8 Must-See Korean Movies That Have Recorded Over 10 Million Ticket Sales

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Since the world of movie theaters has recently reopened, people have been eager to go watch movies in theaters again. There are plenty of Korean movies to look forward to, and many movies have gained great international recognition. Here are just eight movies that were box office hits, managing to rack up over 10 million in ticket sales.

The list is in no particular order.

1. “With the gods: the two worlds”

Set in the afterlife, three grim reapers (played by Ha Jung Woo, Kim Hyang Gi, and Joo Ji Hoon) guide a firefighter named Kim Ja Hong (Cha Tae Hyun), helping him for the next 49 days. They must pass seven trials during these days, and if they pass, he will reincarnate. Reapers will also be a little closer to reincarnating themselves.

There really isn’t a single boring part in this movie. With each end of the trials, viewers were constantly anticipating what was to happen next. The film is based on the webtoon series and was released in South Korea on December 20, 2017. Response for the film continued to grow after its release, and by the end of the year it had attracted over 10 million likes. viewers in just 15 days. The film’s success was so massive that there was a sequel called “Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days”, which also managed to surpass the 10 million ticket sales mark.

Start watching “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” here:

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2. “A taxi driver”

In “A Taxi Driver,” Song Kang Ho plays a hardworking man who desperately tries to make ends meet as a taxi driver. He agrees to take a German journalist named Peter to Gwangju and back to Seoul in one day for 100,000 won. Peter hopes to report on the political struggles taking place in the city.

Released on August 2, 2017, critics responded positively to the film. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards and was the second highest-grossing film that year. As of September 3, the film had attracted over 11 million viewers. People couldn’t help but be moved by the bond between the taxi driver and the reporter, as well as the turmoil the two experienced as they traveled to Gwangju.

Start watching “A Taxi Driver” here:

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3. “The Prosecutor”

Song Kang Ho stars as Song Woo Seok, a tax lawyer. His goal is to make money and he doesn’t really care about doing the right thing. But he meets Park Jin Woo (Im Siwan), a student activist accused of a crime. Woo Seok takes the case and defends Jin Woo, and in doing so, his outlook on life and the law completely changes.

Based on a real case that happened in South Korea, “The Attorney” won critical acclaim. In just 10 days after its release, the film had over 3 million ticket sales. The series also won numerous awards, bringing even more recognition to the film. Seeing Im Si Wan and Song Kang Ho’s acting chemistry on the big screen has garnered a lot of interest and positive feedback.

Watch “The Prosecutor”:

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4. “Parasite”

Directed and written by Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite” stars Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Gyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, and Park So Dam. The story involves a poor family preparing to live in a wealthy family’s house.

“Parasite” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, which is a huge honor. Later that month it was released in South Korea and was well received. Besides being a huge box office success, “Parasite” became the first South Korean film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Bong Joon Ho was also rewarded for his work by winning the Best Director award.

5. “Assassination”

Lee Jung Jae plays Yeom Seok Jin, a Korean resistance fighter who attempts to kill the Governor General but gets captured. Japan eventually takes full control of Korea, and Seok Jin continues to fight as an officer in the Korean resistance in the 1930s. He assembles a team of fighters, and their goal is to kill the man of pro-Japanese businessman Kang In Guk (Lee Kyung Young) as well as a Japanese general.

The success of “Assassination” was monumental as it focused on historical events that occurred during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The film featured an all-star cast of famous Korean actors and drew a total of nearly 13 million in ticket sales. It also won Best Film at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards as well as the 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards. The story mostly came to life thanks to Jun Ji Hyun playing dual roles as sniper Ahn Ok Yoon and his sister Mitsuko. Its confrontational scenes were extremely engaging, keeping viewers invested in the story.

Start watching “Assassination” here:

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6. “The Outlaws”

Ma Seok Do (Ma Dong Seok) is a detective trying to track down a group of men who are causing havoc in his neighborhood. There are loan sharks led by Jang Chen (Yoon Kye Sang), killing people without mercy and not afraid of anyone who gets in their way. Fortunately, Ma Seok Do is fearless and always gets what he wants. He makes it his mission to bring down Jang Chen and his followers.

The success of “The Outlaws” was exceptional as it only took a few weeks for the film to top 10 million in ticket sales. It’s one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and the recent sequel, “The Outlaws 2,” also managed to top the 10 million ticket mark. Seeing Ma Dong Seok take on the baddest of villains seems to be very satisfying for viewers, since both films have been so positively received.

Watch “The Outlaws” here:

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7. “Veteran”

Hwang Jung Min plays Seo Do Cheol, a detective who tries to bring down a large conglomerate. The film also stars Yoo Ah In as Jo Tae Oh, a cold-blooded villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The two clash, risking everything they have to bring the other down.

This series had all the elements of action and comedy, mixed into one. And when you have Yoo Ah In and Hwang Jung Min as two main stars, you’re ready for an exhilarating adventure. The film drew over 13 million in ticket sales, which means it is one of the five highest-grossing films in South Korean cinema history. Several scenes and lines from the film also continue to be parodied and remembered by viewers today.

8. “Train to Busan”

Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager in Seoul and is estranged from his wife. The two have a daughter named Soo An, but she lives with Seok Woo. On the eve of her birthday, Soo An begs her father to go see her mother in Busan. He ends up giving in and decides to take her by train. What they don’t know is that on this train there is a passenger who has been bitten and infected by zombies. Soon it becomes a train ride where they must fight for survival.

“Train to Busan” premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was released in Korea a few months later. It didn’t take long to top 10 million viewers. The thrill of making sure Seok Woo and his daughter get off the train alive became the driving force behind the film. People were invested in and a bit terrified of the very gruesome, mobile zombies, and it kept viewers on the edge of their seats throughout.

Watch “Train to Busan”:

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Hey Soompiers, which of these Korean box office hits is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG, but has recently been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Be sure to follow binahearts on Instagram as she browses her latest Korean madness!

Currently watching: “Avocado Extraordinary Woo”
Favorite dramas of all time: “Secret Garden” and “Star in my Heart”.
I can not wait to: Won Bin’s return to the small screen.

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