The film played on more than 1,800 screens and enjoyed a 46% share of the overall market between Friday and Sunday, according to data supplied by Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council.
After a year of struggle for the theatrical business in Korea, the opening by “Guardians” was twice that of “The Super Mario Bros Movie” and nearly four times bigger than the next biggest individual title debut of 2023 (“The First Slam Dunk” in the first week of January scored $2.61 million). Over its opening five days, “Guardians” managed $13.2 million, making it the seventh highest grossing film of the year at the end of its first weekend.
The film launched on a weekend that was boosted by the Children’s Day holiday. That fillip also helped lift “The Super Mario Bros Movie” to a higher score in its second weekend than its debut session. “Mario” earned $5.44 million over the weekend, for a cumulative of $13.4 million.
Despite the strength of the competition, Japanese anime film “Crayon Shin-Chan: Mononoke Ninja Chimpuden” also had a fine debut in third place. It earned $2.26 million.
The top-ranked Korean-made film was “Dream,” which opened the previous weekend and scored $1.59 million in its second session. After 12 days in cinemas, it has a total of $6.99 million.
The strong top four gave the nationwide box office an aggregate of $22.2 million over three days. In the last 12 months there have only been four weekends exceeding $20 million, with the last two occurring in December when “Avatar: The Way of Water” provided temporary relief.
While the rush back to cinemas may have helped exhibitors, the market this year has been dominated by foreign titles (mostly U.S. and Japanese). Korean-made productions which used to dominate their home box office are being released in smaller numbers than normal years and are under-performing. In 2023, the top five are all imports and only two places belong to Korean films released this calendar year.
Over the latest weekend the long-playing Japanese anime “Suzume” consolidated its place as the year’s strongest. It earned $982,000 for a cumulative of $41.3 million.
“John Wick: Chapter 4” earned $821,000 in sixth place over the weekend. Since releasing on April 12, it has amassed $14.2 million, the fourth highest count of the year to date.
Horror movie, “The Ghost Station” was the highest placed local title of the weekend with $330,000. After nearly three weeks it has amassed $1.80 million.