[Korean Box Office] ‘Beasts Clawing at Straws’ tops a suffering weekend box office

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[Korean Box Office] ‘Beasts Clawing at Straws’ tops a suffering weekend box office

Local box office sales plummeted as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus spiked across the country.

“Beasts Clawing at Straws” finished the slow weekend in the top spot, selling 223,000 tickets to 991 screenings. Although the film pushed its release date back a week in the hopes that the outbreak would subside, the film’s box office sales took a major hit as the number of confirmed cases rapidly increased.

Starring a veteran cast of Jeon Do-yeon, Yoon Yeo-jeong, Jung Woo-sung, Bae Sung-woo and more, the story centers around eight desperate characters each trying to attain a bag of cash that could change their lives.

The Oscar-winning “1917” placed second, drawing 170,000 moviegoers to 884 screens. With field telephones cut by the German army, it is up to two British soldiers to personally carry a message to the Devonshire Regiment to halt a scheduled attack that could kill hundreds of soldiers.

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“Honest Candidate” slid to third place selling 142,000 tickets to 962 screenings.

“Little Women” took fourth place, selling 80,000 tickets to 723 showings, and “The Closet” placed fifth after attracting 27,000 people to 450 screenings.

Over the weekend, a total of 505,000 people visited theaters across the country, less than half of the number from the previous weekend, when 1.2 million people made their way to local cinemas.

Meanwhile, premieres for upcoming films are beginning to be put on indefinite hold until the ongoing outbreak dies down.

Upcoming local films “Time to Hunt” and “Innocence” were the first to call off their scheduled events and put their local premieres on an indefinite hold.

“Time to Hunt,” which was supposed to hit theaters on Wednesday, is director Yoon Sung-hyun’s first thriller and stars Lee Je-hoon, Ahn Jae-hong, Choi Woo-shik, Park Jung-min and Park Hae-soo. The story is set in a dystopian future where four friends work to execute a dangerous plan in the hopes of starting off fresh, but it is cut off by Han (played by Park Hae-soo), a hunter who tries to kill them.

“Innocence,” starring Shin Hae-sun and Bae Jong-ok, was supposed to be released on March 5. The film tells the story of Jung-in (played by Shin), an elite lawyer trying to prove her mother’s innocence. Her mother (played by Bae), suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is a suspect for a murder that occurred at her husband’s funeral. Both films were scheduled to hold press events, promotions and interviews this week, but all events were canceled over the weekend.

CJ ENM announced Monday that the release of a black-and-white version of “Parasite” was also postponed indefinitely. Mystery-thriller “Call,” starring Park Shin-hye and Jun Jong-seo, and documentary “The Wandering Chef” also had their releases delayed.

Pixar film “Onward,” featuring the voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, pushed back its local premiere from March to April.

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

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