‘Moonfall’ Takes Victory Over Depressing Weekend In Korea Box Office

Roland Emmerich’s space action movie “Moonfall” topped the box office in South Korea. But the country’s ongoing COVID woes mean “Moonfall” and all other titles have been operating in desperately low-Earth orbit.

As the biggest new release of the week, Moonfall pushed aside the Korean-made ‘In Our Prime’, last weekend’s winner. However, the opening score this year was the lowest for all top films.

According to data from Kobis, the tracking service of the Korean Film Council (Kofic), “Moonfall” scored just $880,000 for distributor Noori Pictures this weekend. In the five days after its Wednesday release, the film grossed $1.17 million.

“In Our Prime” dropped 32% week over week and came in second with $750,000 over the weekend, giving it a 12-day cumulative of $3.04 million.

“The Batman” dropped from second to third position, making $471,000 this weekend. Since its debut on March 1, the superhero film has collected $7.06 million. That low figure makes the film the second biggest to be released in Korea this year. It will be the third-highest-grossing film of 2022 if the December release “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is also included.

Other new releases of imported titles from the weekend included: “Spencer” at $225,000 ($342,000 over five days); Japan’s “Her Blue Sky” with $38,300 and “Marry Me” with $35,100.

National total receipts over the weekend totaled just $2.82 million, the second consecutive weekend that the total box office remained below $3 million.

The desperately low level of business in what used to be the fourth largest box office market in the world is closely linked to the staggeringly high levels of new coronavirus infections in the country.

In recent days, the number of new coronavirus cases has risen sharply, reaching a record 621,000 on Thursday. The numbers fell 381,000 on Saturday and 334,000 on Sunday, but experts warned the drop could be explained by less testing over the weekend.

Despite the huge number of new COVID cases, due to the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variants, the death rate is only 0.13 percent. The Korean population is highly vaccinated (and stimulated), but the new wave of infections is disrupting the economy. More than two million people with the disease are said to be in isolation at home.

The government has had to stop the vaccination pass system in some places, such as cafes and restaurants, because there are no longer enough healthy people to carry out the checks. The government plans to further relax some social distancing measures in the coming days, but it’s not clear how much relief that will bring to the distribution and display industry.

The box office weakness is adding further box office weakness as the supply of Korean local titles has fallen to a trickle. Hundreds of Korean films are said to have been completed or in advanced post-production, but without a confirmed theater release date.

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