Exports of S. Korean film down

A drop of 66.6% from previous year

Exports of South Korean films showed another precipitous drop in the first half of 2007, according to a report issued by the Korean Film Council.

A tally of 148 deals totaling $7.49 million were recorded in the first half, a 57% drop from the previous year. After expanding for nine years in a row to peak in 2005 at $76 million for the year as a whole, South Korean exports have now settled roughly to 2002 levels.

Japan, the territory that powered the mid-decade boom, showed the biggest drop, with $2.2 million worth of deals recorded, compared to $8.7 million over the first half of 2006. Japanese buyers have kept their wallets shut following a string of box office failures in the territory, together with a perceived slackening of interest in Korean pop culture.

Other territories that showed a decline include Thailand ($1.7 million to $760,000) and the U.S. ($925,000 to $150,000).

Increases were notched in France ($1 million to $1.8 million), Taiwan ($145,000 to $230,000), and Hong Kong ($165,000 to $225,000).

This year’s decline stands as a further indication of the settling of the Korean Wave within Asia. But it also reflects the fact that few large-scale genre projects are currently in the pipeline, with the notable exception of Kim Jee-woon’s epic Western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” currently in production in China.

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