Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 02/07/2022

Bona Film GroupNew Classics Pictures /
Fun Age Pictures
Dirty Monkeys Studio

Over the lucrative Lunar New Year break, patriotic blockbuster The Battle at Lake Changjin II led the box office with $395 million during the Feb. 1-6 period. Comedy Too Cool to Kill raked in $217 million, ahead of drama Nice View with $104 million. Domestic animation Boonie Bears: Back to Earth earned $88.8 million, followed by Han Han’s motorbike adventure Only Fools Rush In ($79.3 million) and Zhang Yimou’s war drama Snipers ($41.1 million).

Overall, the box office across the country for the six-day holiday period totaled RMB6.02 billion or $947 million – that is 23.3% lower than 2021’s Lunar New Year break. More worrisome, 114 million tickets were sold, which was a big drop compared to the 160 million tickets sold in 2021.

After a flurry that lasted only for the duration of the recent Lunar New Year holidays, the theatrical box office in South Korea slumped again over the latest weekend. Nationwide, Korean cinemas earned just $3.22 million between Friday and Sunday. The top spot was retained by The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure with a $1.35 million weekend score.

The Lunar New Year holidays – if measured from the previous Saturday until Wednesday (Jan 29-Feb. 2, 2022) – attracted 1.36 million spectators into Korean theaters. In 2020, on the eve of the pandemic, the equivalent figure was ticket sales of 4.9 million.

Between October and December, the Nintendo Switch sold nearly 11 million units, bringing its lifetime sales to over 103 million. In under five years, the Nintendo Switch has outsold the Wii’s 101.6 million lifetime sales. On the software front, Pokémon remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl sold very well with 13.97 million units moved between them. Mario Party Superstars sold 5.43 million units, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD sold 3.85 million, and Metroid Dread sold 2.74 million, which is a strong result for the historically niche franchise.

Sony has revealed the covers for MLB The Show 22 and these include a manga-inspired cover by Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki of Japanese superstar pitcher/homerun-hitter Shohei Ohtani. This special cover will grace the collector’s edition of the game.

Driven by the iPhone 13’s stellar performance, Apple regained its throne in the Chinese smartphone market during the fourth quarter of 2021, with a market share reaching 22%, delivering 18.5 million units over the period, according to a report by Strategy Analytics. A report by Counterpoint Research suggested that this is the first time in six years that Apple has claimed the top spot in the country. Meanwhile, Huawei garnered a market share of just 7% in China during the last three months of 2021 with sales plummeting 73% year-on-year amid the US sanction.

Five Korean companies spanning the tech, gaming, and entertainment sectors have banded together to build a large production studio and complex in Gyeonggi Province. The backers of the project include YN Culture&Space (YN C&S), an affiliate of YG Entertainment, portal site giant Naver, gaming company Nexon, VFX and production company Wysiwyg Studios and their subsidiary NP.

Nexon’s investment in the project is reported to be KRW 15 billion ($12.44 million), while Wysiwyg added a KRW 10 billion ($8.3 million) investment on top of their original KRW 10 billion stake after Nexon joined the venture.

For the third time in five months, a drama series helmed by a Korean film director has topped the global Netflix rankings. Lee Jaekyoo’s All of Us Are Dead shot to the top spot on the global streaming service during its launch ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in Korea. It follows the chart-topping success of Squid Game and Yeon Sangho’s Hellbound.

According to Netflix’s Top 10 metrics site, All of Us Are Dead was the top program on the service, logging 124.79 million hours of viewing time in the January 24-30 week (the series debuted on January 28). This was almost double the opening weekend viewership of Squid Game, which had a quieter 63.19-million-hour launch, a tally that later ballooned to over 2 billion hours.