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Korea Box Office: ‘Exhuma’ Makes $16.8 Million Commercial Debut After Berlin Premiere

Occult drama-thriller “Exhuma,” dominated the South Korea box office in its opening weekend with a scarily good debut approaching $17 million.

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The film, about two shaman, a feng shui master and a mortician who attempt to undo the mysterious events happening to a U.S.-based Korean family, grabbed $14.5 million between Friday and Sunday, representing a 77% share of the overall box office market. Including the earnings since its Wednesday debut, the film earned $16.8 million in its full opening session, according to data from Kobis, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).

That total should, when weekend estimated are confirmed, give “Exhuma” the status as the second highest grossing film so far in 2024 in Korea, behind only “Wonka,” and the claim to be the biggest Korean production, after overtaking “Citizen of a Kind.”

“Exhuma,” which stars the veteran Choi Min-sik and rising star Kim Go-eun, is directed by Jang Jae-hyun, who previously made “Svaha: The Sixth Finger,” also debuted at the recent Berlin Film Festival.

“Exhuma’s” sparkling opening lifted the Korean box office to its best weekend of the year so far. Nationwide gross revenues weighed in at $19.0 million.

Over the latest weekend, “Wonka” fell to second place with a $2.0 million score. After releasing on Jan. 31 and dominating February’s box office, “Wonka” has a running total of $21.5 million.

Surprise hit, “The Birth of Korea,” a biopic about a 19th-century Catholic priest, dropped to third place over the latest session. It scored $790,000 in its fourth weekend, extending its cumulative to a 25-day total of $6.80 million.

Japanese animation, “Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Hashira Training,” the latest feature in the film and TV franchise, weakened to $490,000 in its second weekend in Korea. It has $3.44 million after playing since Feb. 14.

“The Sound of Freedom,” which has been a massive indie hit in the U.S. and attempted to capitalize on its faith-based appeal, opened in fifth place. It recorded $135,000 between Friday and Sunday and $254,000 over its five opening days. The distributor N.E.W. attempted to introduce the ‘pay it forward’ ticketing system, where patrons can buy tickets for other viewers, in to Korea with this film. But it has not been revealed what proportion of the opening weekend takings PIF accounted for.

Korean drama “Picnic” earned $130,000 in sixth place. After three weeks on release, it has a cumulative of $2.02 million. Animated movie “Bread Barbershop,” in pre-release, earned $127,000. That was good enough for seventh place.

“Citizen of a Kind,” a Korean comedy-drama about a woman who takes matters into her own hands after becoming the victim of a scam, held eighth place with $100,000. Its total, since releasing in January, is now $12.0 million.

Oscar-nominated U.S drama, “The Holdovers” opened quietly in tenth place. It scored $55,000 over the weekend and $116,000 over its opening five days.

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