‘The Lion King’ continues box office reign in week two

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‘The Lion King’ continues box office reign in week two

It appears that Disney can do no wrong with their remakes as local audiences rush to theaters to unwrap the latest treat the company has prepared for them and see how their favorite childhood animations have come to life.

“The Lion King” topped the local box office charts for the second week in a row as 837,000 people saw the film at 1,435 screens.

Local film “The King’s Letters” debuted in second place over the weekend, selling 471,000 tickets at 1,083 screens. Although director Cho Chul-hyun’s debut film was cleared of allegations of copyright infringement, some criticized the film for distorting historical facts by denying King Sejong’s influence on the creation of the national letter system hangul and instead giving credit to a hidden helper, Buddhist monk Shin-mi.

Set in 1443, King Sejong is stuck. For years he has been secretly working alone on a project to create Joseon’s (1392-1910) national language system so that all of his people can learn to read and write and ultimately, develop a civilization superior to China, the country’s all-powerful neighbor.

Sensing the king’s frustration, Queen Soheon enlists the help of Buddhist monk Shin-mi who is known to have adapted multiple phonetic languages based on Sanskrit. Although the king and the monk have trouble getting along at first, the two eventually set aside their different values, putting their heads together to create hangul still in use today.

Although “Aladdin” fell a spot in the rankings, the film held on to the third spot, gathering 436,000 moviegoers at 1,015 screens over the weekend. The film set another record last week after the number of tickets sold for 4DX screenings of the film surpassed one million. Overall, “Aladdin” has been seen by more than 11 million viewers as of Sunday.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” dropped to fourth place, selling 198,000 tickets at 688 screenings.

Local animated film “Red Shoes” reached the fifth spot in its debut weekend by attracting 172,000 moviegoers through 717 screens.

Loosely based on the famous fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the story revolves around Princess Snow’s journey to find her missing father. Along the way, she comes across a magical pair of red shoes that make whoever is wearing them beautiful. With the shoes on her feet, she meets the seven princes who have been cursed and turned into green, stumpy dwarfs. Only a true love’s kiss is able to break the curse. When they meet the princess, they attempt to appeal to her to win her love.

Meanwhile, in the North American box office, “The Lion King” claimed the top spot in its second weekend in theaters, and ‘Once Upon A Time ... In Hollywood,” while not quite doing major numbers, gave director Quentin Tarantino his biggest opening ever.

Disney’s photorealistic remake of the Hamlet-themed tale of Mufasa, Simba and Nala, featuring the voices of Donald Glover and Beyonce, brought in $75 million in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its domestic total of $350 million makes it the year’s fourth highest-grossing film after just 10 days of release.

“Once Upon A Time ... In Hollywood” finished a distant second with $40 million in its opening weekend for Sony, but it bested the 2009 opening of Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” by some $2 million and made a strong showing for an R-rated, nearly three hour-long film that was not a sequel or remake and was aimed solely at adults.

The film with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie as denizens of a 1969 Los Angeles where old Hollywood was fading and the Manson family was rising was more star-powered than Tarantino’s previous eight movies, though the director himself was as big a draw as anyone.

“In our fan survey, over 40 percent of the audience went to see the movie because of the director,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “That’s incredible. You almost never see that. Sony did a great job of putting that cast and certainly Tarantino at the front of the marketing. That collective star power just paid huge dividends.”

But with all of that, the film’s opening take was still nearly doubled by “The Lion King” and its broad appeal.

“‘Lion King’ has appealed to everyone. That’s a second-weekend gross that would be the envy of most films on their opening weekend,’’ Dergarabedian said.

The two-week take is also a sign that audiences are not yet feeling fatigue for Disney’s live-action remakes in a year that has already seen “Dumbo” and “Aladdin.”

“The idea that remake burnout would be in effect for ‘The Lion King’ has not proven true,” Dergarabedian said. “Some brands are inoculated from that kind of negative speculation.”

The rest of the box office top 10 remained essentially unchanged from a week earlier. Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was third with $12.2 million in its fourth weekend and has earned a cumulative $344 million, “Toy Story 4” was fourth with $9.8 million, and “Crawl” fifth with $4 million.

BY LEE JAE-LIM, AP [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]
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