Article: Top 10 Low Budget Korean Movies That Did Great at The Box Office

From The Handmaiden to Re Counter here are a few low-budget movies that performed exceptionally at the box office. A real movie can always tell whether the movie is low-budget or high-budget and obviously high-budget movies are always a treat to watch with VFX or editing. But sometimes low-budget movies perform great at the box office, astonishing everyone. Obviously, the success of a movie does not depend on the cost. Money can add value to the production, it is a good way to compensate those talented actors and actresses that worked hard to make the movie hit. Sometimes a high-budget movie does not perform well.

1. The Handmaiden (2016)

Surprising the audience and film critics, this erotic Korean psychological thriller film was directed by Park Chan-wook in 2016 starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, and Cho Jin-woong. Remarkably, it took only $8.8 million to make this whole movie and it collected over $38 million worldwide. Every camera angle, scene, dialogue, and cinematography can give the audience goosebumps because of how lifelike and dynamic it is. This story is about a Japanese woman who hires a handmaiden to help her but she did not know that the maiden is working for a conman and will steal all of her wealth. The sexual scenes between the two female leads of the movie rose a lot of controversies but later it was all sorted out.


2. Confidential Assignment (2017)

This action movie was directed by Kim Sung-hoon and starring Hyun Bin, Yoo Hae-jin, and Kim Joo-hyuk with a budget of $8.52 million and grossed over $57 million. Confidential Assignment is about two officers from different nations always creating disruptive situations. Im Cheol-ryung (a North Korean officer) and Kang Jin-tae (a South Korean detective) were on a mission to catch a dangerous criminal, Cha Ki-seong who fled to South Korea. They were given only three days to complete this mission.


3. Midnight Runners (2017)

Midnight Runners is an action-comedy movie which is directed by Jason Kim (Kim Ju-hwan) and stars Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul. It also has an Indian remake named Saakini Dhaakini which was released OTT. Midnight runners was made on the budget of $7 million and earned over $39.7 million. This movie circles around the humorous friendship of Ki Jun and Hee Yeol who joined the Korean National Police University. Ki Jun is more of a risk-taker while Hee Yeol is a nerd and is afraid of taking risks. One night they decided to go out where they saw a few people kidnapping a young woman. They both tried to take help from the police but it was in vain so they decided to take matters into their own hand before it is too late.


4. Dongju: The Portrait Of A Poet (2016)

Dongju: The Portrait of a poet is a black-and-white periodic film directed by Lee Joon-ik and starring Kang Ha-neul. Actor Kang was appreciated a lot when this movie was released and performed exceptionally well at the box office. The budget of this movie was $2.5 million while it earned around $7.7 million. This periodic biography film was based on real events in the life of the Korean poet, Yun DongJu who was held up and abused by the Japanese colonial authorities because he wanted to participate in the Korean Independence Movement.


5. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

Not many people believe that Gonjiam was made with a budget of only $2.2 million and is a low-budget horror movie. The camera angles, spooky voices, acting, and makeup are enough to give the audience goosebumps. It is based on the true story of the same psychiatric hospital, it stars Wi Ha-joon, Park Ji-hyun, Oh Ah-yeon, and is directed by Jung Bum-shik. The movie revolves around an abandoned asylum where the crew of a horror webs series travels for live broadcast. To attract more views, the team arranges fake scares but as they go inside the horror building, they found many more unexpected things.


6. Re Encounter (2010)

Re-encounter was written and directed by Min Yong-keun and starred Yoo Da-in and Yoo Yeon-seok, with a budget of only $182,000. This low budget did not stop the movie to cast magic in the heart of people. A lot of film critics praised it. This movie is about two young people who fell in love with each other and the girl became pregnant. They both were happy until the boy was exiled by his mother to Canada. But five years later, they met again with the boy telling her that their baby is adopted by a family. They went on a search which led to many tragic consequences only to know that their baby died hours after birth.


7. Extreme Job (2019)

This action-comedy film is directed by Lee Byeong-heon, and starred Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Hanee, Jin Seon-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi, and Gong Myung. The film was a major box office hit with a collection of $81.6 million on a budget of $5.8 million in just 15 days. It also has a Hollywood remake named starring Kevin Hart as of April 2019. This movie circles around Narcotics detectives who work secretly in a chicken shop to catch a gang of criminals. But things changed for them when their new recipe became the talk of the town and their restaurant became famous.


8. Masquerade (2012)

Masquerade is a period drama film directed by Choo Chang-min and starred Lee Byung-hun in a double role as the strange king Gwanghae and the lowly acrobat who secretly took place of the real king when he was poisoned to save his country who was on the verge of falling because of the chaos. It is inspired by the historical film: The Prince and the Pauper. It bagged awards in 15 categories in the 49th Grand Bell Awards including, Best Actor, Cinematography, Music, and Production.


9. A Taxi Driver (2017)

A Taxi Driver is an action-drama film which is based on true events, directed by Jang Hoon Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hae-jin, and Ryu Jun-yeol. The budget of this movie was roughly $13.8 million but it performed exceptionally at the box office and grossed over $88.7 million. It received a lot of positive reviews from film critics. It is about how a widowed father and taxi driver who was hired by a foreign journalist to take him to Gwangju, South Korea became a part of the 1980 uprising and instantly regretted his decision.


10. Train To Busan (2016)

This movie was released in 2016 in which there is a divorced, workaholic father Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) who is taking his daughter Su An to meet his mother on her birthday. As they hop on the train from Seoul to Busan, their happy family trip turned into a horrific trip. This all happened when a hungry zombie attacked a passenger and suddenly the train is filled with flesh-eating zombies. This movie portrays how panic brings out the worst in people and how important is teamwork in a time of crisis. It is directed by Yeon Sanh-ho with a budget of $8.5 million but collected around $98.5 million worldwide.