The film enjoyed record levels of pre-sales, significant teaser activity the previous weekend and opened officially on Wednesday.
Over the weekend proper it rounded up $21.1 million from 2,500 screens nationwide, according to KOBIS, the tracking service operated by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).
Its five-day cumulative (including the previews) is an astonishing $29.1 million, which makes it the second biggest film of the year, behind only “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and by far the highest grossing Korean film of the year to date.
Those figures were earned from 2.5 million spectators between Friday and Sunday, and 3.5 million in five days. They represented 86% of the aggregate nationwide weekend box office, far ahead of second-placed “Doctor Strange.”
In premium venues, “The Roundup” earned $700,000 from 17 Imax screens, making it the second highest Imax opening of all time for a Korean title.
The film is a sequel to 2017 hit “The Outlaw” in which Don Lee (aka Ma Dong-seok) inhabits the role of a tough guy policeman, nicknamed a beast cop. In “The Roundup” Lee’s character travels to Vietnam for an extradition, but once there discovers a trail of other murders.
The box office recovery in South Korea began at the beginning of this month when COVID restrictions were significantly reduced nationwide and anticipated blockbuster “Doctor Strange” hit Korean screens.
The contrast with the miserable month of March is stark. Average national box office was below $3 million per weekend. The monthly aggregate was as low as $21.2 million, and spectators numbered only 2.8 million.
Behind the weekend market leader, “Doctor Strange” slipped to second place, with a 62% slide and $2.71 million between Friday and Sunday. After nearly three weeks in Korean cinemas it has amassed a $45.3 million cumulative.
There was a large gap to third place, inhabited by U.S. animation “The Bad Guys.” It earned $268,000 for a three-weekend cumulative of $2.81 million.
No other title earned more than $100,000 over the weekend.