"The Host" has emerged dripping from the Han River and is headed for world conquest. The film, which opened Thursday to explosive box office numbers, opens on Sept. 2 in Japan and in the U.S. in October. It will also go on release in seven other countries. Originally scheduled to open on 250 screens in Japan, the creature movie's alarming success in Korea means that number is likely to multiply.
Along with director Bong Joon-ho, actors Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doo-na and Ko A-sung headed to Japan for a four-day promotional trip, with nearly 100 reporters turning up on the first day. Meanwhile, high praise from the New York Times when the film was screened at Cannes means "The Host" will put up a good fight against Hollywood blockbusters in the U.S.
Here, the film brought in some 2.7 million viewers in just four days, setting records by opening on the greatest number of screens (620), the highest number of reservations (99 percent), and as the quickest movie to break the 1 million viewer mark (three days). That knocks the previous record-holders into a cocked hat. The previous record for biggest first week was held by "Typhoon" with 1.81 million tickets sold, for biggest one-day showing "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War" with 590,000 viewers. If the trend continues, "The Host" could surpass the 10 million mark in three weeks, which would be faster than the 39 days it took "Taegukgi," and beat in one month the 12.3 million viewers that "The King and the Clown" saw in its recording-breaking 112-day run.
Meanwhile "Hanbando (The Korean Peninsula)", the other big summer hit, is close to hitting the 4 million ticket mark. Together, the two films have a veritable monopoly on Korea's theaters, showing on 1,057 screens or 64 percent of the country's 1,648 screens.