Hello everyone and welcome back to another post by EonTalk. To continue on the series of “Top Korean Movies” content I made, such as Top Korean Movies by Ratings, Top Korean Movies by Total Audience, and Top Critically Acclaimed Korean Movies, today’s content will be on Top Grossing Korean Movies.
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As with the previous content, the criteria of today’s list was based on the list of top movies from the Korean Film Council, and the list will include a total of 20 Korean movies. Because we have to go through so many films, I’ll be only giving basic info for each film, such as the release date, genre, director, cast, box office numbers, and of course, the total sales. However, a new fact I’ll be including in this one is the distribution company responsible for the movie. When organizing this list, I found it very interesting which companies were in charge of the movies, and how frequently some of them came up. Moreover, I won’t be giving a descriptive synopsis in this one, as I’ve mentioned the movies in other posts. Please remember, the number of sales, box office, and total grossing number were all based on the Korean market. (*This list was comprised in May of 2020)
Now then, that being said, let’s get right into the reveal of the Top 20 Korean movies by their total sales.
First, the #20 was the oldest film on this list, being released back in 2006, <The Host>. Directed by the one and only Bong Joon-Ho, who famously directed <Memories of Murder>, <Mother>, <Snowpiercer>, <Okja>, and of course, <Parasite>, you’ll be seeing Mr. Bong several more times on this list. <The Host> was an action/thriller/adventure film, and the distribution company of the movie was Showbox. <The Host> featured a cast lineup of Song Kang-Ho, Byun Hee-Bong, Park Hae-Il, Bae Doo-Na, and Go Ah-Sung. The movie raked in a total of 66,717,700,300 KRW, recorded 10,917,400 at the box office, which means it made about 6111 KRW, roughly $4~5 per sale.
At #19 was another film directed by Bong Joon-Ho, released in 2013, <Snowpiercer>. <Snowpiercer> was an action-filled science fiction film, and the distribution company of the movie was CJ Entertainment. <Snowpiercer> had the likes of Chris Evans, Song Kang-Ho, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Alison Pill, and Go Ah-Sung, and the movie grossed 67,027,834,500 KRW. The film recorded 9,352,605 at the box office, meaning it made roughly 7167 KRW, about $5~6 per sale.
#18 was the most recently released movie of the list, <Ashfall>. <Ashfall> had two directors of Lee Hae-Jun and Kim Byung-Seo. Lee Hae-Jun also directed <My Dictator>, and <Castaway On The Moon>, and Kim Byung-Seo was one of two directors of <Cold Eyes>. The film was an action-drama that was distributed by CJ Entertainment, and starred the likes of Lee Byung-Hun, Ha Jung-Woo, Ma Dong-Seok aka Don Lee, Jun Hye-Jin, and Suzy. The movie made a total of 69,825,366,300 KRW, recorded 8,252,669 at the box office, equaling to about 8461 KRW, or $6~7 per sale.
Coming in at #17 was the 2016 movie, <A Violent Prosecutor>. This film was directed by Lee Il-Hyung, who directed an upcoming film titled <Remember>, and was a crime-comedy. The distribution company of the movie was Showbox, and had the actors Hwang Jung-Min, Kang Dong-Won, Lee Sung-Min, Park Sung-Woong, and Shin So-Yool. The film was able to make a total of 77,320,403,264 KRW, had a total of 9,707,119 at the box office, which means it made about 7965 KRW, about $6~7 per sale.
At #16 was the action comedy released last year that I highly enjoyed, <Exit>. <Exit> was directed by Lee Sang-Geun, and the distribution company of the film was CJ Entertainment. <Exit> starred Jo Jung-Suk, Yoona, Go Doo-Shim, Park In-Hwan, Kim Ji-Young, and Kang Ki-Young, and raked in 79,232,932,162 KRW. The film also record 9,426,131 at the box office, coming to roughly 8406 KRW, about $6~7 per sale.
Next, the #15 spot goes to an older film released in 2009, <Tidal Wave>. <Tidal Wave> was directed by Yoon Je-Kyun, who also directed one of the most emotionally movies, <Ode to My Father>, as well as an upcoming film titled <Hero>. <Tidal Wave> was a disaster film that was distributed by CJ Entertainment, and starred Sol Kyung-Gu, Ha Ji-Won, Park Joong-Hoon, Uhm Jung-Hwa, Lee Min-Ki, Kang Ye-Won, and Kim In-Kwon. The film made 81,027,925,000 KRW, had a total of 11,324,958 at the box office, which means it made about 7155 KRW, about $5~6 per sale.
#14 was the 2013 movie, <The Attorney>. Directed by Yang Woo-Seok, who also directed <Steel Rain> and <Steel Rain 2: Summit>, this drama film was distributed by NEW. <The Attorney> starred Song Kang-Ho, Kim Young-Ae, Oh Dal-Soo, Kwak Do-Won, and Lim Si-Wan, and made 82,874,748,788 KRW, recorded 11,375,123 at the box office, coming to about 7286 KRW, about $5~6 per sale.
The #13 movie was the 2019 film that took the film industry, both Korean and Hollywood, by storm, <Parasite>. <Parasite> was directed by the previously mentioned Bong Joon-Ho, was distributed by CJ Entertainment, and starred Song Kang-Ho, Lee Sun-Kyun, Jo Yeo-Jung, Choi Woo-Shik, Park So-Dam, Lee Jung-Eun, and Jang Hye-Jin. The film grossed 87,456,381,355 KRW, recorded 10,312,551 at the box office, which means it made about 8481 KRW, about $6~7 per sale. Remember, the numbers are based on the Korean market. I’m sure it’d be a lot bigger if it included global sales.
Moving along, the #12 spot was the 2012 Korean historical drama, <Masquerade>. Directed by Chu Chang-Min, the director of <7 Years of Night>, <I Love You>, and <Lost in Love>, <Masquerade> was another film distributed by CJ Entertainment. <Masquerade> featured the cast of Lee Byung-Hun, Ryu Seung-Ryong, Han Hyo-Ju, Kim In-Kwon, Jang Kwang, and Shim Eun-Kyung, and made 88,913,283,469 KRW. The movie also recorded 12,324,062 at the box office, equalling about 7215 KRW, or $5~6 per sale.
At #11 was the 2013 film, <Miracle in Cell No.7>. <Miracle in Cell No.7> was another extremely emotional movie, and was directed by Lee Hwan-Kyung, who also directed <Champ>, and <Lump of Sugar>. The film’s distribution company was NEW, and starred the likes of Ryu Seung-Ryong, Park Shin-Hye, Gal So-Won, Oh Dal-Soo, Park Won-Sang, Kim Jung-Tae, Jung Man-Shik, and Kim Ki-Chun. The film made a total of 91,434,811,670 KRW, recorded 12,811,714 at the box office, which means it made about 7137 KRW, about $5~6 per sale.
The #10 Korean movie that had the highest grossing number was a 2016 film that was one of the most widely known Korean films, globally, <Train to Busan>. <Train to Busan> was directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, who was responsible for directing <Psychokinesis>, as well as the sequel to <Train to Busan>, <Peninsula>. The film was another movie distributed by NEW and had the amazing cast of Gong Yoo, Jung Yoo-Mi, Ma Dong-Seok aka Don Lee, Kim Soo-Ahn, Kim Eui-Sung, Choi Woo-Shik, and Ahn So-Hee. Train to Busan grossed a total of 93,187,397,548 KRW, had 11,567,662 at the box office, coming to roughly around 8056 KRW, or $6~7 per sale.
At #9 was the 2012 action-comedy-crime movie, <The Thieves>. Directed by Choi Dong-Hoon, who famously directed other movies such as <Assassination>, <Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard>, <Tazza: The High Rollers>, and <The Big Swindle>, <The Thieves> was distributed by Showbox. The film was full of top-notch actors Kim Yoon-Seok, Kim Hye-Soo, Lee Jung-Jae, Jun Ji-Hyun, Simon Yam, Kim Hae-Sook, Oh Dal-Soo, Kim Soo-Hyun, and Angelica Lee. The film made a total of 93,672,361,700 KRW, recorded 12,984,692 at the box office, making about 7214 KRW, or $5~6 per sale.
The #8 spot goes to the 2017 film, <A Taxi Driver>. <A Taxi Driver> was directed by Jang Hoon, who was responsible for movies such as <Secret Reunion>, <The Front Line>, and <Rough Cut>. The film’s distribution company was Showbox, and featured Song Kang-Ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hae-Jin, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Park Hyuk-Kwon, and Choi Kwi-Hwa. <A Taxi Driver> was a drama-film that was not only entertaining, but also educational, in terms of Korean history. The movie grossed a total of 95,871,287,649 KRW, had 12,189,654 at the box office, meaning it made around 7865 KRW, or $6~7 per sale.
Next, the #7 movie was the 2016 film, <Assassination>. <Assassination> was another movie directed by Choi Dong-Hoon, who was mentioned earlier for directing <The Thieves>, and was an action drama film distributed by Showbox. The film featured the actors Jun Ji-Hyun, Lee Jung-Jae, Ha Jung-Woo, Oh Dal-Soo, Cho Jin-Woong, and Lee Kyung-Young, and made a total of 98,468,525,781. <Assassination> also recorded 12,706,829 at the box office, making about 7749 KRW, about $6~7 per sale.
Moving along, the #6 spot was the 2018 released fantasy film, <Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days>. Directed by Kim Yong-Hwa, who also directed the first “Along with the Gods,” as well as <Mr. Go>, <Take Off>, and <200 Pounds Beauty>, the second “Along with the Gods” was distributed by Lotte Entertainment. The film starred the likes of Ha Jung-Woo, Ju Ji-Hoon, Kim Hyang-Gi, Kim Dong-Wook, and Don Lee aka Ma Dong-Seok. The movie raked in a total of 102,677,675,409 KRW, recorded 14,411,775 at the box office, which means it made about 7125 KRW, roughly $5~6 per sale.
The #5 highest grossing movie was the 2015 crime-action film, <Veteran>. <Veteran> was directed by Ryu Seung-Wan, who also directed <The Battleship Island>, <The Berlin File>, <The Unjust>, and <Crying Fist>, and the distribution company responsible for the film was CJ Entertainment. The film starred the actors Hwang Jung-Min, Yoo Ah-In, Yoo Hae-Jin, Oh Dal-Soo, and Jang Yoon-Ju, and made a total of 105,170,856,250, recorded 13,414,484 at the box office, making about 7840 KRW, or $6~7 per sale.
Going into the #4 spot, the #4 film on the list of top grossing Korean movies was a film that was briefly mentioned earlier, <Ode to My Father>. Directed by the same director of the #15 film, <Tidal Wave>, Yoon Je-Kyun, this highly emotional drama film was distributed by CJ Entertainment. <Ode to My Father> had a cast lineup of Hwang Jung-Min, Kim Yoon-Jin, Oh Dal-Soo, and Jung Jin-Young, and the film had a total sales of 110,944,262,730 KRW, had a box office record of 14,263,940 at the box office, making roughly 7778 KRW, roughly $6~7 per sale.
The third most highest earning movie out of South Korean cinema was the 2017 film <Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds>. Being directed by the same director of the earlier mentioned <Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days>, Kim Yong-Hwa, the first of the “Along with the Gods” movies was also distributed by the same distribution company, Lotte Entertainment. The film starred nearly the actors as well, including Ha Jung-Woo, Cha Tae-Hyun, Ju Ji-Hoon, Kim Hyang-Gi, Kim Dong-Wook, and Ma Dong-Seok. “Along with the Gods” made a total of 115,707,627,637, recorded 12,276,350 at the box office, making about 9425 KRW, or $7~8 per sale, the highest of this list.
The #2 spot goes to the 2014 film, <The Admiral: Roaring Currents>. <The Admiral: Roaring Currents> holds the record for the highest box office numbers, and was directed by Kim Han-Min, who also directed <War of the Arrows>, <Handphone>, and <Paradise Murdered>. This record-breaking film was distributed by, once again, CJ Entertainment, and starred the amazing actors Choi Min-Shik, Ryu Seung-Ryong, Cho Jin-Woong, Jin Goo, and Lee Jung-Hyun. <The Admiral: Roaring Currents> grossed a total of 135,757,221,810 KRW, and holds the record for the highest box office number at 17,615,658, meaning it made roughly 7707 KRW, about $6~7 per sale.
And finally, the #1 top grossing movie of Korean cinema. The #1 movie goes to the comedy film that was released last year, <Extreme Job>. <Extreme Job> was directed by Lee Byung-Hun, who’s responsible for other movies such as <What a Man Wants> and <Twenty>, and who distributed this movie? You guessed it, CJ Entertainment. Furthermore, <Extreme Job> featured the cast of Ryu Seung-Ryong, Lee Ha-Nee, Jin Sun-Kyu, Lee Dong-Hwi, and Gong Myung. The movie’s total sales number was a whopping 139,655,052,516 KRW, with a box office number of 16,266,240, meaning it made about 8586 KRW, roughly $6~7 per sale.
And that’s it for today’s post on the highest grossing Korean movies. If you have requests for future of Korean movie-related content, please let me know by commenting down below. Also, join the EonTalk Patreon if you would like to really show me your support in the content I make, as well as the EonTalk Telegram group to discuss with other Korean movie lovers.
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Please keep in mind this review is composed of solely my own opinions, and should be taken with a grain of salt. I am in no way a professional writer, nor have I majored or studied journalism. This is for informative entertainment purpose only, representing my personal views. I do not own the images and/or videos used in the review. No copyright infringement intended.