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Korean B.O. rises 12% to $941 million

Local films take 48.8% market share, up 6.7%

The Korean box office earned a record $941 million last year, up 11.6% on the previous year, according to the Korean Film Council (Kofic).

The increase was partly due to higher ticket prices that kicked in mid-year. Ticket sales were roughly static for the fourth year running at 156.7 million.

Of the 362 films released in Korea, 118 were homegrown and they took a 48.8% market share, up 6.7% on last year.

U.S. films took 43.9% of the market, down 4.9%, while Chinese films took 2%, European films 2.9% and Japanese films 1.7%.

CJ Ent. was the leading distributor with a 29.1% market share from 49 releases, including “Haeundae” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Showbox Mediaplex came in second with 15.2% market share, while Lotte Ent. took third with such hit titles as “Terminator Salvation.”

Sony Pictures Releasing/Buena Vista Films took fourth with 8.5% market share, mainly due to “2012,” which cumed $33 million from 537 admissions.

20th Century Fox ranked at No.5 with 7.9% market share with 12 films, including “Avatar.”

“Avatar” passed the 10 million ticket sales mark last weekend, a first for a foreign film in Korea. It means one out of five Korean people have seen Jim Cameron’s blockbuster.

While the B.O. rose, Korean film exports dropped 32.9% compared with 2008, selling 279 films to 41 countries.

The top 10 films of 2009 were: “Haeundae” (CJ Ent.); “Take Off” (Showbox Mediaplex); “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (CJ Ent.); “2012” (Sony Pictures Releasing/Buena Vista Films); “Avatar” (20th Century Fox); “Terminator Salvation” (Lotte Ent.); “My Girlfriend Is an Agent” (Lotte Ent.); “Scandal Makers” (Lotte Ent.); “A Frozen Flower” (Showbox Mediaplex); “Running Turtle” (Showbox Mediaplex).

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