‘Furiosa’ Holds Soft Lead Over ‘The Plot’

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” maintained a narrow win at the South Korea weekend box office in its second week of release. The highest new release was local crime drama “The Plot.”

Total weekend revenues in Korean cinemas were a modest $8.91 million. That figure keeps a post-COVID recovery on course, but progress is slow and incomplete.

“Furiosa” earned $2.24 million between Friday and Sunday, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic). That gives it a 12-day cumulative total of $7.90 million.

With some thematic resemblance to Soi Cheang’s celebrated Hong Kong film “Accident,” the story of “The Plot” involves a gang who design murders to look like everyday occurrences. The gang takes a job to kill a prosecutor, but its leader is worried that he is being gaslighted.

The film opened on Wednesday, as is the norm for most titles in Korea, and headed the box office on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of “Furiosa.” But from Friday to Sunday the order was reversed. “The Plot” earned $1.39 million over the weekend. Over its first five days in theaters, it earned $2.39 million.

Korean film “Following” held on to its third spot in its third weekend of release. It earned $1.02 million for a 19-day total of $6.60 million.

The second biggest film in Korea this year, “The Roundup: Punishment” slipped to fourth place. It earned $871,000 and now has a cumulative of $78.1 million.

Japanese animation, “Haikyu! The Dumpster Battle” earned $289,000 in fifth place. After 19 days on release in Korea, it has amassed $4.24 million.

American animation, “The Garfield Movie” gained one position and placed sixth, but its week-on-week receipts decreased by 40%. It earned $171,000 between Friday and Sunday and has a 19-day cumulative of $1.88 million in Korea.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” slipped from fifth place a week earlier to seventh over the latest weekend. It earned $97,000 for a four-weekend total of $6.58 million in the country.

Lower places were taken by: 2023 Korean title “Soulmate” which earned $80,000 this weekend; Taiwan-Japan coproduction film “18×2 Beyond Youthful Days” with $65,000 in its second weekend of release, for a total of $717,000; and Chinese animation “Backkom Bear: Mars Mission” with an opening weekend score of $46,000.

Nationwide monthly data shows that May cinema grosses totaled KRW110 million ($79.7 million), a few percentage points lower than the KRW119 million amassed in the same month last year.

For the first five months of 2024, the running total in Korea is KRW502 million ($364 million). That is a 9% gain over 2023, but is still fully 30% below 2019 levels. Considering that the 2024 figure already contains two runaway hits (“Exhuma” on $83.5 million and “The Roundup: Punishment”) and it is clear that nearly all films in Korea are struggling to attract audiences to watch them in cinemas. The market share taken by Korean movies is 65% so far in 2024.

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