South Korea: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ becomes 1st foreign film to top Korean annual box

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” topped the annual South Korean box office last year to become the first foreign film to achieve the feat in 10 years, data showed Jan. 5.

The latest Marvel Studios superhero film garnered a combined 5.56 million people over 17 days after its official release on Dec. 15, according to the data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

It became the No. 1 hit movie of the year, far outnumbering the homegrown disaster film “Escape from Mogadishu,” which posted a total of 3.61 million attendees, and the superhero blockbuster “Eternals” with 3.05 million.

It is the first time in 10 years that a foreign film has topped the local annual chart since 2011 when the American sci-fi action film “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” became the year’s most-watched flick with 7.78 million moviegoers.

The Korean historical action film “War of the Arrows” closely came in second with 7.47 million people.

For the subsequent nine years, Korean films had been at the top of the annual chart, led by big-name hits, like “The Thieves” (2012), “Roaring Currents” (2014), “Veteran” (2015), “Train to Busan” (2016) and “Extreme Job” (2019).

The rare chart reversion in 2021 came as the market share of South Korean films dropped to an all-time low last year amid the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.

Korean movies attracted 18.2 million people last year, accounting for 30.1% of the total audience of 60.5 million, while 42.3 million chose foreign titles.

It is the lowest portion of Korean films since KOFIC started to compile box office data in 2004, beating the previous record of 42.1% set in 2008.