8 Must-Watch Korean Films That Had Over 10 Million Ticket Sales
Since the world of movie theaters has recently reopened, people are eager to go watch movies in the theater again. There are many Korean movies to look forward to, and many movies have gained a lot of international recognition. Here are just eight movies that were box offices successes, managing to accumulate more than 10 million ticket sales.
List is in no particular order.
Taking place in the afterlife, three grim reapers (played by Ha Jung Woo, Kim Hyang Gi, and Joo Ji Hoon) guide a firefighter named Kim Ja Hong (Cha Tae Hyun), helping him for the next 49 days. They are to pass seven trials within those days, and if they are successful, he will be reincarnated. The grim reapers will also be one step closer to being reincarnated themselves.
There really isn’t a single boring part in this movie. With every completion of the trials, viewers were constantly anticipating what would happen next. The movie is based on the webtoon series and was released in South Korea on December 20, 2017. The response for the movie continued to grow after its release, and by the end of the year, it had attracted more than 10 million viewers in just 15 days. The success of the movie was so massive that there was a sequel produced called “Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days,” which was also able to pass the 10 million ticket sales mark.
Start watching “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” here:
2. “A Taxi Driver”
In “A Taxi Driver,” Song Kang Ho plays a hardworking man who is desperately trying to make ends meet as a taxi driver. He agrees to take a German journalist named Peter to Gwangju and back to Seoul in one day for 100,000 won. Peter is hoping to report on the political struggles happening in the city.
Released in August 2, 2017, critics responded to the movie positively. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, and it was the second highest grossing film that year. By September 3rd, the movie had attracted more than 11 million viewers. People couldn’t help but feel emotional about the bond between the taxi driver and the journalist, as well as the turmoil that the two experience as they travel to Gwangju.
Start watching “A Taxi Driver” here:
3. “The Attorney”
Song Kang Ho stars as Song Woo Seok, an attorney specializing in tax law. His goal is to make money, and he does not really care about doing what’s right. But he meets Park Jin Woo (Im Siwan), a student activist who is charged of a crime. Woo Seok takes the case and defends Jin Woo, and while doing this, his perspective on life and law completely shifts.
Based on a real life case that happened in South Korea, “The Attorney” was critically acclaimed. Within just 10 days of being released, the movie had over 3 million in ticket sales. The series also went on to win many awards, bringing even more recognition to the movie. Seeing Im Si Wan and Song Kang Ho’s acting chemistry on the big screen drew in a lot of interest and positive feedback.
Watch “The Attorney”:
Directed and written by Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite” stars Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Gyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, and Park So Dam. The story involves a poor family that schemes their way into living in a wealthy family’s house.
“Parasite” had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 where it became the first South Korean flick to win the Palme d’Or, which is a huge honor. Later that month, it was released in South Korea and was positively received. On top of being a massive success at the box office, “Parasite” went on to be the first ever South Korean film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Bong Joon Ho was also rewarded for his work as he won Best Director.
Lee Jung Jae plays Yeom Seok Jin, a Korean resistance fighter who tries to kill the governor general but gets captured. Japan eventually gains complete control over Korea, and Seok Jin continues to fight as an officer in the Korean resistance during the 1930’s. He gathers a team of fighters, and their goal is to kill pro-Japanese businessman Kang In Guk (Lee Kyung Young) as well as a Japanese general.
The success of “Assassination” was monumental as it focused around the historical events that occurred during Japan’s occupation of Korea. The film included an all-star cast of famous Korean actors and drew in a total of almost 13 million ticket sales. It also won Best Film at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards as well as at the 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards. The story was especially brought to life through Jun Ji Hyun playing two roles of sniper Ahn Ok Yoon and her sister Mitsuko. Her showdown scenes were immensely engaging, keeping viewers invested in the story.
Start watching “Assassination” here:
6. “The Outlaws”
Ma Seok Do (Ma Dong Seok) is a detective who is trying to track down a group of men who are creating havoc in his neighborhood. There are loan sharks run by Jang Chen (Yoon Kye Sang), ruthlessly killing people and not afraid of anyone who gets in their way. Fortunately, Ma Seok Do is fearless and always gets what he wants. He makes it his mission to take Jang Chen and his followers down.
The success of “The Outlaws” was outstanding as it only took a few weeks for the movie to surpass 10 million ticket sales. It is one of the most highest grossing films of all time, and the recent sequel, “The Outlaws 2,” has also managed to pass the 10 million ticket sales mark. Seeing Ma Dong Seok square off with the most evil of villains seems to be very satisfying to viewers as both of the films have been received so positively.
Watch “The Outlaws” here:
Hwang Jung Min plays Seo Do Cheol, a detective who is trying to take down a large conglomeration. The film also stars Yoo Ah In as Jo Tae Oh, a villain who is cold-blooded and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The two come head to head, risking everything they have to bring the other down.
This series had all elements of action and comedy, mixed into one. And when you have Yoo Ah In and Hwang Jung Min as the two main stars, you’re in for an exhilarating ride. The movie drew in over 13 million ticket sales, which means it is one the top five most highest grossing flicks in South Korean film history. Several scenes and lines in the movie also continue to be parodied and remembered by viewers today.
8. “Train to Busan”
Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager in Seoul and is separated from his wife. The two have a daughter named Soo An, but she lives with Seok Woo. On the night before her birthday, Soo An begs her father to go see her mom in Busan. He finally caves and decides to take her via train. What they don’t know is that on this train, there is a passenger who has been bitten and infected by zombies. Soon it becomes a train ride where they have to fight for survival.
“Train to Busan” premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was released in Korea a few months later. It took no time at all to exceed 10 million viewers. The thrill of making sure that Seok Woo and his daughter made it out of the train alive became the driving premise of the movie. People were invested and a little terrified of the very horrific and mobile zombies, and it kept viewers on the edge of their seats throughout.
Watch “Train to Busan”:
Hey Soompiers, which of these box office hit Korean movies is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG but has lately been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!