‘Dr Cheon’ Ahead on Slow Holiday Weekend

A trio of local films released in time for the Chuseok holiday season dominated the South Korean box office over the latest weekend.

Comedy fantasy “Dr Cheon and the Lost Talisman” dominated. It earned $5.98 million between Friday and Sunday with a more than 48% market share. Since its release on Wednesday (and including previews from last week) it has a cumulative total of $8.37 million.

It stars the ever-appealing Gang Dong-won in the role of a sorcerer in a film that mixes comedy, action, fist-fights and exorcisms.

A length or two behind was “Road to Boston,” a nationalistic sports drama about underdog Korean marathon runners more than half a century ago. Directed by one Kang Je-gyu, of the pioneers of the Korean patriotic spectacle genre, the film shot before COVID and has jogging on the spot ever since, waiting for its moment to surge to the front. It earned $2.88 million over the weekend and $4.05 million over its opening five-day run since a Wednesday departure.

Third place belonged to “Cobweb” the film industry period piece that premiered in May at the Cannes film festival. Recently it has been dogged by controversy over whether its lead character is intended to be an accurate representation of one of Korean film pioneers – or merely a pastiche.

The film overcame an injunction with an out-of-court settlement and released on schedule on Wednesday. It earned $937,000 over the weekend proper and $1.59 million in its opening five days.

It was closely tracked by U.S-made horror film “The Nun II,” which also sought to scare up some holiday business. It earned $918,000 over the weekend and $1.48 million over its first five days.

Japanese animation “Butt Detective” opened on Thursday. It earned $343,000 over the weekend and $468,000 over its first four days.

“Sleep,” a drama fantasy that had topped the charts through September, was the highest ranked holdover. It earned $269,000 over the weekend and advanced its aggregate total to $10.0 million.

Aggregate box office if $12.5 million is a significant step up from the previous two weeks box office scores, when cinemas were deprived of significant new titles. But the figure is on the low side for a major holiday period and is lower than all but one regular weekend through July and August.

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