Jo In-sung’s ‘Escape from Mogadishu’ tops box office in South Korea

Korean actors Kim Yoon-seok (left) and Jo In-sung in 'Escape from Mogadishu' (KOFIC)

The Korean film “Escape from Mogadishu” topped the box office in South Korea, according to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

“Escape from Mogadishu,” starring Kim Yoon-seok, Jo In-sung, Kim So-jin and Heo Joon-ho, tells the story of personnel of the South and North Korean embassies escaping Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. In 1991, a civil war broke out in Mogadishu. The South Korean embassy’s staff and their families became isolated. One night, a group from the North Korean embassy knocks on their door asking for help. The goal is to escape Mogadishu.

The film premiered at No. 1 at the box office in Korea on July 28, selling 126,670 tickets, the highest opening day record for a Korean film this year, and grossing $778,984.

It also topped the box office on July 29 with 89,734 in total admissions and gross of $743,547 for a two-day total of 226,475 tickets sold and revenue of $1.6 million including pre-opening numbers.

Amid the slump the Korean movie industry is facing due to restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, KOFIC reported that the Korea Theater Association has allowed “Escape from Mogadishu” to get 100 percent of box office sales until it reaches 50 percent of its break-even point (BEP), wherein “filmmakers have recouped both their production budgets and print and advertising costs.” Under a normal situation, the sales are split 50:50.

“Escape from Mogadishu” was filmed in Morocco before the COVID-19 pandemic and Jo In-sung said the movie is “extra special.”

"I have been working on projects in which I was usually the sole lead. So I took this role because I wanted to be part of something that I can work together with veteran actors in. When I screened the movie, it reminded me of the time we basically lived there together. So this film comes to me as extra special," he said during the film’s press conference, Korea Times reported.

Jo In-sung’s last movie project was the historical film “The Great Battle” in 2018. It was belatedly announced that he donated 500 million won ($437,000) to Miral Welfare Foundation to build a school in Tanzania, according to SBS News.