Korean Summer Blockbusters Sputter at Box Office

  • By Shin Jeong-sun, Baik Su-jin

    August 31, 2023 14:17

    The crime caper "Smugglers" has been the only one of four major Korean blockbusters this summer to break even at the box office so far.
    The film's distributor NEW said that the movie has drawn over 5 million viewers, surpassing the break-even point of 4 million.
    In second place was disaster thriller "Concrete Utopia," but that pulled only 3.37 million moviegoers, short of its break-even point of 3.8 million.
    It is still being shown in theaters, but as it enters the fourth week since its release on Aug. 10, chances are slim of it reaching the break-even point as the globally hyped Hollywood epic "Oppenheimer" dominates the box office and new releases are in line. 
    Action thriller "Ransomed" and space survival drama "The Moon" lost their chances to break even. 
    Last year also saw four blockbusters released for the summer -- "Hansan: Rising Dragon," "Hunt," "Emergency Landing" and "Alienoid." Only "Hansan" and "Hunt" broke even with 7.28 million and 4.35 million viewers, but all the four drew 15.22 million viewers, compared to 9.93 million for this year.  
    SM C&C polled 10,009 people earlier this month, and 37.6 percent of the respondents said they did not see any of the four Korean blockbusters this summer -- 28.5 percent among those in their 50s, followed by 24 percent in their 60s, 20 percent in their 40s. 15 percent in their 30s and 13 percent in their 20s. 
    Asked why not, 42.5 percent said they did not find any of them interesting, while 31.9 percent cited high ticket prices and 28.3 percent said they will watch them on streaming services.  
    Some 41.2 percent named "The Moon" as the least appealing movie, saying they did not know the movie hit theater at all, they were turned off by the cast, they read bad reviews, or felt Korean sci-fi films are boring.
    Next was "Ransomed" with 26 percent. Naysayers said the genre was not interesting, they did not like the actors, or the movie seemed to have a trite plot and cast. 
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