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Korean box office hits record high

First half of 2009 sees $375.7 mil total

SEOUL — The Korean box office made a record $375.7 million in the first half of 2009, according to a report by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).

This beats the previous high of $373.2 million set in 2006.

Theater admissions totaled 72.3 million, up 2.9% on the first half of last year. 

U.S. films took 45% of the market, with local films close behind at 44.7%. European films nabbed 4.8%, Chinese films 4.1% and Japanese films 1.1%.

Korean films have performed better this year, despite the gloom that overwhelmed the industry last year.  

Seven local films ranked in the top 10, including “My Girlfriend Is an Agent” at No. 2 ($20.78 million), “Scandal Makers” at No. 3 ($19.88 million), “A Frozen Flower” at No. 5 ($17.72 million), “Mother” at No. 6 ($15.46 million), “Old Partner” at No. 7 ($15 million), “Thirst” at No. 9 ($11.73 million) and “Running Turtle” at No.10 ($10.76 million)

The three foreign films were “Terminator Salvation” at No. 1 with its $23.26 million take, while “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” ranked at No. 4 with $17.8 million. China’s “Red Cliff 2” came in at No. 8 with $13.92 million.  

In terms of the distributor rankings, CJ Entertainment topped the list with a 25% market share from “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” “Mother” and “Thirst,” among others.

Notably, Lotte Entertainment came second for the first time, with a 20.4% market share due to “Terminator Salvation” “My Girlfriend Is an Agent” and “Scandal Makers.”

Showbox Mediaplex ranked third with a 15% market share from “A Frozen Flower” “Red Cliff Part 2” and “Running Turtle.”

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” set a record when it opened on 1,129 screens June 24, beating the previous record holder of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which opened on 912 screens in 2007.

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” has topped the box office for two consecutive weekends, grossing $28.2 million to date.

Among local films, “The Chaser” star Kim Yoon-suk’s comedy “Running Turtle” staying in second place in its fourth weekend, cuming $13 million.

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