"The Berlin File," a spy thriller featuring a star-studded cast including Ha Jung-woo, is off to a rapid start at the box office. / Korea Times
By Yun Suh-young
The Korean movie industry seems to have to have found its next mega-hit. The action blockbuster "The Berlin File," compared by local critics to the Jason Bourne movies, drew more than 2.24 million viewers in five days after opening, thanks to the 1.53 million tickets sold during the weekend alone.
Despite moviegoers flocking to the new release, "A Gift from Room 7," is showing staying power in the box office standings. The comedy that follows the story of an intellectually-challenged man wrongfully imprisoned for murder and his interaction with the inmates, garnered 4.2 million viewers in its first 12 days of release. It finished second behind "Berlin" over the weekend after 1.36 million watched it.
"Berlin" is a spy flick directed by martial arts devotee Ryu Seung-wan and features an A-list cast led by Han Seok-gyu, Ha Jung-woo, Jeon Ji-hyun and Ryu Seung-beom, the younger brother of the director.
The early audience figures has producers wondering whether the attendance records held by 2006 hit "The Host" could be within striking distance.
"Berlin" and "A Gift from Room 7" accounted for more than 80 percent of all tickets sold at 897 cinemas across the nation on the weekend, the Korean Film Council said.
The Korean film sector is coming off a record year when it sold nearly 200 million tickets. Movies have been emerging as a key consumption area during the economic downturn as consumers look for cheaper ways to spend their leisure time.