The Tom Holland-starring “Uncharted” grossed $1.05 million between Friday and Sunday, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic). That was earned from 1,238 screens and represented 38% of the nationwide revenue aggregate. “Uncharted” now has a $4.77 million cumulative after two weekends.
Recently-published financial reports show that Korean cinema chains continued to lose vast amounts of money over the last year. And, while “Uncharted” and “The Batman” were recently cited by cinema operator CJ-CGV as offering hope for a 2022 revival, that has not happened yet. With just $2.79 million earned by all films across the entire country, the Feb. 25-27 weekend total was weaker than at any point this year.
Korean box office activity enjoyed a recent peak during the Christmas-New Year season when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” brought spectators back into the cinemas that they have largely abandoned since the COVID pandemic began. But neither Hollywood or local titles have achieved that feat in a meaningful fashion in the first two months of 2022. The Lunar New Year release of “The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure” represented only a passing uptick in the downtrend.
Korea’s largest cinema chain, CJ-CGV reported a revenue increase of 26% in 2021 compared with 2020. Turnover was KRW736 billion ($591 million). Operating losses contracted from KRW389 billion to KRW241 billion ($193 million).
Lotte CultureWorks, which operates number two chain Lotte Cinema, saw revenues decline from KRW422 billion to KRW234 billion ($188 million). Operating losses narrowed slightly from KRW161 million in 2020 to KRW133 billion ($107 million) in 2021.
J Contentree, which owns Megabox, saw sales little changed at KRW103 billion ($82.7 million). But its operating deficit expanded from KRW66 billion to KRW77 billion ($61.8 million).
Over the latest weekend, Japanese film “Jujutsu Kaisen” Zero” earned $517,000 for a total of $2.42 million after two weekends.
U.S.-made mystery-horror film “Antebellum” was the highest-scoring new release title of the weekend with $269,000 between Friday and Sunday and $468,000 in its opening five days.
Korean-made romantic drama “Serve the People” opened in fourth place with $213,000 over the weekend and $370,000 over five days.
“The Pirates” took sixth place with $79,700 for a cumulative of $10.3 million since release on Jan. 26, 2022.
Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” opened in sixth place with $118,000 over the weekend and $182,000 over five days.
“Death on the Nile,” which had been the top film in its opening frame, with a third weekend haul of $70,000. That made for a cumulative of 1.90 million since Feb. 9.
The Peter Dinklage-starring “Cyrano” also had its debut. Korean-charts which rank titles by ticket sales numbers showed it in tenth spot. By gross earnings it placed eighth with $45,000 over the weekend and $113,000 over five days.