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Korean lesbian thriller ‘The Handmaiden’ breaks box office record in opening week

Korean lesbian thriller ‘The Handmaiden’ breaks box office record in opening week

The Handmaiden

Award-winning director Park Chan Wook’s latest film ‘The Handmaiden’ has set a new record in its opening week.

In its first week in theatres, the Korean lesbian revenge thriller drew over 1.8 million viewers, making it the rated-R film with the most opening week viewers in Korea.

Soompi translates:

‘By comparison, the 2015 film “Inside Men,” which is currently the No. 1 rated-R film of the Korean box office, saw around 1.6 million viewers in its first week in theatres.

‘”The Handmaiden” also easily beat the previous record of most viewers of a rated-R film in its opening week of all time, which was set by “Deadpool” with 1.7 million viewers in its opening week.’

‘The Handmaiden’ follows a pickpocket, played Kim Tae-ri, who’s hired by a con man to pose as the handmaiden of a Japanese heiress, played by Kim Min-hee, in order to swindle her wealth.

The plot twist comes when the heiress falls in love with her maid.

the handmaiden
Kim Tae-ri (left) is the handmaiden of a wealthy Japanese heiress, played by Kim Min-hee (right)

Even before the film was out, it had reportedly been pre-sold to around 120 countries, and eventually making it to 175 territories, beating ‘Snowpiercer’ to become the most widely distributed Korean film in history.

‘Snowpiercer starred top global stars like Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, which gave it more of an international appeal. So it’s doubly meaningful that The Handmaiden attracted so many buyers in spite of the language barrier,’ commented the spokesperson for CJ Entertainment, the company that released Park’s film.

‘The Handmaiden’ went on to make its debut at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the film as ‘an amusingly kinky erotic thriller and love story that brims with delicious surprises.’

Watch the trailer for the film here:


Amazon has bought the U.S. rights to the film and will be releasing it in theatres this fall.