The release of “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Ambulance” gave Hollywood a rare one-two-three at the South Korean box office over the weekend. But neither newcomer managed to earn $1 million in another deeply depressed session.
“Sonic 2” earned $843,000 over the weekend and $979,000 over its opening five days, according to data from Kobis, the theatrical tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).
“Ambulance” earned $450,000 between Friday and Sunday and a total of $674,000 over its five days since release on Wednesday. That was good enough for third place.
Between the two newcomers, previous chart-topper “Morbius” took second place with a weekend score of $537,000. That was a 68% tumble from its opening weekend. After 12 days in Korean theaters “Morbius” has a cumulative total of $3.40 million.
The Korean government is expected to soon relax many of the anti-COVID restrictions that it currently has in place and move to treat the disease as endemic. That follows two days when the new infection scores were below 200,000 per day and indications that the Sunday total would drop below 100,000.
There were reports of crowds of shoppers and revelers in some parts of Seoul over the weekend. But the upturn in sentiment has not yet reached the cinema sector.
The most recent weekend was the fifth successive weekend in which theatrical box office failed to reach a $3 million nationwide aggregate. The lack of releases of major Korean titles is a significant drawback that is only likely to be reversed after COVID restrictions are removed and the virus does not make another disruptive comeback.
“Stellar,” a comedy about cars and a man coping with the death of his father, was the top-placed local film over the weekend. It opened in fourth place with a $304,000 score between Friday and Sunday and $430,000 over five days.
Lower places were occupied by: new release U.S. film “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” with $212,000 over five days; Korean holdover “Hot Blooded” with $126,000 over the weekend for a total of $2.84 million since release on March 23; $69,000 for Japanese animation “Jujutsu Kaisen Zero,” giving a cumulative of $4.68 million since Feb. 17; $49,000 for Korean maths drama “In Our Prime,” lifting its cumulative to $4.05 million since March 9; $28,000 for “The Girl on a Bulldozer,” a Korean drama film; and $24,000 for “The Batman,” which has a cumulative of $7.56 million since release on March 1.
“The Batman” is now the third-ranking film of 2022 in Korea, behind only (2021-release) “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure.”