

They displaced the previous weekend winner “Book of Fish,” which slipped to fifth place with $183,000, and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which fell to sixth spot in its fourth weekend on release. It earned $160,000, a drop of 67%, producing a cumulative total of $5.93 million. “Book of Fish” has hooked $2.40 million after two weekends.

Two other films retained their places in the top five: long-running “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” and unlikely U.S. action thriller “Nobody.” “Demon Slayer” added $300,000 for a $14.8 million running total since its release in January. Bob Odenkirk-starring “Nobody” is on $969,000.

“Seobok” stars Gong Yoo and Park Bo-gum as retired security agent who is taked with moving the first human clone to a safe place. It was due to have opened last year, but was delayed by the impact of coronavirus on film releasing and cinema audiences. While it is one of the biggest local films to release in Korea in 2021, rights owner CJ ENM took the decision to hedge its bets and also give the film an online launch. The company has not disclosed the number of times “Seobok” has been viewed on its TVing platform.

Despite a virus control situation that would be the envy of many other countries, Korean audiences have not returned to cinemas en masse. Theatrical box office has been stuck in range of $3.0 million to $4.5 million for most of the year to date. The previous weekend, with “Book of Fish” the lead local title, cumulative nationwide box office dropped to just $2 million.