March 29, 2023


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Korea Box Office: ‘The First Slam Dunk’ Battles ‘Avatar 2’

3 min read

“Avatar: The Way of Water” enjoyed the highest eclipse at the box office in Korea over the weekend and regained the top spot after slipping to second place a week earlier. But the Japanese animation film “The First Slam Dunk,” now in its fourth weekend of release, was the most-watched picture of the frame and surpassed Hollywood Fantasy in ticket sales.

“Avatar 2” grossed $2.20 million in its eighth weekend of release. That gives it a cumulative score of $107 million, earned from 10.4 million admissions. It sold 187,000 tickets last weekend.

Local media in Korea ranked films based on admissions rather than revenue and showed “Avatar 2” in third place behind both “The First Slam Dunk” and “The Point Men.”

“Avatar 2” won in terms of revenue due to its significantly higher ticket prices, an effect due to its dominance in IMAX and premium format venues.

“The First Slam Dunk”, a Toei animation feature about a delinquent who finds success with basketball and girls, became a hit in his native Japan and elsewhere throughout Asia. It was released in Korea right after the New Year holiday on January 4 and has since performed consistently, recording four consecutive weekends with takes in the $2-3 million range.

In the latest Friday to Sunday period, it grossed $2.12 million from 249,000 ticket sales, according to data from Kobis, a film tracking database run by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). It brought its cumulative total to $16.2 million, the second-highest score of any film in Korean theaters in 2023, behind only “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The score is the highest grosser for any film released this calendar year.

“The Point Men,” a Korean drama film that surpassed “Avatar 2” a week ago, scored $1.72 million in its second weekend, earning 205,000 tickets sold. “The Point Men” now has a 12-day cume of $12.0 million.

In a recent weekend, Korean spy action film “Phantom” took fourth place with a $700,000 weekend score. It has now accumulated $4.42 million in its two weekends of release.

Taiwan’s “Some Day or One Day” was the highest-placed new release. It grossed $692,000 over the weekend (from 80,800 ticket sales) and $1.16 million in its opening five days.

American made horror “M3gan” opened at sixth place. It was just a whisper in terms of revenue, earning $691,000 from 79,600 ticket sales. In its opening five days, it grossed $1.01 million.

The spots include: Korean-made “Hero,” which earned $576,000 for a seven-weekend of $24.6 million; “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $5.81 million with $326,000 for four weeks; Japan’s “Even If This Love Disappears From The World Today,” which grossed $217,000 for a two-month total of $8.44 million; and Korean animation “Carrie and Supercola,” which took in $140,000 for a two-weekend total of $670,000.

After the boost provided by “Avatar 2” and the stimulus of the Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year holidays, Korean cinema grosses nationwide returned to more normal levels, with a weekend total of $10 million.

The clutter at the top of the charts among holdover titles also reflects the lack of significant new releases entering cinemas. This can be seen as a typical January lull or hiatus before the last batch of Korean titles that delay their release during the COVID tiles finally hit theaters. There is still much to come.

These include: comedy “Count,” delayed from June 2020; “My Puppy,” which had a festival release in October last year; and crime thriller “The Devil’s Deal,” and Kang Jae-gyu’s “Boston Marathon,” which has halted production until January 2020. It is now aiming for a September 2023 release in time for the Chuseok holiday.

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