Zombie films ‘Peninsula,’ ‘#ALIVE’ dominate South Korean box office in July

Kang Dong-won in 'Peninsula' (left) and Park Shin-hye and Yoo Ah-in in '#ALIVE' (Photos courtesy of KOFIC / Zip Cinema / Red Peter Films) 

Korean zombie movies “Peninsula,” the sequel to “Train to Busan,” and “#ALIVE” copped the first two places at the box office in South Korea in July as cinema attendance grew 45 percent from June.

Data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) showed that “Peninsula,” released on July 15 starring Kang Dong-won and Lee Jung-hyun, topped the box office in July, selling 3.21 million tickets and earning $23.47 million with a revenue share of 59.18 percent. 

“#ALIVE,” starring Park Shin-hye and Yoo Ah-in, had 702,466 in total admissions for July and $5 million in revenues. Since its opening on June 24, the movie has sold 1.89 million tickets and earned $13.38 million at the box office. It was the No. 1 film since its opening until “Peninsula” took over the spot on July 15. 

The political film “Steel Rain 2: Summit,” which opened on July 29 starring Jung Woo-sung, Kwak Do-won and Yoo Yeon-seok, placed third with 515,186 tickets sold and revenue of $3.28 million. It has dislodged “Peninsula” from the top spot on its opening day. The three Korean films captured 80 percent of the total revenue share for the month. 

“Bombshell,” the American film starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie which opened in South Korea on July 8, took fourth place with 169,403 in attendance and $1.2 million in revenue. 

Placing fifth is “Innocence,” starring Shin Hye-sun, Bae Jong-ok and Huh Joon-ho, which sold 122,776 tickets and earned $889,662. The sixth to 10th places went to “Onward,” “Aladdin,” “The Singer,” “Better Days” and “The Dark Knight.”

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has heavily battered the Korean film industry but it is showing recovery. 

For July, cinema attendance in South Korea totaled 5.61 million, an increase of 45.4 percent from June’s 3.86 million. Year-on-year, total admissions in July were down 74.36 percent compared to 21.91 million in July 2019. 

Tickets sold in January this year totaled 16.84 million and nosedived to 7.37 million February when social distancing measures were put in place. Cinema attendance deteriorated to 1.83 million in March and in April it stood at 972,576, the lowest monthly tally since 2004 when computerized aggregation of data started in South Korea. It increased to 1.52 million in May, 3.86 million in June and 5.61 million in July. 

Total cinema revenues in July jumped to $39.53 million, an increase of 44 percent from June’s $27.42 million but down 74 percent compared to $154 million earned in July 2019. 

Cinema admissions in South Korea from January to July this year totaled 38,032,767, down by 93.2 million, or 71 percent, compared to 131.23 million during the same period last year.