Crime action film “The Roundup: No Way Out” dominated the South Korean box office on its official opening weekend with a thumping $21.9 million performance.
The film, the third in a franchise that pits a heavy-fisted cop, portrayed by Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee), against colorfully devious rogues, crushed all competing titles by taking an 88% market share. In terms of admissions, it attracted 2.82 million into cinemas between Friday and Sunday.
The film’s official opening was on Wednesday (May 31). But it also enjoyed wide previews through much of the preceding week. Adding in the weekday takings and the preview activity, “The Roundup: No Way Out” has a current aggregate of $34.1 million and has sold a total of 4.51 million tickets, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council.
On both counts – gross revenue and spectator numbers – the film is already the second ranked film of the year in Korea, behind only the long-running Japanese animation “Suzume.”
The muscular numbers also lifted the overall Korean box office to its biggest weekend of the year, worth $25 million.
The opening performance of “No Way Out” compares closely with that of the last year’s franchise sophomore effort “The Roundup,” which was the first major film released into the Korean market after the end of COVID restrictions. Debuting in an almost identical late-May slot, “The Roundup” earned $21.1 million and commanded an 86% market share.
“The Roundup” enjoyed four weeks at the top of the Korean box office and ran on for a total of $100 million, making it the top movie of the year ahead of “Top Gun: Maverick” on $67 million and fractionally behind Avatar: The Way of Water” (“Avatar 2” straddled the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 took a total of $104 million in Korea.)
The massive scale of the “No Way Out” release sucked up screens and audiences from other titles. “Fast X,” which had held pole position in two previous weekend races, saw its week-on-week performance braked by 84%. It lost two positions in revenue terms and earned just $518,000 for a three-lap total of $13.8 million.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” regained second place, but saw its weekend earnings drop by 70%. After five weekends on release in Korea, it has a cumulative of $32.5 million.
In a counter-programming effort, the rereleased 2009 Japanese animation film “Pokemon: Arceus to the Conquering of Space Time” took $514,000 in fourth place. (It was third by ticket sales).
Disney live-action film “The Little Mermaid” took $503,000 for a 12-day total of $4.44 million. “The Super Mario Bros Movie” took $180,000 in sixth place in its sixth weekend of release. Since a debut on April 26, it has amassed $17.7 million.
Lower places went to: Japanese new release “The Last Ten Years” with $163,000 over the weekend and a cumulative of $729,000; “Crayon Shin-chan: Mononoke Ninja Chimpuden” with $121,000 for a four-week total of $5.35 million; “Suzume,” with $83,800 for a cumulative of $43.1 million; and Korean re-release “The Adventure of Ice Planet” with $80,000.