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The Best Selling Films of 1998

    Domestic Films                       Tickets        Release
1.  "A Promise"                          720,000*       Nov 14
2.  "Whispering Corridors"               621,032        May 30
3.  "Art Museum by the Zoo"              450,000*       Dec 19
4.  "Christmas in August"                422,930        Jan 24
5.  "The Soul Guardians"                 419,201        Aug 15
6.  "The Quiet Family"                   343,946        Apr 25
7.  "An Affair"                          304,666        Oct 3
8.  "Girls' Night Out"                   290,502        Oct 3
9.  "If the Sun Rose in the West"        220,000*       Dec 19
10. "Spring in my Hometown"              188,000*       Nov 21
    Overall Figures                      Tickets       Release
1.  "Titanic" (U.S.)                   1,971,780       Feb 20
2.  "Armageddon" (U.S.)                1,170,252       Jul 3
3.  "Mulan" (U.S.)                       771,194       Jul 17
4.  "Prince of Egypt" (U.S.)             750,000*      Dec 19
5.  "A Promise" (Korea)                  720,000*      Nov 14
6.  "Deep Impact" (U.S.)                 637,387       May 16
7.  "Whispering Corridors" (Korea)       621,032       May 30
8.  "Saving Private Ryan" (U.S.)         620,000       Sep 12
9.  "Alien 4" (U.S.)                     571,751       Jan 10
10. "007 Never Die" (U.S.)               479,621       Aug 1

Films in Seoul are universally priced at 6000 won (~$5.00). The figures above represent the total number of tickets sold for each film. All of the listed films were released in 1998, however figures with an asterisk(*) include tickets sold in 1999.

Source: Cine21 Magazine weekly listings


august.jpg (36146 bytes)Christmas in August

Director Hur Jin-Ho    Actors Han Seok-kyu, Shim Eun-ha 

 The film was shot in a secluded area outside of Seoul and centers on a small photography shop owned by the main character Han Surk-kyu. We learn soon into the film that he has a disease which leaves him only a short time to live. He meets Darim Shim Eun-ha, a meter reader who drops by his studio to develop pictures of parking violators. As she becomes a part of his daily routine he finds himself becoming more and more attached to her.


family.jpg (36106 bytes)The Quiet Family

Director Kim Ji-woon    Actors Choi Min-shik, Song Gang-ho, Ko Ho-kyoung, 

 This film documents the efforts a family of six who open a lodge at the edge of a mountain trail. At first, no customers come, which leaves them feeling hurt and angry, but their frustration then turns to horror as the guests that do arrive all turn up dead in the morning. The family's efforts to cover up the situation, and the extent to which they become habituated to it, provides the main development in this funny and somewhat sick dissection of human nature.


highschool2.jpg (17277 bytes)Whispering Corridors

Director Park Ki-Hyung

It will be impossible to understand this film without first developing an appreciation for the experience of Korean high school. The degree of pressure placed on Korean high school students is unrivalled anywhere else in the world, and competition is so fierce that students often remain at school from 6 a.m. until ten or twelve at night. Class bullying and teachers' preferential treatment of certain students remain a major problem which is much-discussed but steadily worsening. Many of my students recall their high school experiences with a shudder and express their relief to have moved on to the university.


tmr.jpg (46784 bytes)The Soul Guardians

Director Park Kwang-choon

Apart from its connection to the novel, this film generated interest due to its advanced computer technology and special effects. The Korean film industry has benefitted recently from the opening of the Seoul Cinema Complex, a new center for filmmaking. The Soul Guardians was one of the first films to make use of these expanded capabilities. It proved to be success at the box office, even if it did receive only lukewarm critical reviews.


jungsa.jpg (14983 bytes)An Affair

Director Lee Jae-Yong, Actors Lee Jung-jae, Lee Mi-sook

 Seo-Hyun, who lives in Seoul with her husband and son, first meets her sister's fiancee in order to help the couple find a new apartment. Her sister is held up in America, and so the two new acquaintances start to arrange the details of the wedding together. As time passes they find themselves drawn to each other, and eventually start having an affair.


dinner.jpg (70182 bytes)Girls' Night Out

Director Lim Sang-Soo  

Four Korean women' life story. It seems designed to shock and therefore force viewers to define their feelings about sex, by introducing topics that aren't usually discussed on the screen or on television. In doing so, perhaps the film will encourage viewers to reshape their attitudes towards themselves and towards others.

promise.jpg (10402 bytes)A Promise

Directed by Kim Yoo-Jin, Acoter Park Shin-yang, Jeon Do-yeon

A Promise more than anything else is shaped around the character of the doctor; a bright, confident woman who demands as much from her relationship as she is willing to put into it. The performance given by Jeon Do-yeon is, in my opinion, the main factor in this film's popular success. In return, the film has made her into one of the industry's most recognized and biggest new stars.

museum.jpg (28898 bytes)Art Museum by the Zoo

Directed by a woman Lee Jeong-hyang Actors Shim Eun-ha, Lee Sung-jae

 The story is reportedly based on events from the director's own life. On leave from the military, a man named Chul-Soo arrives at his fiancee's apartment and finds her not at home. He cleans the apartment and prepares dinner for her, only to discover that she has moved out, and another woman is now renting the apartment. When a few days later his fiancee tells him she is marrying another man, he has nowhere to go, and ends up staying at the apartment.