“Midnight Runners” Chase “A Taxi Driver”

With the most powerful holdover of the year facing off against several strong newcomers, the Korean box office remained very strong in mid-August, selling 4.44 million tickets, with the local industry maintaining its traditional dominance in the late summer season with a 72% market share.
 
After posting strong midweek numbers, A Taxi Driver decelerated about 40% week-on-week to record another major top place finish with 1.77 million entries (USD 12.93 million), which brings its total to a stellar 7.94 million admissions (USD 55.16 million) in just 12 days. Director JANG Hun and star SONG Kang-ho may crack the 10 million mark at some point later this week.
 
It may not have topped the chart, but Lotte Entertainment’s youth action-comedy Midnight Runnersdashed into an impressive second place finish after filling 1.33 million seats (USD 9.54 million) over the weekend and 1.95 million (USD 13.59 million) over its first five days. With strong word of mouth this commercial debut from former indie director Jason KIM, which stars KANG Ha-neul and PARK Seo-jun, is warming up for a healthy run.
Also impressive in third place was new Hollywood horror offering Annabelle: Creation, which opened with 751,000 viewers (USD 5.44 million) and 935,000 spectators (USD 6.64 million) over its first four days. The film is garnering plenty of buzz and has already passed the lifetime total of the first Annabelle and should finish somewhere around the totals of The Conjuring films, which are part of the same universe.
 
Closing out the top five were the third weekends of Despicable Me 3 and The Battleship Island, which fell 68% and 84%, respectively. The Dreamworks animation added 174,000 sales (USD 1.16 million) to give it a robust 3.03 million admissions (USD 19.43 million) total, while RYOO Seung-wan’s WWII epic brought in another 116,000 viewers (USD 825,000), giving a large 6.46 million spectator (USD 43.62 million) total.
 
War of the Planet of the Apes finally opens in Korea this weekend and will face off with A Taxi Driver for the top spot, while both Midnight Runners and Annabelle: Creation show no signs of disappearing any time soon. Two new local films will also be released, HUH Jung’s horror The Mimic and the documentary Criminal Conspiracy.
 
By Pierce Conran
 

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