‘Exhuma’ emerges as Vietnam’s most-beloved Korean movie to date

April 3, 2024

Jang Jae-hyun’s occult movie “Exhuma” has become the highest-grossing Korean film ever in Vietnam, its distributor said Tuesday.

Showbox Co. said the supernatural thriller had drawn in more than 2.23 million moviegoers in the country as of March 31, breaking the previous record of 2.15 million held by the 2022 comedy movie “6/45,” starring Go Kyung-pyo and Lee Yi-kyung.

Upon its release on March 15 in Vietnam, “Exhuma” garnered sales of US$660,000 in a single day, setting a new record for the highest opening score for a Korean film. Its first-weekend sales soared to an unprecedented $3.02 million.

The movie’s popularity has also extended to Indonesia, where it has already attracted 2.3 million moviegoers, a record for a Korean film in the country.

The distributor attributed the success to the movie’s unique scare tactics, which deviate from conventional jump scares, as well as the popularity of the young cast members — Kim Go-eun and Lee Do-hyun — in Asia. Additionally, the movie’s shamanistic elements are believed to resonate strongly with Asian audiences, contributing to its widespread appeal among them.

“Exhuma” revolves around two shamans, a feng shui expert and a mortician who join forces to investigate a string of mysterious occurrences affecting a wealthy family based in the U.S. They embark on this journey by exhuming the grave of the family’s ancestor in a remote Korean village.

Released in South Korea on Feb. 22, the film on Monday topped 11 million in admissions in the country. On March 24, it became the first film released this year to surpass the milestone of 10 million admissions.

A moviegoer buys a ticket for "Exhuma" at a theater in Seoul on March 24, 2024. (Yonhap)
A moviegoer buys a ticket for “Exhuma” at a theater in Seoul on March 24, 2024. (Yonhap)