Korea Box Office: ‘Barbie’ Makes Fourth Place Opening

Margot Robbie, America Ferrara and director Greta Gerwig visited South Korea early on the promotional tour for ‘Barbie’ (without Ryan Gosling). But their charm failed to translate into strong box office performance in the country and the film opened anonymously in fourth place over the weekend.

“Barbie” earned just $1.19 million between Friday and Sunday and $1.91 million over its opening five days, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic). Worth just 8% of the nationwide weekend total, “Barbie’s” scores were barely better than fellow new release title “Insidious: the Red Door.” That earned $1.17 million between Friday and Sunday and $1.90 million over five days.

Indeed, the weekend’s highest opener, landing in third ahead of “Barbie” and “Insidious,” was Japanese animation title “Detective Conan the Movie: Black Iron Submarine.” Releasing on Thursday, it earned $1.80 million over the weekend and $2.66 million over its opening four days.

The weekend’s unchanged box office champion was “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” which earned $5.70 million between Friday and Sunday. While that represented a 42% week-on-week decline, the title held on to 38% of the market and pushed its own cumulative to $23.3 million after 12 days in Korean cinemas. Its running total is already the seventh best of the year to date and the third highest by any Hollywood film released in Korea in 2023.

The enduring “Elemental” held on to second place with $3.68 million, representing a 25% market share. Since releasing on June 14, “Elemental” has amassed $38.8 million in Korea to date.

Korean animation film “Super Wings: Maximum Speed” opened in sixth place with $284,000 over the weekend proper and $351,000 over five days.

Rereleased Chinese romance “My Love” held on for another week in the Korean charts. It earned $261,000 in seventh place.

“Smugglers,” a female-led crime action film by ace director Ryu Seung-wan, took ninth place in the chart over the weekend based on previews alone. It managed $101,000 from 26 daily screenings and now has $321,000 in the bank, ahead of its official release on Wednesday.

New release, Norwegian animation film “Just Super” (aka “Helt Super”) took a modest $90,000 over the weekend and $107,000 over five days.

Tenth place over the weekend belonged to “The Roundup: No Way Out,” the year’s biggest film in Korea. It added $76,000, to lift its cumulative to $81.5 million. That falls short of the $100 million earned by its predecessor, but the three-film franchise can now claim a local currency milestone having passed KRW3 trillion.

The total weekend box office was $14.7 million. That is in the middle of the range of weekend scores that the Korean box office has delivered since the end of May. While that performance is substantially short of pre-COVID weekend averages, it represents a step up and stability at a higher level than the three months of sub-$10 million doldrums seen from February to April.

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