Wow. Zero Hollywood films in the top-10 this week. None. Nada. Zip. In all my years in Korea, I cannot remember that ever happening before. I would say that I am speechless, but I am always speechless (this is typing after all).

In the top spot was the latest in the MARRYING THE MAFIA series, GAMUN-UI BUHWAL (“Rebirth of the Family”). I found the first MtM to be rather unfunny, but the idea was cute enough — a family of gangsters seek out a “prestigious” marriage for their daughter, basically forcing her on a poor, nerdy academic. Few on that cast made it to the first sequel, about a gangster’s daughter-in-law who is also a star prosecutor, aiming to stamp out the mob. For this sequel, most of the cast from the first sequel is back. With the main family now out of the mob and trying to go straight (as kimchi makers), the story is getting kind of threadbare. But with 1.2 million people going for the opening weekend, I guess the brass Taewon Entertainment know what they are doing.

It looks like Zhang Ziyi, Danny Wu and Feng Xiaogang’s publicity trip to Seoul last week helped out the debut of THE BANQUET, which opened in No. 3. All three were quite smart with the local media, talking about how much they like shopping at Dongdaemun (Zhang) or how much they want a Korean crew for their next movie (Feng).

A more interesting and surprising debut this week comes from Pedro Almodovar’s VOLVER at No. 9 — not bad for a film on just eight screens (six of which are in Seoul). I’m pretty sure VOLVER is being distributed in Korea by Sponge House, a small, independent distributor that is doing a lot of interesting things, despite its size (or maybe because of it).

Looks like I was wrong about THE HOST. Which did not make it to 13 million last week, and now that it is down to 71 theaters, I guess it will not make it. Well, not until Showbox (its distributor) finds some “uncounted” admissions or sends all of its staff to see it or whatever. It is pretty close now to 13 million, so it would not take much to push it over the top.

Also looks like THE SINKING OF JAPAN will not make it to 1 million admissions. The film has done quite well in Korea, but I am not sure if it has beaten LOVE LETTER yet. The two are pretty close.

This Week Title…………………………………. Release Date Screens Nationwide Weekend Attendance (Seoul only) Total Attendance
1. Marrying the Mafia 3: Gamun-ui Buhwal 9.21 500 249,600 1,252,200
2. Maundy Thursday 9.14 471 140,500 2,055,600
3. The Banquet 9.21 254 58,800 223,600
4. Between Love and Hate 9.07 165 15,000 645,000
5. Puzzle 9.14 196 12,500 258,800
6. Mudori 9.21 163 10,000 51,000
7. Like a Virgin 8.31 59 6,500 663,000
8. The Host 7.27 71 4,700 12,965,700
9. Volver 9.21 8 4,100 5,400
10. Sinking of Japan 8.31 37 800 939,500

(source: Film 2.0)

The strange thing is, this Hollywood-less condition could conceivably last. Next week, the only Western films on the schedule are the animated film ANT BULLY and MRS. DALLOWAY. ANT BULLY did very poorly in the United States, and who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?

(Sorry, there was no excuse for that…)