The Korean box office has gotten a jolt in the past several weeks, with local films opening through the roof and hanging on in this fast-burn market. Assassination, which bowed on July 22 and was the No. 7 movie at the international box office that weekend, has just become Korea’s No. 1 movie of the year. The colonial-era espionage tale stepped over Avengers: Age Of Ultron to reach the top spot, selling 10.82M tickets versus Ultron‘s 10.5M. Assassination still trails Ultron in dollar terms ($71.1M v $74.9M), but should pass it this week. It has already entered the Top 10 movies of all time which are measured by admissions. There is only one Hollywood title in the Top 10: Avatar at No. 3.
Directed by Choi Dong-hoon, Assassination follows a group of exiled rebels planning a hit on an army commander in Japanese-occupied Korea. But, the only killer for the job is in prison. The resistance must devise a jailbreak, escape a hitman and discover which of them is a traitor. Well Go USA released Stateside on August 7 and has taken about $820K so far.
Also zooming up the charts this summer is Veteran, the No. 3 movie at the international box office this past weekend, it is No. 4 for the year in Korea with $46.48M in box office and 7M tickets sold, according to industry body Kobiz. From The Berlin File director Ryoo Seung-wan, Veteran stars Hwang Jung-min as a detective who pursues an elusive young millionaire involved in one of his high-profile cases. That releases in the U.S. on August 21. Check out the trailer below.
The extra muscle should be good news in Korea. Box office overall was up 2.5% on a local currency basis at the halfpoint of the year, but it was down 1.6% in admissions. There are currently five Korean movies and five Hollywood movies in the Top 10. Last year ended with six and four, and it could be hard to beat. The Top 10 of 2014 included summer blockbuster, Roaring Currents, which became the top-grossing film of all time in the market. The No. 2 movie ever, Ode To My Father, was released in December last year, although it made more than half of its money this year. Anticipated titles in the rest of 2015 include Gokseong starring Veteran‘s busy Hwang Jung-min, and period drama Sado.
Here’s the Veteran trailer: