Here are the top 16 Korean movies with the highest box office sales:
Top 16 – “Tidal Wave”
The first Korean disaster movie, which depicts a horrible tidal wave in Haeundae District, Busan. The film was released back in July 22nd, 2009, with revenues amounting to around 72 million USD.
Top 15 – “The Attorney”
Released back in 2013 and with gross totaling to 74 million USD. The film is set in Korea during the early 1980s, and revolves around male lead Song Woo Suk (played by Song Kang Ho), a lawyer who specialized in taxes and real estates, who contributed greatly to the rescue of a kidnapped and tortured group of students back in 1981.
Top 14 – “Miracle in Cell No.7”
This tear-jerking film tells the tale of falsely-convicted criminal Yong Goo (played by Gyu Seung Ryong), whose only wish was to reunite with his daughter Ye Seung (played by Kal So Won). However, the prison he was in doesn’t allow visitors, so other prisoners had to snuck in the daughter. Released in 2013, the movie’s box office sales is around 81 million USD.
Top 13 – “The Thieves”
This movie has earned 85 million USD since its release in 2012, and retells a heist committed by a gang of 10 thieves from Vietnam and China, who set their eyes on a 30 million USD diamond placed in a casino in Macau.
Top 12 – “The Roundup”
Possibly the “youngest” entry in the list, “The Roundup” was just released on May 18th, 2022. As of the moment, “The roundup” has grossed 85 million USD and rising. It revolves around the detective Ma Seok Do (played by Ma Dong Seok), who came to Vietnam to investigate a series of shocking murders.
Top 11 – “A Taxi Driver”
Set in a turbulent Korea in the 1980s, the movie follows the step of taxi driver Man Seob (played by Song Kang Ho), who accidentally embarked on a dangerous journey after he took a foreigner to Gwangju. Released in 2017, the movie earned a total of 89 million USD.
Top 10 – “Assassination”
Released in 2015, “Assasination” garnered 91 million USD in box office sales. The movie is set in the 1930s, and revolves around a group of people who was tasked with assassinating the general of their opposite side, and a powerful businessman who worked with the Japanese.
Top 9 – “Along With The Gods”
The Last 49 Days” is sequel to the 2017 movie “Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds”. In this second installment, three death gods Gang Rim (Ha Jung Woo), Hae Won Mak (Joo Ji Hoon), and Lee Deok Choon (Kim Hyang Gi) led their 49th soul, Kim Soo Hong (Kim Dong Wook) through the gates of hell. The movie’s revenue amounted to 92 million USD.
Top 8 – “Veteran”
Released in 2015 with box office at around 92 million USD, “Veteran” follows the battle between investigator Seo Do Cheol (Hwang Jung Min) and the young millionaire Jo Tae Oh (Yoo Ah In), who was heir to the Sinjin Group, and often used his wealth to cover up heinous crimes.
Top 7 – “Masquerade”
A box office hit back in 2012 with revenues totalling to 97 million USD. In this move, Lee Byung Hun played King Gwang Hae, who asked the comedian Ha Seon to disguise as him in fear of assassination. The movie is based on recordings regarding the 15th King of Joseon, who was famous for both his talent and his cruelty.
Top 6 – “Train To Busan”
Tackling the zombie topic, which was relatively new in Korea in 2016, “Train To Busan” earned 98.5 million USD. The movie revolves around a single dad and his daughter, who tries to survive as they were trapped in a train heading towards Busan.
Top 5 – “Ode To My Father”
This family film released in 2014 garnered 99 million USD in box office sales. It follows the turbulent and tragic life of the male lead Duk Soo, from when he was a 10 year-old child until his old age.
Top 4 – “Along With The Gods”
The Two Worlds”: Released back in 2017 and grossing 109 million USD, “Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds” tells the tale of firefighter Kim Ja Hong (Cha Tae Hyun), who passed away after a mission. As a pure soul, he was escorted by the three death gods Gang Rim (Ha Jung Woo), Hae Won Mak (Joo Ji Hoon), and Lee Deok Choon (Kim Hyang Gi) through hell until he reached reincarnation.
Top 3 – “Extreme Job”
A 2019 movie with revenues of 120 million USD, which revolves around a group of police officers, who opened a fried chicken shop to spy on an international drug cartel. However, they faced quite the crisis as their restaurant grew too popular due to delicious food.
Top 2 – “The Admiral: Roaring Currents”
Released in 2014, this was the first Korean movie to ever gross over 100 million USD, coming to 138 million USD as of the moment. The film recaptures the Myeongnyang Battle on October 26th, 1597, which was a legendary victory of Korea against Japan, where general Yi Sun Sin had only 12 ships left against a crew of 330 battleships led by general Kurushima Michifusa.
Top 1 – “Parasite”
With an estimated revenue of 263 million USD, the 2019 movie “Parasite” was a whole other league. It was also the first Korean movie to win major prizes at the Oscar, and was a satirical work that pointed out class conflicts in modern society, using two families, one poor and one rich, whose paths converged after the poor son became a tutor for the rich daughter.