'Avengers' Smash Box-Office Records in Korea

  • By Song Hye-jin

    May 03, 2018 12:59

    The latest Marvel blockbuster "Avengers: Infinity War" has attracted 5.97 million viewers in Korea since its release on April 25.

    It took just six days to break the 5-million mark, the fastest pace ever for any Marvel movie. On a worldwide scale, the figure is third largest after the U.S. and the U.K., though the film has not yet been released in China.

    When population and size of the economy are taken into account, Korea may be the best market for the superhero hokum. Korea was also the third-best market for the last instalment, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," in 2015, ahead of the U.K., whose movie market is 1.2 times bigger than Korea's. 

    Marvel merchandise and games also sell like hot cakes in Korea, which is home to three Marvel Stores in Seoul, two in Busan, and one in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

    "This is happening because there is a high demand for fantasy and no home-grown competition in Korea. The U.K. has its own fantasy franchises like 'Lord of the Rings' or 'Harry Potter,' and Japan has so many animations of its own. But there is no home-grown content that can replace Marvel in Korea," said film critic Kang Yoo-jung.

    Fans dress up as Marvel superheroes at an event in Seoul in April.

    But Koreans' fascination with Marvel movies may also be due to the simple solutions to complex problems they offer. Park Seok-hwan at Korea University of Media Arts said, "The young generation grew up in relative prosperity but they feel their future is grim due to slow economic growth. They try to find the ideal leadership in Marvel movies and want someone like Iron Man who is rich, smart, fair and just."

    Oddly, more women than men are drawn to the high-octane antics. According to multiplex chain CGV, 50.3 percent of viewers of "Infinity War" were women, a little more than men who made up 49.7 percent. That could just mean that more mothers buy tickets for their children, but some girls are clearly enthralled.

    "In other superhero movies, women are usually portrayed as someone who needs help of a male superhero, but in Marvel movies, female characters do a lot of great things," said Han Seung-won, an 18-year-old girl from Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province. "We see very strong female superheroes and it's thrilling to watch." 

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