Korea Box Office: ‘Soul’ and ‘Demon Train’ Repeat as ‘Space Sweepers’ Wins Online

Pixar animation “Soul” and Japanese anime “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” held station at the top of the South Korean box office for the second successive weekend.

Still heavily under the influence of COVID conditions, nationwide overall takings remained anemic. The most recent weekend total weighed in at just $3.63 million, down from $3.92 million the previous weekend frame, according to data from the Korean Film Council’s KOBIS tracking service.

“Soul” saw its score decline from $2.30 million to $1.73 million, for a cumulative of $9.98 million since its release on Jan. 20, 2021.

Conversely, “Demon Slayer” saw its score increase by 35% from $879,000 to $1.19 million, giving it a cumulative of $3.67 million since release on Jan. 27, 2021.

While its market share increased from 22% to 33% it was not enough to dislodge “Soul” which sank from a 59% share to a 48% share.

Liam Neeson-starring new release “Honest Thief” entered the Korean market in a distant third place. It earned $280,000 for a 7.7% market share. Including previews, it has now stolen $428,000.

The bigger story may be what was missing from the Korean theatrical market. The past week saw the online-only release of “Space Sweepers,” an astronautical adventure that has been billed as Korea’s first space opera. It had previously been set as one of the highlights of the peak holiday season in fall last year, but with release dates in flux and audience behavior difficult to predict the film was instead licensed to Netflix.

Local press has extensively covered the online launch. And on Sunday Netflix reported that “Space Sweepers” was ranked first among Netflix films a day after its release worldwide. It topped reportedly topped Netflix’s national charts in 15 markets including Korea, France, Belgium and Malaysia.

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