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F9” enjoyed a second weekend at the front of the South Korean box office. It was joined by “Cruella” in keeping the nationwide gross total over $6 million for a second week.

Action franchise movie, “F9” grossed $3.21 million between Friday and Sunday, according to data from the Korean Film Council’s Kobis tracking service. That was a 43% drop from its film opening lap a week earlier, but still good enough for first place and good enough for a 49.6% market share (down from 85%).

The nationwide aggregate over three days was almost unchanged at $6.47 million, compared with $6.52 million. These weekend totals are nearly double that average of the past few deeply depressed months, during which audiences have stayed away, cinemas have struggled and film releases have been delayed.

The strong performance of “F9” lifts its cumulative total to $15.1 million since its release on May 19. That makes it the third highest grossing film this year in Korea. At this pace it will soon overtake “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” with a running total of $17.9 million and “Soul,” currently on $17.1 million.

“Cruella” made a creditable start with $1.99 million over the weekend and $2.46 million since debuting on Wednesday (May 26, 2021). It clawed together 1,180 screens and held a 31% market share.
Korean heist movie, “Pipeline” about an audacious attempt to hack into the national oil distribution system, opened in third place. It tapped $490,000 over the weekend and $698,000 over its opening five days.

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Previous chart-topper, “Waiting For Rain” was a long way back in fourth place with $161,000 over the weekend and a cumulative of $3.20 million earned in a month on release. The indefatigable “Demon Slayer” carved out a further 128,000 over the weekend.

Despite the current surge given by “F9” Korean distributors remain wary and many have revised their plans for upcoming releases through the normally strong summer months.

Yonhap news agency reports that Lotte Entertainment has halted marketing for its “Miracle.” Lotte’s “Mogadishu,” which it struggled to complete during the pandemic, has also been finished and given a rating, but the distributor has not settled on a release date. Similarly, Next Entertainment World has not fixed a release date for Hwang Jung-min starring “Hostage: Missing Celebrity” which was previously expected to reach screens in June.

If local movies hold back, or switch to online releases, that could hand a surprise win to Hollywood during the summer season, when box office is frequently propelled by folks seeking air-conditioned cinemas and cinematic chills.

But distributors are understandably hesitant. Korean box office results in the first part of the year have been desperately weak. Business in the first quarter was 69% down on the first three months of 2020, with just 8.15 million tickets sold.