Updated: August 2, 2022
Here are eight of the most popular and top-grossing films in South Korea in 2022, according to Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS):
1. The Roundup | $100,471,409
The Roundup (2022) is South Korea’s most popular movie today, post-pandemic. It took first place on this year’s list of top-grossing films in the country with a total gross of $100,471,409 and 12,691,379 admissions, as of August 2nd.
The crime-action film also broke records during its opening with 467,525 moviegoers and recognized as the best opening in the last 882 days. It surpassed 1 million admissions in 2 days and remarkably crossed 10 million ticket sales on its 25th day, becoming the first Korean film to reach such record since Parasite (2019).
It also took third place on the list of highest-grossing films of all time in South Korea, surpassing the record of Train To Busan (2016). In terms of box-office revenue worldwide this year, it ranks 21st according to Box Office Mojo.
Meanwhile, The Roundup (2022), is a sequel of the film The Outlaws (2017), which earned $52,946,454 and achieved 7 wins out of 24 nominations.
Genre: Crime, Action
Synopsis: A police officer travels to Vietnam to extradite a suspect and discovers a murderer who has been targeting tourists for years.
Running time: 106 minutes
Starring: Ma Dong-seok, Son Su-kku, Choi Gwi-hwa
Writer: Kim Min-seong
Director: Lee Sang-yong
Cinematographer: Ju Seong-rim
Distributor: ABO Entertainment
Release Date: May 18, 2022
2. Hansan: Rising Dragon | $22,225,732
The war-action film, Hansan: Rising Dragon (2022) appears to be one of the fastest to top South Korea’s box office this year. Before its official release, it attained 147,909 presales and surpassed the presale tickets of Parasite (2019). It achieved 2 million admissions in a matter of five days.
Meanwhile, Hansan: Rising Dragon (2022) is the second film of the trilogy battles with its story set five years before The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014), which is the second highest grossing film of all time in South Korea.
Genre: War, Action, Historical
Synopsis: The film depicts the historical Battle of Hansan which took place five years before Battle of Myeongnyang depicted in The Admiral.
Running time: 129 minutes
Starring: Park Hae-il, Byun Yo-han, Ahn Seong-gi, Son Hyun-joo, Kim Sung-kyu, Kim Sung-kyun, Kim Hyang-gi, Ok Taec-yeon, Gong Myung, Park Ji-hwan, Jo Jae-yeon
Writer: Kim Han-min, Yun Hong-gi
Director: Kim Han-min
Cinematographer: Kim Tae-seong
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Release Date: July 27, 2022
3. The Witch: Part 2, The Other One | $22,125,278
Park Hoon-jung’s The Witch: Part 2, The Other One (2022) is one of the most anticipated sequel films this year. It was released on June 15th and has reached $12,939,752 gross earnings and 1,622,617 moviegoers in less than a week. As of August 2nd, it has attained $22,125,278 and 2,803,936 ticket sales, becoming the third most watched film in South Korea of 2022, so far.
Meanwhile, The Witch: Part 2, The Other One (2022) is Lee Jong-suk’s comeback project after his military duties. It also stars Park Eun-bin from The King’s Affection (2021), Jo Min-su, a returning cast who plays the doctor, and Shin Si-ah, who plays the protagonist.
The said mystery-action movie is a sequel of The Witch: Part 1, The Subversion (2018), which earned $21,068,855 and achieved 12 wins out of 21 nominations.
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Action
Synopsis: A girl wakes up in a secret laboratory and meets Kyung-hee, who is trying to protect her from a gang. When the gang finally finds the girl, they are overwhelmed by an unexpected power.
Running time: 137 minutes
Starring: Shin Si-ah, Jo Min-su, Park Eun-bin, Lee Jong-suk
Writer: Park Hoon-jung
Director: Park Hoon-jung
Cinematographer: Kim Young-ho
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Release Date: June 15, 2022
4. Decision To Leave | $13,451,015
The mystery-romantic film, Decision To Leave (2022) by Park Chan-wook, achieved the no.1 spot during its opening with 114,592 moviegoers and crossed 1 million admissions after two weeks of release. As of August 2nd, it has earned a total gross of $13,451,015 and 1,700,560 admissions, becoming the fourth top grossing Korean film of 2022, surpassing The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure and Broker.
Decision To Leave (2022) was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes International Film Festival. Park Chan-wook was named the Best Director at the said prestigious film event.
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Synopsis: A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains ends up meeting and developing feelings for the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.
Running time: 138 minutes
Starring: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il
Writer and Director: Park Chan-wook
Cinematographer: Kim Ji-yong
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Release Date: May 23, 2022 (Cannes Film Festival); June 29, 2022 (South Korea)
5. Alienoid | $11,318,233
Meanwhile, it was announced to be the closing film at New York Asian Film Festival and to be screened for North American premiere on July 31st. It also received an invitation to the Fantasia International Film Festival and to be screened for Canadian Premiere on August 1st.
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Synopsis: Gurus in the late Goryeo dynasty try to obtain a fabled, holy sword, and humans in 2022 hunt down an alien prisoner that is locked in a human’s body. The two parties cross paths when a time-traveling portal opens up.
Running time: 142 minutes
Starring: Ryu Jun-yeol, Kim Woo-bin, Kim Tae-ri, So Ji-sun, YumJung-ah, Jo Woo-jin, Kim Eui-sung
Writer-Director: Choi Dong-hoon
Cinematographer: Kim Tae-kyung
Distributor: CJ ENM
Release Date: July 20, 2022
6. Broker | $9,630,042
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker (2022) opened with 146,221 ticket sales and reached 1 million moviegoers in 11 days. So far, it has earned a total of $9,630,042 and 1,260,646 admissions.
The film stars top Korean actors, namely Song Kang-ho from Parasite (2019), Bae Doona from Kingdom series (2019-2020), Gang Dong-won from Peninsula (2020), and Lee Ji-eun from My Mister (2018), who is also known as IU, an award-winning Korean singer.
Broker (2022) was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes International Film Festival. On May 26th, it received a 12-minute standing ovation after its official screening in the said event. According to various reports, it is the most overwhelming audience recognition in the history of Korean film. The actors were also praised by watchers and critics for their outstanding performances.
Meanwhile, the movie took home the Ecumenical Jury Award and Song Kang-ho won Best Actor at the said glamorous international film event.
Synopsis: It revolves around characters associated with baby boxes, which allow infants to be dropped off anonymously to be cared for by others.
Running time: 129 minutes
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Bae Doona, Gang Dong-won, Lee Ji-eun (IU)
Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cinematographer: Hong Kyung-pyo
Distributor: CJ E&M
Release Date: May 26, 2022 (Cannes Film Festival) June 8, 2022 (South Korea)
7. The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure | $9,585,155
The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (2022) made history as the first Korean film to reach 1 million moviegoers in 2022, despite the COVID-19 concerns. In total, it earned $9,585,155 and 1,339,242 ticket sales.
After a month, it was released on Netflix internationally and entered the list of Global Top 10 Films in the non-English category for 4 consecutive weeks. It reached Top 10 in 67 countries and garnered a total of 36.5 million viewing hours.
Meanwhile, the said adventure film is a sequel of The Pirates (2014), which earned $64,414,955 and achieved 10 wins out of 23 nominations.
Genre: Period, Adventure
Synopsis: A gutsy crew of Joseon pirates and bandits battle stormy waters, puzzling clues and militant rivals in search of royal gold lost at sea.
Running time: 126 minutes
Starring: Kang Ha-neul, Han Hyo-joo
Writer: Chun Sung-il
Director: Kim Jeong-Hoon
Cinematographers: Shin Tae-ho, Kim Young-ho
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Release Date: January 26, 2022 (South Korea) March 2, 2022 (Netflix International)
8. Kingmaker | $5,634,383
Kingmaker (2022) is one of the most talked-about movies in the first half of the year, which opened with 58,974 admissions on January 26th. Despite the COVID-19 concerns, it earned a total of $5,634,383 and 783,450 ticket sales. After a month, it was released in various streaming platforms including WAVVE, Naver TV, TVING, and others.
It is worth noting that Kingmaker (2022) earned 7 nominations at the 58th Baeksang Arts Awards in May 2022. Byun Sung-hun won the Best Director in Film, Sol Kyung-gu won the Best Actor in Film, and Jo Woo-jin won the Best Supporting Actor in Film. The said political film was also invited at the 24th Udine Far East Film Festival in April 2022.
Synopsis: A politician dreams of changing the world with an excellent campaign strategist behind.
Running time: 123 minutes
Starring: Sol Kyung-gu, Lee Sun-kyun, Yoo Jae-myun
Writer: Byun Sung-Hyun
Director: Byun Sung-Hyun
Cinematographer: Jo Hyung-rae
Distributor: Megabox JoongAng PlusM
Release Date: January 26, 2022