Any discouraging reviews notwithstanding, the third Korean-language production from Warner Bros., V.I.P., has made its box office debut in style, earning $ 6.9 mn over the August 25-27 weekend. In the process, the Park Hoon-jung directed film managed to displace A Taxi Driver from the No. 1 spot.
The crime thriller V.I.P. stars some of Korea’s top stars, including Jang Dong-gun, Lee Jong-suk, Kim Myung-min and Park Hee-soon, as well as the Hollywood actor Peter Stormare. Apart from the stellar cast and a director whose past credits include New World and screenplay for I Saw the Devil, the film has also attracted interest because of the US-South Korea vs North Korea relationship it deals with. The plot revolves around an ‘organized defection’ of the son of a high-ranking North Korean official planned by CIA and South Korea’s NIS, which goes awry because the person becomes a prime suspect in a high profile serial murder case.
V.I.P.’s box office performance, which accounted for a quarter of the ticket sales over the weekend, is particularly impressive considering its ’19 and over’ certification (equivalent to an R-rating). This meant that the Song Kang-ho starring A Taxi Driver, which had been sitting unchallenged at the top since its release on August 2, slipped to the second position. A Taxi Driver has already earned $ 80.1 mn, making it the eleventh biggest release of all time in South Korea.
The top-5 box office rankings were completed by the comedy-action movie Midnight Runners, starring Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul as Korean National Police University cadets, the mystery-thriller The Mimic and the Hollywood sci-fi flick War for the Planet of the Apes in that order.